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How to support your mental health if you are going through IVF

Undergoing IVF can be emotionally and mentally challenging due to the uncertainty, stress, and rollercoaster of emotions it can bring – let alone relationship dynamics with your partner, juggling work and your existing health. Here are some ways to support your mental health during the IVF process:

Educate yourself
Understand the IVF process, including the steps involved, potential outcomes, and emotional challenges might help you feel a bit more settled. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. Just remember not to get caught up in all the information on Google about everything that could go wrong. If you are unsure about something, simply ask your doctor, nurses or community – it’s important you feel connected to others.

Build a support system
Surround yourself with understanding and supportive friends, family members, or a support group who can provide empathy, encouragement, and a listening ear throughout the journey.

Communicate with your partner
Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Share your feelings, fears, and hopes with each other, and work together as a team to navigate the ups and downs of IVF. Every person is different, so it’s important you communicate your needs as best as you can so you can support each other throughout the journey.

Practice selfcare
IVF can really take a toll on your mental health so prioritising your self-care is going to be paramount before, during and after your treatments. Take care of your physical and emotional well-being with activities such as exercise, relaxation techniques (e.g., yoga, meditation), hobbies, and spending time with loved ones.

Set boundaries
Be mindful of your limits and set boundaries to protect your emotional health. This may involve taking breaks from discussions about IVF, avoiding triggering situations or people, and prioritising your needs.

Manage stress
Practice stress-management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, or journaling to help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Might be worth discussing your situation with your manager at work so they are aware of your appointments and potential extra time off if you need it.

Stay positive, but realistic
While maintaining a positive outlook can be beneficial, it’s also important to be realistic about the IVF process and its potential outcomes. Acknowledge and validate your emotions, whether they’re positive or negative.

Focus on what you can control
This might be a tough one, but it’s worth remembering to focus on the aspects of the IVF process that you can control, such as following your doctor’s recommendations, taking care of your health, and seeking support when needed. IVF can be a wild journey and with so much outside of our control it’s critical we remember to be gentle with ourselves.

Seek help if needed
If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help, I can provide additional support and guidance tailored to your specific needs.

Disclaimer:
These tips are only to be used as ideas and suggestions. If you have any specific concerns about your mental health, please do not delay seeking medical advice or treatment for your mental health because of the information on this blog. If you’re unsure, do contact your GP or book a counselling appointment so we can discuss your needs in more detail.

If you’re experiencing severe anxiety or have thoughts of self-harm, please contact a trusted person in your life immediately or call SAMARITANS 116 123 (free from any phone) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also email  jo@samaritans.org