Anxiety and Depression Impact Fertility
Anxiety and Depression Impact Fertility
We live in a culture that continues to deny the importance and impact of our emotions. Progress is happening, but shame is still interwoven through mental health diagnosis and crises. You only have to look at this summer’s Olympic Games and the outcry that accompanied Simone Biles’ decision to sit out all but one of her events to prove this still exists.
When emotions that do not feel good come up, we are supposed to power through. Don’t wallow. Just shove them down and keep going.
And, when emotions are attached to something like not having your family yet, that’s when the real advice starts to flow: just relax, take a vacation, it isn’t a big deal, you can just adopt, and on and on. Even when people are sympathetic, there seems to be a time-limit (aren’t you over that yet?).
The stigma and associated internal shame keep many of us from speaking up or from seeking assistance. In fact I just spent the first half of a session with a new client working on releasing her embarrassment of needing/wanting an appointment.
And yet, research shows that both anxiety and depression decrease the chances of conception. Not only that, but research also shows that these types of challenging emotions shorten the time someone is willing to pursue treatment.
I share this not to scare you, but to underline the importance of how your emotions impact your physical body in general and your fertility specifically.
Your emotions are real. They aren’t something to shove aside. They should be listened to and given the utmost respect, starting with ourselves. If we won’t acknowledge them as real or as something that should be addressed, how can anyone else in our lives?
Now what? What can you start to do to diminish the impact these emotions have on your body and fertility?
- Spend time specifically creating different emotions.
Give yourself permission (and schedule in time for) some type of mind-emptying time. Sitting meditation. Guided meditation. Walking meditations. Taking 10 deep breaths. Anything that is going to help you create a “blank-er” state of mind is going to help.
- Be willing to get to neutral
You do not have to be “positive” all the time. Neutral is just fine. Getting to a neutral feeling state can be a much more attainable goal than making yourself feel like sunshine, roses, and lollipops all day every day no matter what news you just got. Neutral gives your body a rest. Neutral gives your cells a rest. Neutral starts bringing your bodymind back into safety which allows all the cells of your body the opportunity to do their jobs.
Additionally, once you get to neutral, feeling positive is just around the corner. Feeling positive simply makes life easier to live.
- Be willing to try something you’ve never done
When I first learned the technique EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) back in 2001, it was the weirdest thing I had ever done to improve my health and my beliefs. The proof was in the results I received. And now there is research to prove that this particular technique is incredibly effective for both anxiety and depression, which is the reason that I brought it into my practice.
This is not a comprehensive list of what to do with emotions, I’ll be sharing more in the upcoming weeks. If you are suffering greatly, I am going to recommend that you reach out to a mental health specialist. If you need help knowing how to do that, please reach out.
If you are finding that these emotions are simply creating hardship in your fertility journey, impacting daily life in increasingly uncomfortable ways, reach out and let’s chat about how my work could serve you. You can access my calendar here.
And for those of you who are interested in the science, here are a few links to scientific articles:
Couples’ discontinuation of fertility treatments: a longitudinal study on demographic, biomedical, and psychosocial risk factors
The effect of anxiety and depression scores of couples who underwent assisted reproductive techniques on the pregnancy outcomes
Depression and state anxiety scores during assisted reproductive treatment are associated with outcome: a meta-analysis
Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis
Is Tapping on Acupuncture Points an Active Ingredient in Emotional Freedom Techniques? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Comparative Studies