If you’re living with fertility problems, the chances are you’re stressed
This is not a criticism of you, or anyone experiencing fertility problems. Far from it! This statement acknowledges that there is a lot to be stressed by when struggling to conceive. On top of everyday life stuff, I see my lovely clients handling various combinations of the list below on a daily basis:
- The build-up to your period and the crushing disappointment when it comes
- The strain of “scheduled sex”
- Worrying how you’ll afford IVF / the thought of going through IVF
- Trying to live/eat/exercise “perfectly” all the time
- Stressing about that coffee/chocolate/wine/negative thought you just had
- Pretending you’re fine
- Smiling through other people’s pregnancy announcements
- Feeling that your life is stuck on hold
- The overwhelm of information and statistics online
- The sheer frustration of feeling that nothing you do seems to change your situation
- I could write more, but it’s pretty stressful being reminded of all that is stressful!
If this wasn’t enough, there’s always someone who will say… “just relax and it will happen”
This is possibly the most stressful and unhelpful thing to be told.
For the vast majority of women and couples struggling to get pregnant, it is not ‘just’ a matter of relaxing. There are often many relevant factors contributing to the situation.
Few health issues have one single cause. But we don’t tend to tell people with any other health problem “just relax and it will heal”.
Being told to relax can cause fertility shame
Most people with fertility problems have researched a lot, been through a lot and done a lot to help their situation. YOU KNOW the details. You’re aware of your body, the medical tests or diagnosis you’ve had, your emotions and the many other factors relevant to your unique situation. Being told to “just relax” dismisses everything else that YOU know is going on for you.
It can feel as if you have to “justify” your situation. But this is difficult, because fertility issues are complex, personal and private. You don’t always want to share the details with a random stranger or colleague!
The trouble is, if you don’t explain all the facts to that random stranger/colleague (which is absolutely your right), you can end up feeling that person is judging you for being stressed.
I like to believe that most people are genuinely trying to help
But when you tell someone suffering with infertility that “it will happen if they just relax” you are placing the blame on the individual. It’s an indirect way of saying it’s their fault.
Blaming leads to feelings of shame which can be very detrimental to emotional health and wellbeing. In my next blog post I’ll explain how ‘fertility shame’ can affect you.
With my best wishes