When you’re facing infertility, it can feel like your whole world has been turned upside down. This can be the time when you feel most alone in your pain and sadness, but it doesn’t have to be this way! With some simple changes to your mindset, you can overcome the hurt that comes with not being able to conceive and instead focus on what matters most: Your family.
Here are five steps you can take that may help you with having the mindset you need to be happy again.
1. Take time out
The first thing you need to do is find yourself again. Think about the person you were before you encountered infertility. After all, infertility is just a label: it’s not an identity. Underneath all the pain and distress you’re feeling right now is the happy, carefree individual you used to be.
Set aside a time to really chill out and think deeply about what’s going on in your life right now. Get yourself a journal and write it all down. Ask yourself what it will take to get back in a state of balance: mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you have a partner, he or she will need to get involved in this, too.
Take responsibility for where you are in life. Recognize that you’re feeling lost and that perhaps you’ve strayed from thinking about things that really matter. But you can move on. You can’t realign your perspective on infertility until you acknowledge your current feelings.
2. Focus on your health and well-being
Infertility can make you feel like you don’t deserve special treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is the time for you to nourish yourself – inside and out – with all the things your body could possibly need.
Start by cleaning up your diet. Lock away any junk foods like processed snacks and candy (treats are still okay, of course!). Drink plenty of pure, filtered water every day. Cut back on the caffeine, or switch to herbal tea. Take up yoga or meditation. Practice deep-breathing exercises at bedtime to help you sleep more restfully.
These are very small things, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel – both in body and spirit. Make YOU the focus of your own life.
This might also be the time to think about seeing a naturopath or even a therapist. Your health and well-being are an absolute priority before you can welcome a little person into your life.
3. Reset your thinking
You’ve probably already had a few people tell you, “Think positive!”. Sometimes, that’s the last thing you want to hear. After all, what do they know about what you’re going through?
The thing is – thinking negatively isn’t going to help your infertility. Infertility may be rooted in biological and genetic factors, but poor mental health can quickly take a toll, too.
You don’t have to be Pollyanna – but you can flip the switch on your mindset just by thinking happier thoughts. Activating a positive thought inhibits the activation of a negative thought – and vice versa. So, if you want to switch off those negative thoughts, the best way to do it is to activate an opposite thought.
Your brain doesn’t have an ‘off’ button, so it’s up to you to keep positive thoughts flowing. What things make you happy? Puppies eating ice cream? Your mom’s garden? Holidays at Christmastime? Make a list and stick it to your fridge so you never run out of positive things to focus on. Once you get into the habit of chasing off those negative thoughts, you’ll find it comes quite naturally.
4. Make intimacy fun again
Infertility can really put a damper on a relationship – especially if you’ve been trying for a while. Routine and lack of spontaneity can drag down the fun in a relationship. Worse, it can lead to issues like lack of desire or even erectile dysfunction.
If things in the bedroom have become a little routine or even dull, don’t panic – this is quite normal. You just need to spice it up a little!
Think back to when you met your partner and the first few dates you had together. Why not try ‘dating’ each other once again? Go out for dinner. Get dressed up. Treat yourselves to a beautiful new bed. Take a trip together. Play games – or role play!
The more spontaneous and creative, the better. Try to pretend that you’re not just trying for a baby and get excited about all the things you love about one another again.
5. Consider your other options
Here’s the part that many people leave until last: the ‘alternative reproduction’ route.
Like nearly every other human being, you probably always thought that having a baby would come naturally. And you may have already given it your best shot. But for whatever reason, it’s just not happening. Sure, you could keep trying… but what toll will that take on your mental and physical health? Or your relationships?
Acknowledging that the ‘natural way’ can be heartbreaking – but it can also be a massive load off your shoulders. It definitely doesn’t mean that you can’t be a mommy or daddy. It means that you can now start exploring different options, such as third-party reproduction. This is where things can really start to happen.
The best place to start is by talking to a professional third-party reproduction agency where the majority of the staff have actually been through the infertility journey themselves, so they know exactly how you’re feeling. You should be able to talk to them about anything: surrogacy, egg donation, IVF – whatever applies to your unique situation.
The world might be a bit of a mess at times, but there are still many beautiful things for you to enjoy. Break out of the negativity and think about yourself for a change – and what you can do change your own life for the better!