Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stress and fertility - an infertile patient's perspective


Here's an guest post from our expert patient.

There are many stupid things that people tell you while you are TTC- these are the common ones I’ve heard
…maybe you are too stressed , that’s why it’s not happening
…just have sex 15 days in a row
…the day you will ’stop trying’ it will just happen
…don’t monitor fertile days- just enjoy it and it will happen
…Oh, you just miscarried? I’m so sorry. Have you heard of rebound fertility?
…Maybe you should adopt and once you are not worried, you might conceive

Yes, I am under pressure. It has been 4 years of trying with and without treatment- my siblings 6 years younger have babies. I adore children and I would love to have my own biological kids…So, it makes me a bit anxious? Yes! In fact, the longer the TTC journey, the more the problems you see along the way- the more stressful the subsequent cycle is going to be. In fact, if you have friends ( both online and in real life) going through the infertility roller-coaster, you will add their mishaps to your list of things to worry about too.
Anxiety can cause hormonal changes, which could theoretically lead to difficulty with getting pregnant. But when I’m going through fertility treatments all my hormones are medically induced- so how can that be an issue?

Also, can you imagine unmarried teenagers who have had unprotected sex and don’t want to have a baby? They must be so tense! And when they miss a period- even more so. So, shouldn’t these pregnancies spontaneously miscarry? Of course not! It’s obvious that there there doesn’t seem to be a co-relation between stress and conception.

For women who are older or have busy schedules or husbands that travel,  15 days of sex in a row is not an option. It is useful to know your fertile window, as these 3-4 days are your best chances of conceiving normally. So how can you not track these? And how can tracking these make it more difficult to conceive?
As for adoption- that is a whole different world. I love the idea but not as a method to get pregnant !  It is a big responsibility to bring in a child into your home and make it yours in every possible way – to accept it and love it- maybe even more so than you would your own biological child. This is a decision which should be done for yourself and for the future of that child. Adoption should not be considered to be a conception aid!

All in all, I agree that in any life situation stress does not help. It doesn’t do anything positive or useful but it makes you unsettled and unable to function at full capacity. It is a counter-productive emotion. However, it cannot be deleted ( not until you reach nirvana at least) , and it’s not  going to disappear if you choose to will it away !  Pretending that it’s not there is not helpful either – it’s the elephant in the room which need to be acknowledged , so that it can be managed.  Each of us has our own method of managing it, because we’ve all handled stressful situations in the past ( examinations; dating; cooking the first meal; the first time you jumped into a swimming pool…) . I make art; write; pray ; and volunteer ; and you too need to learn what works for you, so you can cope with it.

Finally, just remember stress is a result of infertility and not its cause!




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