As any woman who has struggled to conceive knows, emotions are a key part of the pregnancy puzzle. Fertility problems are stressful, and often cause a woman to feel anxious, depressed, or inadequate. Depression and emotional turmoil can delay or even prevent conception altogether. Addressing the emotional side of fertility can lessen the emotional pain and increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
Many women feel a great pressure to become pregnant quickly, after waiting to establish a career or finding a partner later in life. There is often an expectation that pregnancy should occur within 1 to 2 cycles, and then a woman begins to worry that she is infertile, or that she has waited too long. I meet many women who are concerned that they will not conceive, not for any reason except that it has become so common. Although 10-15% of couples in the United States will experience infertility, there is no cause for concern unless pregnancy has not occurred after 12 months of unprotected sex (or 6 months if the woman is over 35). Once the cycle of stress and anxiety begins, it can become very difficult to overcome.
Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between depression and infertility. A study from Brown University showed that women with a history of depressive symptoms were twice as likely to report infertility than women without a history of such symptoms. Another study from the University of California demonstrated that depression can interfere with fertility treatments as well. Women in this study who were the most depressed were the least likely to conceive through IVF.
Women experience a vast range of emotions in relationship to their own fertility. There are exasperation, desperation, worry, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. In Eastern medicine, the spirit, called Shen, is said to come from the Heart and to be directly connected to the uterus through the acupuncture meridians. This connection explains the impact that emotions can have on fertility and the importance of addressing stress and emotional disruption when a woman is wanting to conceive. Many women know that they may have a period arrive late or early when they are going through particularly stressful times. This disruption to the menstrual cycle is simply the obvious manifestation of the disruption that is happening to their hormone cycles internally. A small change to the menstrual cycle can reflect a significant impact on the inner workings of fertility.
How to Manage Emotions and their Effect on Fertility
Acupuncture can play an essential role in balancing emotions that might be preventing pregnancy. It relieves stress and depression, and lessens anxiety and worry. Through addressing the emotions, acupuncture can make the journey to conception smoother and easier. The best part is that acupuncture can also be an essential part of balancing hormones and improving fertility while also managing the emotions that can sometimes get in the way.
Starting a regular meditation practice can be a major help during periods of stress, and functions as a way of learning how to process that stress more effectively. You’ll still feel stress, but you’ll get better and better at letting go of it and not letting it affect your physical body. I recommend starting with something simple that doesn’t take too long, like this “loving kindness” meditation or this simple breathing exercise. As you get deeper into your fertility journey, you might find these fertility focused guided meditations from Circle & Bloom helpful.
Trust and Patience
If you haven’t yet been trying to conceive for at least 12 months (6 months if over 35), try to remember that you have no reason to worry. Conceiving a healthy baby sometimes takes time. Everyone is different. Maybe you just need to give it a bit more time.
Try not to give in to comparing yourself to others. Yes, there are plenty of people who conceive their first try, but there are just as many who don’t. Sure, some people get pregnant on accident and that can feel very unfair, but that in no way reflects on you or your ability to conceive. Yup, the health cards you’re dealt sometimes feel like you’re getting a crappy hand. I can promise you, everyone has their own challenges to work through, and there are a lot of people who likely think you’re one of the lucky ones.
Realizing what a profound role your emotions play in your fertility journey is the essential first step. Once you do, you’re in a much better position to make sure they’re not interfering with your daily life and fertility journey. Pregnancy happens when the body is given a chance to find harmony and rhythm-reach out and get help if you’re having trouble finding yours.
Would you like to connect with me to see if I can help you with my unique and effective approach to fertility support?
Request a free consultation and we’ll meet to discuss your case. We’ll sit down, review your health history and goals, and see if you are a good fit for our services. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions about our approach and if you feel confident that I can help, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to move forward and work with me.