Every year in April, RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association sponsors National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), an important week to unite, educate, and support people struggling with infertility. Unhealthy lifestyle factors (e.g., poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and stress) can contribute to having problems conceiving. Nutrabloom helps individuals and couples take care of their physical health by offering a wide range of essential whole-food supplements that support fertility. In honor of NIAW, Nutrabloom has compiled a self-care checklist with strategies to implement physical and emotional self-care for people struggling with the challenges of unsuccessful attempts to conceive a baby.
When dealing with infertility, taking care of your mental and physical health is vital, particularly during fertility treatments. The following checklist can help you identify healthy lifestyle factors that need addressing to support your physical and emotional health and fertility.
Create a Strong Support Network
You are not alone in your fertility journey. The CDC reports that approximately 19% of people aged 15 through 49 are unable to conceive after a year of trying to have a baby. This translates to over 7 million people with infertility in the U.S. Although the statistics won’t decrease the emotional impact of infertility, these numbers show that there are many people who understand what you are going through. Establishing a support network of others who can relate, share experiences, and offer support when needed is invaluable during your fertility journey. Find a peer-led support group in your local area here.
Learn About Your Fertility Options
Educating yourself about your symptoms, causes, and treatment options can help you create a plan or roadmap of sorts that will help you navigate the otherwise unfamiliar process of fertility treatment. An essential self-care action step is to consult with a fertility specialist to learn about your treatment options.
Practices Kindness With Yourself and Your Partner
The process of trying to conceive a baby can make intimacy seem robotic for people with fertility struggles. It’s essential to tune into kindness toward yourself and your partner. Focus on fostering an intimate connection by allotting time to spend together, showing affection, discussing your feelings, and supporting each other emotionally.
Be Mindful of Your Emotions
Feelings such as sadness, helplessness, jealousy, frustration, or even shame are common emotions experienced by individuals and couples coping with infertility. Talk openly with your partner and/or support network, and be honest with yourself about your feelings.
Know When to Seek Professional Help
While self-validation of emotions is important, it’s also essential to be aware of problematic issues that may require intervention, such as:
- Signs of clinical depression (e.g., persistent sadness, trouble concentrating, loss of interest in activities, social isolation, change in appetite, weight, or sleep pattern)
- Signs of anxiety (e.g., excessive stress, severe ongoing worry, and restlessness.
- Loss of interest in usual activities and relationships
- Severe mood swings
- An obsession with infertility
- Having marital problems
- Drinking frequently or drug use to cope with emotions
- Suicidal thoughts or persistent thoughts of death or dying
If you experience any of the mental health symptoms above, do not hesitate to speak with a professional counselor, therapist, or another mental health professional.
Find a full list of resources, listed by population, recommended for people struggling with infertility by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) including:
- Resources for LGBTQ
- Where to find infertility counseling and support
- Educational resources for multiple births
- Support for single moms
- Peer support network for men with erectile dysfunction