One of the unaddressed factors in boosting fertility is mental health. When mental health suffers, fertility and pregnancy are at risk. Learn the importance of mental health and how you can improve it.
Mental health affects fertility and pregnancy.
The success of the fertility and pregnancy of a woman doesn’t only rely on her physiological condition but also her mental health. A better understanding of the relationship between fertility, pregnancy, and mental health will help women improve their mental conditions and reach their optimum health.
Some of the couples who undergo fertility treatment experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. A study conducted in the five fertility clinics in California revealed that one-half of the women and one-third of men suffered from clinical-level depression symptoms. In contrast, 76 percent of women and 61 percent of men had symptoms of clinical anxiety.
According to the study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, 50% of men and 15% of men who have infertility said that it is the most distressing experience of their lives. Some of the emotions they feel are shame, doubt, guilt, sadness, and hopelessness.
Not only couples are suffering from infertility experience depression and anxiety. Even some pregnant women suffer from these mental disorders as complications of pregnancy and post-partum.
Symptoms of Depression
An increase in alcohol intake may also be a symptom of depression.
If you are experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged time, then it is time to seek help from a mental health professional:
Tips to Improve Your Mental Health
Communicating with your spouse is one of the ways to overcome depression.
Stop blaming yourself.
Remind yourself that it is not you or your partner’s fault. Instead of focusing on the frustration, look forward to how you and your partner can manage the situation. Resist the temptation of getting the frustration to yourself or others.
Talk about your experience.
You don’t have to keep everything to yourself. Instead, talk to someone you trust about your experience. It may be your partner, your parents, your friends, or your counsellor. Don’t be afraid to express your frustrations and disappointments. Speaking up on what you are going through will lighten up the burden.
If you cannot find someone you know who you can trust, you can attend therapy. It provides a safe place where you can be free from any judgment. Studies also showed that women who seek support have higher pregnancy rates. Also, speaking to women who have the same experience as yours will help you discover what works for them.
Be true to yourself.
Cry if you need to express the anger and the frustration you feel. Denying and bottling your negative emotions will only create a deep pain in your heart. Crying helps in releasing all the negative emotions.
Allow yourself to grieve.
Not having the child you want to have now may cause you a lot of grief. Allow yourself to mourn and be transparent on how the process you are going through. Grieving does not mean that you are giving up, but it is a way of surrendering your control and expectations. After that, let go and move ahead.
Keep a journal.
Not all the time, there is a friend or a family member who can listen to us. Journaling your emotions and experiences express what is in your heart. A journal will also remind you how you are overcoming day by day.
Stay connected to your friends and family.
Isolating yourself will only intensify loneliness and depression. By rebuilding your relationships with your loved ones, you are opening an opportunity for them to comfort and love you. Don’t be afraid to ask for their support.
Communicate with your spouse.
You are not alone in this journey. Your spouse is also with you. Instead of treating each other with cold shoulders, it is time to communicate more. Both of you might be feeling resentment, sexual pressure, feeling of inadequacy, and tension. Speaking with honesty and love will help you comfort each other in times like this.
Decrease stress by engaging in some activities.
There are many activities that you can do to lessen the stress you are experiencing. Some of them are yoga, meditation, and regular exercises. You can also focus on hobbies that improve your well-being.
Pay attention to your diet.
Taking care of your health is one of the steps to overcome depression. Limit yourself from consuming food like salt, sugar, saturated fats and white flour. Also, avoid taking chemical additives, caffeine and alcohol.
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM