Reducing Infertility Stress with Meditation (Not Medication)
The conversation's coming up a lot in Fertile Yoga. So, just in case this is a weekend that is slowed down a bit by the snow, I thought I'd share this with you again.
I have to confess, this is not a new blog. I posted this before. Today, I'm doing some editing and posting it again.
The perfect weekend for doing a lot or very little. Maybe it will snow and everything will slow down. Regardless of what the plans were, they may need to be changed or cancelled.
Resting or working. If you are in the middle of an infertility treatment cycle, there is no absolute rest time. Even when we are on hold, whether on medications or off, we are busy.
Busy in our minds. Often going around and around in circles.
Reducing Infertility Stress With Meditation
We often get advice to relax. To forget about fertility treatment cycles. To let it go. To focus on something else. A favorite, “take a vacation”. Generally speaking? That advice makes us some combination of enraged, amused, indignant and just plain exasperated. Because really, all of those ideas on how to be can feel impossible.
What if they weren’t the worst ideas ever? Or even impossible?
Yoga for Infertility
One moment at a time is all we need to focus on. There are tools to help, that really do help. They help us let go of our busy brains, one moment at a time. Yoga has always done it for me. I always, always, always feel better after yoga. Sometimes I don’t like getting there. Sometimes I don’t even like being in the class. Occasionally, not often, I even look at the clock while I’m in class. Yet, still at the end, I’m glad to have been there. I always feel lighter and brighter, more centered and more grounded as well.
One thing that I hold onto in my busy brain is that quiet, even with my mind chattering, is still restorative. And that practicing quiet, promotes less chatter. Who of us wouldn’t like less chatter in our minds? Who wouldn’t like to come back to the same subject or some aspect of the subject less often?
Face it. Who among us would not prefer to have infertility invade our thoughts as often as they do?
Maybe you don’t think about it more than you would like. If that is true, please share your secret with us. Because most of us think about it a lot. A lot, a lot. And more.
If you think about infertility, fertility treatment cycles, the pregnancy rates for IUI’s, the sperm count and motility, the side effects of the medication, the timing of the medications, how often you need to go in for ultrasounds, whether to share your information with your boss, how many cycles it will take to become pregnant and more, then it is very possible that your brain is on overdrive. Going around and around in circles.
And the best advice ever is to quiet it down a bit. And that advice is still easier to say than to do. At least without help and tools it is.
Infertility Advice: Meditation
Here’s a helpful hint for this weekend.
- Try several minutes of sitting quietly.
- Set an alarm so you don’t focus on when you’re supposed to stop.
- Find a place in your home that is relatively free of distractions.
- Turn your phone off or put it away.
- Find a comfortable way of sitting. Take a few minutes to make sure that you are comfortable.
- Perhaps read something first that is inspirational to you.
- Close your eyes.
- Keep them closed until the alarm rings.
- Observe your thoughts but don’t feel that you need to hang onto them.
- Don’t worry about using this time to solve the world’s problems. Or even your own.
- Each time that you find yourself wrapped up in thinking, bring your attention to your breath.
- Repeat the word, in your mind, exhale as you exhale.
- Repeat the word inhale, in your mind, as you inhale.
- Whenever other thoughts intrude, bring your attention back to your breath.
- When the alarm rings, turn it off and write down one thing that you can find to be grateful for. Even if it’s the tiniest thing, like being grateful that meditation is over.
- Go on about the rest of your day.
- Repeat the next morning or if you’re feeling ambitious, try this several times a day.
Know that even if you feel like you’re not doing it right, that your brain is busy the entire time, that you are receiving the benefit of meditation. We’ll look into this more next week.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.