The IVF process can be stressful. Finding out that you have fertility problems can be upsetting, confusing, and hard to face. Then, once you decide to progress with IVF there’s a lot to learn, and the excitement of bringing a new life into your family is always tempered by the risks and the rates of failure. Not to mention the doctor’s appointments, procedures, scans, and everything else that comes with IVF. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. There’s where self-care comes in.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is defined as “any activity we do to deliberately take care of ourselves”. This can be absolutely anything from enjoying a warm drink, reading a book, or going on vacation, as long as you do it for yourself.
Self-care is easier for some people than others. If you’ve got a busy schedule, you may feel guilty about taking even a few minutes for yourself, or, you might struggle to switch off from your to-do list for long enough to fully appreciate self-care practices. But, when you are busy or stressed out, or when you are going through a traumatic experience, self-care becomes even more important than ever.
The Importance of Self-Care Through IVF
The IVF process puts you through a tremendous strain, both physically and emotionally. You’re dealing with the grief of not being able to conceive naturally, embracing a new possibility, and adjusting to the new future for your family. Most of us assume that we’ll one day have children, and IVF very rarely features in our dreams; it’s a big adjustment.
As the process moves forward, your body is changing, your hormones are all over the place, you are feeling excited, but perhaps incredibly anxious, and few women who experience IVF ever truly relax until their baby is in their arms.
Self-care can help you to manage your emotions and calm your anxieties. Putting yourself first and being kinder to yourself can help you to avoid overwhelming stress and anxiety, making the process simpler, and easier for you and your family.
Here’s a look at some of the ways that you can practice self-care throughout the IVF process.
Do Your Research
Even the thought of IVF is stressful, it is usually because we don’t know what to expect. We don’t know what we’ll need to do, how to prepare, what’s going to happen to our bodies, what time frames we’re looking at, how much it might cost, or what can go wrong. We don’t know how to look after ourselves during the process because we don’t know enough about it. A fertility clinic Missouri like MCRM Fertility can help you to understand the process of IVF from beginning to end, answering any questions that you might have, helping you to make informed decisions, and giving you the tools and knowledge that you need to prepare.
Clear Your Schedule of Non-Essentials
Modern women tend to try their best to carry on as normal, no matter what. We like to feel like we are strong, and can do it all. We keep going as usual when we are feeling unwell, we get as close as possible to our due dates before we start reducing our workload or scaling back on commitments and we fill our schedule with tasks while we go through IVF.
But, we have nothing to prove. IVF is a physical and mental strain, and you need time to practice self-care and rest. Don’t try to carry on as normal. Admit to yourself that you need some extra rest and clear your schedule of everything that isn’t essential. It can even be a great time to book some vacation days or hire a cleaner.
Yoga is the perfect exercise for any woman trying to conceive, no matter how they are doing it. Yoga is restorative. It can help you to unwind and relax while offering gentle stretching and exercise. Walking and swimming can also be excellent choices.
Do Something That Brings You Joy
Get into the habit of doing at least one thing that brings you joy every single day. This could be something small, like reading a book or taking a bath, or bigger, like lunch with friends or a weekend away. We all find joy in different places, but make sure you indulge in yours.
15% of American couples have issues with fertility. This means that even if you don’t know anyone personally who’s been affected, there are plenty of people out there who have been through something similar. Talk to friends and family but look for support groups online to talk to people with shared experiences.
Going through IVF can be tough. But, knowing what to expect, taking it easy, and being kind to yourself can ease the process and help you to look forward to the future without feeling anxious and overwhelmed.