by Cheryl Ann Boston, MSTCM, L.Ac.
We here at Acupuncture Fertility Specialists know and see the stress that comes with infertility. The time between being diagnosed with infertility to a positive pregnancy test can feel like it drags on forever and bring up feels of inadequacy, stress, sadness and depression. Along with the hectic pace day to day life…
Our patients are generally bright, inventive people who are each finding their own way in the journey toward a family. Out of necessity, they find ways to deal with the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm of fertility treatment. We would like to share ways that are working for some of the patients we treat.
- Take some time for yourself: support yourself in ways that that make you feel great. Spend some time in nature, like a walk in the park or on your favorite trail. Go for a swim. Get a massage or some form of body work that is gentle.
- Breathing: We all know that most of the time we can’t eliminate the things that cause us stress but we can take on the practice of breathing. When in a situation that is stressful check into your body. Where are you feeling discomfort? Is it in the stomach for example? If so stop and take a deep breath down to the belly to the count of 5, hold a few seconds, then breath out to 5. Repeat until you feel the shift in your body. (No one even needs to know you are doing this.)
- Meditation: I know what you are probable thinking that you have tried this and can’t seem to shut down that crazy thinking mind. We have found that guided mediation seems to be a little easier. The key to beginning guided meditation is that you need to like both the voice and the message. You tube is a good place to experiment around to find a guided meditation that you like and that seems to work for you. It only takes 10-20 mins a day for this to be affective. Great things happen to the body when you quiet the mind.
- Support: Find a source of support that works for you, a counselor, or a close friend. Remember that this can be an extremely difficult time in life, so get all the support you need. One great source of support is RESOLVE, the national infertility awareness and support group. There are chapters across the country, including both Placer County and Sacramento County in our local area. There are even on line counseling services now that are available, for the ultimate in privacy at a low cost.
- Be gentle on yourself. Beating your self up will not accomplish anything. In fact just the opposite it will keep you feeling stuck. Make it a habit to check into what is going on inside your head. A practice we teach is “shifting your thoughts.” It works like this: You catch yourself thinking something very negative. Acknowledge the thought, then lovingly change it to an opposite thought. Happy thoughts are very much an important part of success in fertility care.
- Foods that calm the body and mind: Avocados that are rich in glutathione, lutein, beta-carotene along with vitamin E and foliate. They are a yummy way to nourish and calm the body. Blueberries are high in vitamin C which has been shown to be helpful in combating stress. Cashews are a good source of zinc, which has been shown to help both anxiety and depression.
Feel free at your next appointment to ask for a Chinese herbal formula or nutritional supplement that matches your constitution to assist you in dealing with the stress you may be experiencing. We will be happy to help, it’s how we manage our stress!
Your partners in the ups and downs of fertility care,
Acupuncture Fertility Specialists