Anya Sizer of the London Women’s Clinic
Part I of this article on managing the stress of infertility, Anya Sizer of The
London Women’s Clinic discusses the stress issues women with infertility
problems face, and outlines the techniques that can be used to help manage this
particular type of stress.
Fertility issues are
relax and you will get pregnant"
cousin was going through adoption when she got pregnant naturally"
should be grateful for what you’ve got already"
up love, it might never happen ...”
once compiled a list of the most unhelpful comments said to people going
through infertility. It was a long and deeply annoying list. Yet the sad truth
is that people facing fertility issues almost certainly will be stressed,
purely by definition of the circumstances they find themselves in.
leading psychologist from the United States, Dr Alice Domar, has reworked the
stress point reading scale to incorporate Infertility for the first time. Not
surprisingly for those of us who have been through it, the scale places
Infertility somewhere between cancer and bereavement.
issues are stressful and no amount of trying to put on a brave face is going to
help. The starting point for dealing with stress should be seen as stress
management rather than stress removal. It is the acknowledgement that
infertility is incredibly tough, and needs care and attention.
Stress management for
management starts with two key concepts:
- Care can become learned behaviour
- Stress management will always be specific to each person
Using learned behaviour to
manage infertility stress
research shows that there is a science to the art of compassion, whether to
yourself or others. And, as with other learned behaviour, we can proactively
teach ourselves to be kinder. Indeed the
brain can literally imprint new neurological pathways and we can learn to live
more compassionately as described in the book “The science of compassion” by
of the essential components is to realise that we can change our behaviour, and
that small acts towards developing a more compassionate nature, over time can
make a huge difference. Proactively working towards a more compassionate state
of mind will have long term effects both for ourselves and others. To be able
to look at how kind we are and how we can best look after ourselves during
fertility issues is a proactive, not a reactive coping technique.