Waiting anxiety is real
Patients stuck waiting for treatment, especially during these unprecedented times, often feel the process is out of their control
The waiting game is hard.
The most common challenge that we hear from patients is that the treatment journey feels somewhat out of their control. Similar to a big game of “hurry up and wait!”
Wait until Cycle Day 1! Oh, and now that you waited for Cycle Day 1, you can hurry up and start birth control pills then wait another month. Take your medicine at 7 pm – hurry up! Ok, now wait three more days to see your response to the meds. We have the embryos now! Now, wait for your PGT results to see if they’re normal. You get the idea.
Now we have been presented a new challenge that none of us could have predicted or planned for. COVID-19, and the uncertainty accompanying it, has piled even more concerns on us with how and when we should proceed with your treatment. If you’re “stuck” in the waiting game while we help you to navigate these uncharted waters, how can you maintain sanity?
Your mental health during fertility treatment is important
We try to emphasize daily to patients that their mental health is as important as their physical health. Telling a infertile patient to “just relax” is just plain silly. But it is still important to focus on your mental health. You might even look at this as an unforeseen gift or opportunity in the midst of a crisis.
- Reach out and cultivate your existing relationships. Make sure you have at least one person who you can talk to and ask them to ‘just listen’. No advice is really needed – just active listening can provide great relief.
- Find a way to move most days a week, outside whenever possible. Go for a walk. Set up a yoga mat outside and use one of the many apps on your phone or computer to try a new online class. Not only is it fun, but you can really go for it because no one can see you! Always wanted to try Zumba? Do it now, in the privacy of your home or backyard. Movement is not only a great form of stress release but has many metabolic effects that can benefit you when attempting pregnancy.
- Embrace yourself or your couple-dom! Now that our options for large group interaction are limited, revisit why you guys started this journey. Have deep conversations. Go through old pictures. Play a board game. Do something fun and light-hearted. Humor and play can really help when everything feels so serious.
- Create a list of cheap or free self-care strategies that you can use. Some that have worked for our patients include taking a bath with Epsom salts; journaling; organizing or reducing clutter; listening to music or a podcast. If you like to read, consider starting a virtual book club, which has the added benefit of keeping up with your friends and family. Being part of a group is another potent stress releaser.
We work with outside counselors and nutritionists who can boost your outlook
Now might be a great time to tweak your nutrition, mind or movement program.
- Eat Healthier: We love Rachel Brandeis, RD, a registered dietician who does a great job with coaching our patients about diet and healthy choices. She has an amazing app that really helps take the confusion out of determining what is ok to eat. You can find more information about her program at her website.
- Think Healthier: Additionally, Monica Moore, RN, who has over 20 years experience as an infertility nurse educator, has been helping many of our patients with life coaching options such as decreasing stress, preparing your mind and body for the infertility journey and pregnancy, or just talking to you about habits that may no longer be helpful or may be keeping you from becoming the best version of yourself. She offers both private and group sessions. If you are interested in setting up a session with Monica, you can email her for more information. As an added bonus, Monica will be offering the first 6 Fertility Answers patients a complimentary first session.
- Join an Online Support Group: Sarah’s Laughter, a faith-based infertility support group based in Baton Rouge, will be hosting online support groups throughout the duration of the coronavirus disruption. Their next online group will be at 7pm CST on Thursday, April 2. You can find more information about how to join in on their Facebook page.
We want to end by emphasizing that we are committed to partner with you during this journey no matter how long it takes or how complicated it might feel. By offering these additional services, we hope to help you find a silver lining in the midst of chaos: something that you can actually DO while you wait!
So hurry up and let us know if you are interested! Just kidding about the hurrying part, but serious about reaching out to us with any questions or concerns.