Infertility treatment is exhausting, isn’t it? Your schedule is packed with doctor appointments, invasive procedures, timed sex, shots, hormone-treatment-induced rollercoasters, and more. Trying again and again to build the family of your dreams can wear you down. The impacts on your emotions, marriage, friendships, and bank account are profound. How do you find time for self-care during infertility treatment?
In times like this, we turned to our CreatingaFamily.org Facebook support community for their advice and experience. Not surprisingly, they came through with a great variety of coping tools and self-care suggestions that you are bound to appreciate. You deserve it! Look through the list and choose a few new-to-you tips to incorporate into your life while you are doing infertility treatment.
Self-Care During Infertility Treatment
Hands down, the most popular self-care tip in our online community was to travel. Our members suggested cruises, adventure travels, adult-only resorts, and backpacking trips for rejuvenating self-care. Many of them specifically mentioned that the act of planning a big trip for the future instills hope and gives you something to look forward to if you are not pregnant.
Rescue a pet.
A close second to travel was the rescue of a pet. The outlet of caring for something cuddly, vulnerable, and in need was mentioned as “therapeutic.” And, of course, the snuggles, happy greetings, and unconditional love that pets offer are great benefits for your emotional well-being.
Pick a project.
Several members suggested choosing a big project that you likely wouldn’t have time for if you were parenting. The wide diversity of pursuits mentioned was inspiring: writing, getting a degree, dancing, photography, art, and horseback riding.
Schedule Regular Date Nights.
Infertility treatment can be brutal on your primary relationship, whether a partner, spouse, or best friend if you are single. It is essential to prioritize time together to focus on your relationship and nurture each other. It buffers you both against the hardships of treatment. Our members suggested a combination of “big” nights out, like concerts or movie premiere nights mixed with standing coffee dates or regular Saturday brunches at your favorite café.
The goal is to keep your relationship healthy with engaging and fulfilling activities. The secondary benefit of regular dates is that you have something to look forward to you both enjoy.
Practice Spiritual Growth and Disciplines.
Many members agreed that their infertility journey was challenging to their faith. Others viewed their struggle as an impetus to draw closer to their chosen religion. They recommended engaging in spiritual disciplines as both a comfort and a means of making sense of their experiences.
Coping with the Stress of Infertility
Cooking and Baking.
While it may not be the best activity for your overall health, it does help to fill your time, especially if you learn a new skill in the kitchen. A few experienced members shared their experiences of learning how to make artisan bread and homemade pasta. Other suggestions included taking lessons with friends to learn about foods from different cultures. This self-care tip has the added bonus of making you very popular with friends and co-workers.
Take Up a New Hobby.
Learning a new skill, such as knitting, sculpting, or painting, has a similar effect as cooking and baking. One wise member suggested exploring new vineyards or studying the art of winemaking. She conveniently schedules a wine tasting during “that time of the month” to distract. She and her husband have something they can look forward to and enjoy together.
Many of our members find it healing and fulfilling to serve in local community activities that involve children. We heard from Sunday School teachers, church nursery workers, and Big Brothers and Sisters mentors. A couple of people even said that they became foster parents.*
However, the responses were divided on how helpful it is to engage in activities with children. As you can imagine, other members felt that it would not be self-care at all to serve children in this season of their lives. However, they agreed that finding somewhere else to help others was a significant element of self-care that they found revitalizing.
*A note about foster care: before you consider becoming a foster parent, get educated on foster care and the goal of foster care. This is especially important if your underlying goal of foster parenting is to adopt.
CreatingaFamily.org strongly believes that education is power, so we were thrilled by this suggestion of several members to get informed about infertility and your specific diagnoses or treatment plans. One of the most accessible and enjoyable ways to get educated is to plug in your earphones and listen to the CreatingaFamily.org podcasts while you’re driving, cooking, exercising, or even vacuuming. We have a vast archive of past shows.
You can subscribe to the CreatingaFamily.org podcast on your phone and start listening today. It’s free and easy.
Find Self-Care That Brings You Joy
Whichever of these suggestions you try, focus on how it makes you feel and how your energy levels respond to the activity. Take a moment of mindfulness while you are participating. Observe your heart rate, breathing, and thought patterns. Is your mind racing and anxious? Then this activity might not be the right choice for you. On the flip side, if this practice leaves you feeling refreshed and hopeful, you likely have found a self-care practice that is right for this season of your journey. Use those feelings of peace and hope to spur you on to further healthy practices. During the challenging season of infertility, you deserve to find the best care for your whole self that you can.
What do you do for self-care during this season of infertility? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Image Credits: Anthony J; sneakerdog
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