Infertility has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a disease of the reproductive system and the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
One in six couples in Canada experience infertility in their lives and that statistic could rise according to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).
Infertility can result in severe emotional stress where couples often hope each month that they will finally conceive, then feel despair when it does not happen. Men and women experience the stress and grief of infertility quite differently; this can create substantial personal and marital stress. Treatments are physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Stress does not cause infertility but if left untreated, stress and stress hormones can certainly have a negative impact on the ability to conceive.
1. Impairs follicle health and development. Stress reduces the secretion of estrogen from the follicle which reduces the thickness of the endometrium and the fertile mucous
2. Reduces the secretion of progesterone from the corpus luteum in the luteal phase, and thus affects implantation. Stress can cause luteal phase defects.
3. Affects the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland which is responsible for stimulating ovulation.
4. Increases prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland, which inhibits ovarian function
5. Affects the part of the immune system responsible for preventing miscarriage in early pregnancy
6. Negatively impacts many other health concerns which may impair fertility, such as thyroid health, autoimmune conditions, allergic conditions, pcos, endometriosis, and gastrointestinal concerns
The mind and body are connected and hormones that aid in pregnancy are affected when a person is under a significant amount of stress. Therefore, seeking help during such a fragile time is crucial to get the needed support mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Fertility specialists manage the physical side of care and there are many things within a patient’s control to feel better such as seeking out a Fertility Coach, a Psychologist, support groups, reading reputable websites on infertility, acupuncture, practicing self-compassion techniques, meditation or even fertility yoga. The main goal is to decrease mental and emotional stress to a level that is manageable so the physical self can relax and let nature take its course in hopes of having a positive outcome.
One of the most useful ways to begin your journey to surrendering what you have control over and what you don’t is by cultivating some mindfulness. This can be achieved by quietly checking in with yourself every now and then, paying attention to what you are thinking and doing in the present moment and by practicing self-compassion, as best you can. Here are a few examples of how to cultivate your own mindfulness:
- In order to live your life fully, you have to be present for it
- To be present, it helps to purposefully bring awareness to your moments-otherwise you may miss many of them
- This requires a great deal of self-compassion and kindness towards yourself, which you deserve
- This is hard but well worth it
- It takes a lot of practice, don’t give up, you can do this
With all the emotions and stress moving around you like a raging river during this time, try to be the rock in that raging river to have some more stability in your life.
“Nothing is ever just in your head. Nothing is ever just in your body. They are intrinsically linked-always.” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup
Please feel free to contact me at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org for your initial FREE 30 minute coaching session. You are not alone on this journey. ~J.J.