While you face the physical discomfort of infertility (painful periods, bloating) or treat your disease (painful injections, nausea), your emotions also take an enormous toll. It seems like an awful insult piled on top of injury to then deal with the roller coaster of emotions that are often a hallmark of infertility medications. How do you deal with the mood swings of fertility medications and infertility treatment?
Connect, or Re-connect, with Your “Why”
It sounds trite but try to keep your “why” in front of mind. You can post sticky notes on the mirror with your positive intentions for treatment or hang inspirational quotes and pictures on the fridge. Whatever will keep your thoughts and emotions pointed toward your purpose – do that and keep doing it.
Even if you are well into your treatment plan, it’s not too late to take a pause and re-set your thoughts and feelings on the purpose of these medicines and treatments. Keying in on why you started this crazy journey in the first place can help you set your priorities and re-align your actions toward that purpose.
Keep Your Body Moving
There are many positive benefits of regular physical activity during infertility treatment, including the endorphin rush. Find an outlet that brings you joy or offers an emotional release. Then milk the double benefit of a healthier heart and body for all it’s worth! You don’t have to engage in strenuous activity but try to find something that will clear your mind and get your heart rate up. This will be especially beneficial when the moods are swinging out of control.
- Go for a long walk in the park
- Play tennis with a friend
- Take a run till the anger subsides
- Try the new swing dance class at the Y
Tell Yourself the Truth
One of our online community members pointed out how vital it was for her to remember that these awful feelings were temporary. She had to intentionally recognize that the hormone changes of infertility treatment caused the mood swings. So, she “talked back” to herself with truths that helped her set the rocky emotions in their rightful place. Take her example and try it for yourself.
- This sadness is the medicine talking, not the reality of today.
- These emotions are not just “in my head.” The medicines are messing with my hormones.
- This mood will not last forever. It’s just how I feel right now.
- I feel angry and stressed. But it will pass, and I can hang in there until it does.
Some women find positive self-talk or daily mantras helpful in supporting their mental and emotional health. This guidance is not meant to be a substitute for the help that a mental health professional can offer. Of course, don’t try to “self-talk” your way out of depression or anxiety.
Find the Right Professional to Support You
You don’t have to suffer alone with this rollercoaster of emotions. If the mood swings are messing with the quality of your daily life and you cannot manage them independently, please seek help. Anxiety, depression, shame, and feelings of inadequacy are not uncommon during infertility treatment. You (and your partner) deserve help and support to navigate those challenges.
Ask Your Doctor for Help
Your reproductive specialist wants you to succeed with this treatment plan. If you are struggling and you suspect it’s the infertility medications, talk with her about options or swap-outs. There are usually a few changes your doctor can make if you aren’t reacting well to this or other drugs. For example, it’s not uncommon for women to struggle with the “Clomid Crazies.” Your fertility clinic might also have recommendations and resources for mental and emotional health, even if they are not in-house.
Talk with a Therapist or Counselor
Many women in our online community found tremendous support from therapy. Whether it’s a licensed psychologist, an infertility-informed therapist, or a pastoral counselor, it’s often helpful to have a designated time and space that is safe, confidential, and “just for you.” Of course, your mood swings may negatively impact your partner or significant other, too. If that is the case, they might appreciate a session with you to craft healthy coping skills to protect your relationship.
Coping with the Stress of Infertility
Simplify Your Life During Infertility Treatment
Simplifying your life during infertility treatment is a great stress management tool. When so much is happening in your body and mind, streamlining your life makes tremendous sense. It’s also a potential money- and time-saving tip. Isn’t that a nice side benefit for your budget during this season?
Some of the simplifying actions that our group members suggested included online grocery shopping and delivery, a subscription to a meal-delivery service, or seasonal help with yard chores. Weigh these expenses against your financial constraints to determine what nets the most benefit for streamlining your emotional load.
However, consider that your checking account isn’t the only budget you need to manage right now. You have a limited supply of emotional and relational bandwidth while you are focused on this fertility treatment plan. The mood swings can be exhausting, so choose how to spend those budgets. Ask yourself a few questions before you put an event on the calendar:
- Does this activity help me stay focused on the “why” of this season?
- Am I taking on unnecessary work/expectations/emotional load with this event?
- Will this date bring me joy, or will it deplete me?
- How does this event fit into my financial, emotional, and relational budgets? Do I have the reserves needed to manage it right now?
Feel All the Feelings
It will help to find healthy ways to experience the emotions swirling within you, whether from the hormone highs and lows or the medicine’s side effects. Schedule a day for yourself every so often when it is safe for you to pull back from life and just feel it all. Some women spend this “day off” crying over sappy movies. Others schedule a good cry. Some of you might enjoy spending your rage in a batting cage or ax-throwing! Give yourself time to look forward to as the “dumping ground” for all the big and little tears.
Lean on Your People
The side effects of these medications and treatments can be brutal, and you cannot manage this season alone. Nor should you. We cannot underestimate the value of a supportive, caring network to be your safe landing place during this season. One of our community members told us she would never have survived without her fantastic spouse, who let her ugly cry for no reason whenever she needed it. You need at least one person like this in your infertility journey.
Surround yourself with friends and family who will help you manage all these tips. Allow a trusted friend to speak the truth to you about your feelings and the meds. Let a friend or sibling in who can help you hold your “why” in front of you when you are too tired to do it yourself. Ask your spouse for help keeping the calendar simple and focused right now. Build your village and lean into them when the moods are swinging like Tarzan on a vine!
Normalize The Experience of Infertility Treatment
Remember, mood swings are a common experience during infertility treatment. Your body is being impacted by the medications and changing hormones. Even if it’s something you expected, it can still take you by surprise. Finding helpful ways to cope with the mood swings might take some time. Talking to your medical professionals and close friends or family about how you are managing will help you normalize the experience for you and your partner.
Try your best not to keep it all to yourself. Infertility is a disease with challenging symptoms and sometimes even more complex side effects from the treatment. There is no shame in facing your disease – and its impacts – head-on and with those who love you enlisted to support you.
Do you struggle with mood swings from infertility treatment? What helps you cope in this season? Tell us about it in the comments!
Image Credits: Csaba Tὃrὃk; ataelw; ASweeneyPhoto
Add Your Comment
This was not written by someone who researched or has knowledge of fertility treatment. You can’t exercise on the hormones, they make your ovaries so enlarged there’s a significant risk of torsion. You can’t lift over 15 lbs, can’t run or do anything bouncy, can’t even do yoga. You certainly can’t play tennis. This is for weeks, both leading up to and after the egg retrieval phase of IVF and similar drugs are used for the less invasive versions. This was insultingly poorly researched
Certainly one should follow their physician’s advice per their particular treatment or medication regimen. But generally speaking, staying active (“You don’t have to engage in strenuous activity…”) has far more benefit than being sedentary, including improving mood.
Such an amazing article on mental health during infertility treatment, thanks for sharing.