Self-care during IVF treatment
At a glance
- Looking after your emotional health is just as important as what’s going on physically
- The frustrations of infertility can place strain on relationships, so taking mental breaks is key
- Counselling can be an important resource for those struggling with fertility
When you’re on a fertility journey, looking after your own wellbeing can be challenging. Let’s explore the benefits of taking time out for you.
Whether you’re partnered-up or single, navigating the fertility space can at times feel overwhelming, frustrating and mentally exhausting. With so much invested in the end result, it’s as much of an emotional journey as it is a physical one.
“Self-care needs to be a priority,” says fertility counsellor and psychotherapist Elise Atkinson. And not just once it’s all over. “It’s important to think about it during the beginning of your journey too.”
In fact, nourishing your mental health from the get-go is fundamental to you feeling as supported, healthy, resilient and as mentally ‘ready’ as possible to take on the physical demands of the treatment.
Atkinson emphasises the importance of taking time out for regular, feel-good rituals unique to you. “It could be as simple as factoring in time for exercise, taking the dog for a walk or finding a place in nature that leaves you feeling enthused and invigorated again,” she suggests. “It’s about what makeyou feel good.”
Singles vs couples
Although two very different journeys, going through the fertility process alone or with a partner requires a broad support network. “Make sure you know who can be helpful at this time,” says Atkinson.
- For singles this might mean depending on a close friend, colleague or family member to offer support at appointments, assist in decision-making, or even just be there to listen without necessarily offering up advice.
- For couples this might mean engagingotherpeople in your journey – even just one person – so as not to place the entire emotional load on your partner.
Frustrations around infertility can place strain on relationships and it can be easy to forget to make time to connect with those you love - outside of the heavy conversations and medical chat. “If you’re going through treatment with a partner, find ways you can keep in touch emotionally, but also have fun together,” advises Atkinson.
The importance of counselling
Seeking out professional support while going through a fertility journey is a great way to receive support from someone removed emotionally from your situation, and an invaluable exercise in prioritising self-care.
- Making decisions around your treatment plan
- The impact of infertility on our relationships
- Coping with unsuccessful cycles
- Dealing with emotions around other people’s pregnancies and children
- How to talk to others about your situation
Talk to your GP or fertility specialist about what steps you can take to organise your first session.