Self-care for Fertility
It can be helpful to establish a self-supportive plan as we can only draw water from a well with water in it. Making time to nurture yourself and your relationship ensures that you have the resources to optimise fertility and increase your confidence as you go through a treatment process. Having a sense of closeness to ourselves and others also increases self-acceptance and personal fulfilment.
Self-nurturing support can include:
- Relaxation techniques. Find one that works for you and aim to practise it three times a day.
- Compile a relaxation CD of your favourite music. You may also wish to listen to this when undergoing medical procedures, such as scans, transfers etc.
- If you meditate, allocate a time each day dedicated to this activity.
- Mindful activity. Focus your attention fully on another activity.
- Be with others. Contact a supportive friend or an understanding family member.
- Do something different. Observe how you respond when challenged and try to modify your response and learn a more helpful approach.
- Grounding techniques. Often we can become caught up in our internal world and self-dialogue, and we become disassociated with the reality of our hereand-now experience. Turn off your automatic pilot and divert your focus to your environment, taking it in with all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel? Think of an imaginary safe place that you enjoy and take yourself there by visualising it. Draw on this visualisation to prompt a relaxation response.
- Hold a comforting object or a favourite picture/photograph before going through a procedure.
- Learn to communicate assertively (rather than passively or aggressively) and write down your questions for your medical practitioner or doctor.
- Engage in a hobby or other interest. What have you enjoyed in the past, before you became aware of fertility issues? Remember that fertility issues are not 100 per cent of who you are.
- Learn some mindfulness-based relaxation techniques such as breath work, body scan or mindful movement (e.g. gentle low impact yoga) as they elicit a deep relaxation response, balancing hormones and releasing endorphins, to positively influence your mood.
Try these nurturing activities in the lead up and during your treatment and you are likely to feel more empowered and grounded which will help you in making fertility related decisions whilst also enjoying the other important areas of your life.