When you are trying to conceive, everything feels uncertain, unpredictable and frustrating. Whether you are trying naturally or going through the process of fertility treatments, life can feel very much out of your control.
Add to this a global pandemic and isolation and emotions and reactions and it's likely to take a toll on your mental health and emotional wellbeing!
....what can you do?
This is a time where we must focus on what we can control and not what we cannot control. It's a real test of mental resilience, something that you need a bucket load of on any fertility journey.
Sleep is a key factor in optimising fertility. Good sleep helps to promote a good hormone balance and reduces stress levels. If your life is usually very busy, maybe you will even have time to improve your sleep, allowing yourself a regular routine, more hours in bed and a chance to get the illusive 7-8 hours.
Stay hydrated. Being well hydrated is key for overall health and aiding good digestion as well as optimising cervical mucus quality. If you're at home you may have more time to focus on getting your recommended 8 glasses a day.
Exercise: It is important to keep at least the same level of exercise that you were getting before. You can't go to the gym or classes, but maybe you could replace this with a long run or walk in the middle of the day. If you are usually at work all day, you may not get the chance to exercise outdoors in the daylight, and exercise in nature has added benefits for your mental health.
Food: try to stick to your regular mealtimes and focus on getting good healthy nutritious meals. You will have to be more organised with your food shopping and meal planning, and much more time to cook from scratch. The more nutrients you're getting from your meals, the more you can justify a few treats now and again. Its about maximising the good stuff, not depriving yourself.
Make your online world a positive one. People are really creating a sense of community online and many people are offering services for free on Zoom or Facebook. There's plenty of resources for learning, classes for exercise and relaxation, guided meditations and support for staying calm. Find what works for you and most importantly, try to ignore what doesn't! If you follow people filling your timeline with fear or you'e reading the news 25 times a day, then try to reduce these negative inputs.
Do what you love. You may still have to work but hopefully with social plans cancelled you will have more time to yourself, to remember what you loved doing. Read, paint, draw, write, play music, dance, learn something new or even catch up on some indulgent TV.
Nurture the right relationships. When you're trying to conceive it can put pressure on a lot of relationships. You and your partner might be struggling when the sole focus of your relationship is trying to conceive. Being stuck in the house together could feel like the exact opposite of what you need, but try and turn it in to a positive, it gives you more time together to do and discuss things other than optimising conception. You may even have time to have sex that is just for fun, imagine that!
You may have been struggling recently with social interactions, social situations with pregnant friends or friends with new babies. You may have been keeping things to yourself and felt withdrawn from you normal social groups. With everyone in isolation, this pressure has now been removed. You have the perfect reason not to see people and you can make an effort to call those that you feel benefit you.
Stay safe and follow government guidelines. Keep yourself physically well, follow advice to stay in your house with only people that live with you. Limit your trips out to essential food shopping and one form of exercise a day, observing the social distancing rules. And of course, wash your hands well regularly and certainly after any potential exposure.
If either you or your partner are NHS workers or keyworkers, then you are doing an amazing job and I understand that you will struggle with any of the above advice, your life must feel upside down and you probably have less time not more. And if you are also trying to conceive the stress must be un-imaginable. Please know that everyone is thinking of you and appreciating you, even if they don't know everything that you are going through personally.
For those of you going through fertility treatment or due to it is likely that will now be on hold indefinitely. Allow yourself to be angry and to grieve and don't be afraid to ask for professional support.
Support is available
At Muma Nurture we are offering services online throughout the current crisis, which means that our counselling services are still available. Please get in touch if you are struggling with any of these issues.