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How Would You Cope With Failed IVF?

It is often not easy for us to face up to and deal with negative emotions. One’s emotional state is made worse when the subconscious mind (which stores all memories and experiences – remembering everything that has happened) comes into play without the conscious mind being aware.

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Failed IVF

A failed IVF cycle isn’t uncommon – but how do you cope with it?

When deciding to start a family the majority of couples take it for granted that conception will happen naturally. It is, therefore, worrying that the number of people seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased. In the UK this is evidenced by a rise in the number of IVF cycles undertaken, with more cycles than ever in 2013, according to a report released in December 2014, by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Disappointingly HFEA also reported that the overall success rate remains unchanged at 25%, or, put another way, 75% of IVF cycles fail.

For this reason, doctors can often recommend that couples invest in three rounds of treatments in order to maximise their chances of IVF success. This article offers ways you can optimise your chances in a cycle and emotionally recover from any failed IVF attempts.

For couples experiencing the devastation of finding out that they have infertility issues, their route to parenthood often suddenly changes from a beautiful dream to an exhausting round of tests and appointments. Having decided to undergo IVF, the reality is that couples are then set on a path of highs and lows during their treatment cycle.

The anxiety people undergo when waiting for the results of the treatment is often difficult and stressful, then to discover that the cycle has failed brings an enormous sense of loss and frustration. Couples have described their experience as one of immense grief. They were grieving for the potential of a baby lost, and, at the same time, enduring the disappointment that they are not going to be a parent or growing family unit.

This can bring a lot of stress to couples who are left suffering a range of negative emotions including anger, depression, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness. The relationships between the individuals involved, as well as with friends and family members can suffer and lead to feelings of isolation. For women, excessive stress can result in ovulation being disrupted or stopping altogether. This is a clear example of how mental state has a distinct physical effect on the body.

It is often not easy for us to face up to and deal with negative emotions. One’s emotional state is made worse when the subconscious mind (which stores all memories and experiences – remembering everything that has happened) comes into play without the conscious mind being aware.

Although the sub-conscious mind is simply there to protect, it does so by consciously highlighting that if IVF failed before then it is best to avoid the pain and not go through it again as it will not work. This thought patterning results in mixed feelings when it comes to the question “What to do next after IVF has failed?” While the conscious mind is willing to keep trying, the sub-conscious does not want to pursue more pain and IVF failure so, therefore, chooses to oppose the idea. This bifurcated emotional state, with the subsequent impact on the physical body, thus reduces the chances of a successful conception. Despite being able to appreciate the protective mechanism of the sub-conscious mind, it is easy to see how it also plays a destructive role by creating disorder within the mind and body.

What to do next after IVF has failed?

Step 1 – “Sit in Grief.”
Do not suppress or try to fast-forward this process.

How?
Do this by taking time to sit in meditation (even if this is something new for you), just create a space where you will not be interrupted or feel restricted by your clothing. Simply sit in a peaceful area (out in nature or in your home) where you can be comfortable with your back supported.

  1. Bring your awareness to where you are feeling the grief in your body. It is energetically stored in your lungs so it would be helpful if you can begin gently lengthening your breath.
  2. Get in touch with your emotions by sitting with them, reassuring yourself “It is okay and natural to feel this way”.
  3. After recognising them, breathe them out of the body

If the time is not taken to grieve and deal with the trauma, the feelings won’t go away. Instead, they can grow to dominate every aspect of life.

Step 2 – “Create a Refreshed Mindset.”
Prior to next attempting IVF, assisted or natural fertility a refreshed mindset can be created when control of the subconscious mind is regained.

By taking control and eliminating the negativity, it becomes easier to think more clearly, be more focused and be able to make positive decisions about the fertility journey.

How?
Mind mastery techniques can help to change the control that the mind has of the body. This allows people to manage the impact of stress more effectively, as well as enhance their physiology. Mind mastery will typically consist of one, or more of the following:

Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is often taken from Daoist, Buddhist and yogic philosophies. It provides a way of paying attention to and seeing clearly what is really going on in one’s life by removing the chains we attach to the false patterns of beliefs and emotions of the subconscious mind. It helps to recognise and then step away from these emotional and physiological conditioned reactions to events. Practicing mindfulness allows one to be fully present in their life, relationships and work as such improving the entire quality of existence through enhanced self-awareness.

Meditation, simply put, involves focusing the mind in a way that promotes the ability and intention to reflect, contemplate or quiet the mind. It results in improved health, wellbeing and ability to deal with stress and trauma.

Mind Detox Exercises
By exploring belief systems, it is possible to re-shape negative cellular memory and thought patterns. In doing so one can regain control and powerfully think themselves fertile.

Step 3 – “Implement Lifestyle Changes.”
When implementing a new fertile lifestyle it tells the brain that a new strategy is being introduced and it can, therefore, expect to have a better outcome.

How?
Lifestyle changes can include the introduction of new stress management techniques as well as embrace fertility yoga. According to Fiona Kacz-Boulton, founder of Awakening Fertility, a wonderful relaxation tip offered to her clients as a quick and easy way to reduce stress and prepare the mind for meditation is the “7’s Breath”.

The “7’s Breath”
The “7’s Breath” is a technique whereby you breathe very, very gently, quietly and slowly to the count of 7. That is, 7 seconds on the inhale and 7 seconds on the exhale. If you breathe too fast you will find it difficult to reach a 7 second breath. If you are not used to yogic breathing you can start with 5 second breathing for 7 rounds until you can build up to 7 seconds.

The key is to focus completely on the breath. No future thoughts, no past thoughts, just be present and mindful of how the breath moves the body: how it inflates all four sides of the ribcage and gently fills the abdomen, then you feel all the breath leave so it naturally contracts the abdomen. This abdominal lock recharges your body’s energy reserve as well as brings about a sense of calm and empowerment.

This breath not only helps to restore fertility, by activating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, it will help you stay calm and keep your body in a harmonious state, thereby optimizing your chances for your next round of IVF treatment too.

Yoga for Infertility
When the body holds stress, tension or fears it blocks the vital life force energy (called “Qi”) from flowing efficiently. In turn, blocked Qi means circulation is inhibited. When circulation is effected it means blood is unable to carry the nutrients to all the cells for optimum health. The sacral band (which governs digestion and the female reproductive system) is the area most impacted by lack of blood flow and circulation as, when you are stressed, all the blood moves to the extremities. As a result, your digestive system and the reproductive system will suffer.

Step 4 – “Fertility Food: Detox and Reboot”

When the body has suffered the effects of increased hormones, medical intervention and the emotional trauma that a failed IVF treatment may bring, food can be the best medicine to assist in the physical healing process. To quote Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

How?
Implementing a mini detox can help you feel completely refreshed. Juice detoxes are popular, so too are MSM (organic food grade sulphur) cleanses or try an easy to follow “Awakening Fertility Morning Detox.”

Awakening Fertility Morning Detox
Every morning squeeze yourself some organic lemon juice, mix with warm water, a dessert spoonful of apple cider vinegar and honey.

Follow with a freshly made raw fruit and vegetable smoothie that can be sipped throughout the morning. Adding SuperFoods to the smoothie is essential so as to feed the body Vitamain C, antioxidants and other nutrient dense foods that keep it functioning optimally, improving egg quality and energy levels.

Foods for Fertility
What one eats is as important as exercising the body and mind. As part of a complementary mind-body detox, it is best to review eating habits.

Here is some food for thought, courtesy of Fertility expert Fiona Kacz-Boulton.

5 Top Fertility Foods That Nature Has Created For You To Easily Remember

  1. Avocados – Shaped like the womb and take 9 months to develop. The Aztecs called avocado trees “Ahuacatl” (testicle trees) because the fruits grow in pairs. Avocados are therefore beneficial to male and female fertility
  2. Figs – Grow in pairs, look like testicles and are full of zinc to help with sperm function
  3. Bananas – Help with erections
  4. Raspberries – Resemble nipples and help improve cardiovascular health as well as reduce inflammation (essential for mothers-to-be)
  5. Coconut oil – Keeps everything lubricated and running smoothly

The Post-IVF Road to Recovery: Feeling Safe to Continue Down the Fertility Path
By establishing a physical, mental and emotional recovery plan, the above life-changing steps have been designed as the blueprints for a new fertile foundation. These tried and tested strategies can help to build a stronger and more powerful sense of hope and confidence required for the journey.

Additionally, to help overcome the distress of a failed IVF cycle, there are numerous natural fertility consultants and coaches who can offer emotional support. For many people experiencing the trauma, the learning of new stress-reduction techniques, as part of a programme designed to bring positive balance also speeds the recovery time and prepares people for a better result later down the track

Although undergoing an IVF cycle can be a very stressful experience, planning ahead and having coping strategies in place, can give a much greater sense of control. When going into the next IVF cycle or stage of the fertility journey, feeling calm and prepared not only makes the treatment more bearable but may well increase the chance of success.

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Fertility 360

Do This ONE Thing to Improve Your Fertility Immediately

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Do This ONE Thing to Improve Your Fertility Immediately

Why is Earth the only planet in our solar system that supports life forms?

Quite simply…water.  No other planet has it.

Drinking water is essential for optimal health.  And you probably think you get plenty of fluids every day.

Yet, up to 75 percent of Americans may be in a chronic state of dehydration, according to research.

Many people understand the importance of drinking enough water but they don’t overcome the perceived inconvenience to make it part of their routine.

The problem is that allowing yourself to become dehydrated causes more inconvenience because it can be a significant contributing factor to your fertility issues.  Something as simple as drinking enough water can be the turning point for you.

Staying hydrated is critical when trying to get pregnant.  You can survive weeks without food. But as little as a few hours without water.  For example, a child left in a hot car or an athlete exercising hard in hot weather can dehydrate, overheat and die in a period of a few hours.

50-70% of your body weight is water.  Your blood is 85% water, your muscles 80%, your brain 75% and even your bones are 25% water, which indicates how important water is for your health.

Water keeps all of your organs and cells functioning properly including the reproductive cells (egg, sperm) and reproductive organs (brain, ovaries, uterus, testes, thyroid).  It also naturally flushes out toxins in the body.

For men, semen production and semen volume can be reduced by not drinking enough water.   If semen is thicker due to dehydration, sperm may have trouble swimming.

For the fetus, staying hydrated is critical for fetal development.  Water helps carry nutrients to the placenta and is an important part of all aspects of development from the time of fertilization. Without water, a developing baby cannot survive, increasing the risk of miscarriage.

For women, dehydration can affect…

  • …which leads to dehydration interfering with or preventing ovulation
  • The cervical mucus, which is important in transporting the sperm to the fallopian tubes for egg fertilization.  Having little to no cervical mucus can be an indication that you’re dehydrated. You should see 2-3 days of egg white, stretchy cervical mucus around ovulation.  Without enough water, the cervical mucus that balances vaginal pH also becomes too acidic, harming the sperm.
  • Implantation –  Water is necessary for cell division and metabolism. The cells of the uterine wall must be healthy for the embryo to implant.

 

How much water to drink?

Because people are busy throughout the day, using thirst as a guide is unreliable.

A general rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces of water.

But more accurately, use your urine as a guide.

The color should be pale yellow like lemonade.  If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are probably not drinking enough water.  If it is colorless, you are drinking too much water which can cause salts & other electrolytes in your body to become too diluted.

A healthy person urinates on average about 7-8 times a day.  If you haven’t urinated in many hours, that’s an indication that you’re not drinking enough.  Time your water intake so that needing to go to the bathroom doesn’t cause you to wake up at night.

Make sure you start your day with a large glass of water to rehydrate.  You breathe out a small amount of water every time you exhale as you’re sleeping.  If you sweat at night, you’re also losing water.

Water bottles

Storing your water in the appropriate water containers is important.  Glass and stainless steel water containers are best.

DO NOT USE plastic bottles!  Even if they’re BPA-free.

BPA (bisphenol-A) mimics estrogen, and therefore can have estrogenic effects in the body causing infertility including low sperm quality.  BPA increases aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which could lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.

Plastics, including BPA-free materials, leach chemicals that act like estrogen in our bodies.  Conditions that are known to release these harmful chemicals are heat, putting them in a microwave or dishwasher, or leaving a plastic water bottle in a hot car.  Microwaving the containers or placing hot liquids or food into them releases BPA 55 times more rapidly! But even normal contact with food or water was enough for these chemicals to leach into the food and the water because they are unstable.  Some of the chemicals that are in the BPA-free plastics actually have been found to have greater estrogenic activity than BPA itself.

Water quality

Many people rely on drinking bottled water regularly.  The problem is that you don’t know how long they’ve been in the plastic bottle and what conditions they have been stored in.

Instead, purify your tap water using the best water filtration system you can afford, preferably one with reverse osmosis (RO).

Unfortunately, an effective water filtration system also removes beneficial minerals (magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese).  Because RO water doesn’t have enough minerals, when it is consumed, it also leaches minerals from the body and your food if you cook with RO water. It’s because water wants to bind to everything, and it will take the minerals where it can — like from your body or your food.  This means that the minerals in food and vitamins are being urinated away.

Less minerals consumed plus more minerals being excreted equals serious negative side effects and big health problems, including fertility issues.

A simple solution is to add trace minerals to filtered water.

Here are some easy tips to ensure you’re drinking enough water

  • Have a bottle with you constantly and make it a habit to take a sip whenever you have down time.
  • Use an app to track your water intake.>
  • Set recurring water break reminders on your phone.
  • Buy a bottle with pre-marked timed intervals. You can also make your own stickers to add to your favorite clear bottle.  All you have to do is come up with your own timed drinking goals and write the times on the bottle.

Optimal fertility starts with the basics – water being the most critical ingredient to life.  Make it a daily habit to drink enough for your reproductive needs.

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Lifestyle

Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations

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Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations

Hi future mama,

We are coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. and though many of you are tuning in from all over the world and may not be celebrating this holiday; it’s still a good time to take stock of the things we are thankful for.

Unfortunately it’s our innate human survival response to focus on what’s going wrong versus what’s going right. The fight-or-flight response in our brains want to make sure we stay alive and so it is on heightened alert when we worry about the magical, “what if?”

What if it’s too late?
What if there’s something wrong with me?
What if we don’t have enough money?
What if I can’t heal my …. ?
What if IVF doesn’t work?
What if I can’t “figure it out?”

If you’ve been on this journey for any length of time, I’m sure you’re not a stranger to some of these thoughts. It sucks because they’re involuntary. Obviously we don’t WANT to think them, but we do.

Oddly enough if we worry it feels like we are doing something active; but of course from a Law of Attraction perspective, worrying only brings a match to more worrying. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole of worry and project our deepest fears into a future that hasn’t happened yet.

We aren’t really taught to focus on things going right. It feels irresponsible to the fight-or-flight part of the brain because- what if something falls through the cracks and we miss our chance? Or we just plain forget that there are things in our lives that ARE going right, because we are so consumed with the fear of ‘what if’.

The problem is that we can be looped in a cycle of fear and it can be really hard to pull yourself out of it. The more we try to force our way out of the loop, the more forcing it brings- and we can’t get out of it.

What does this mean for our bodies from a physiological perspective?

Thanks to the Law of Psychophysical Response, every positive thought creates a positive physical/chemical reaction in the body, and every negative thought creates a negative physical/chemical response in the body. So every time we replay a fear or past trauma, the body can’t tell if the trauma is happening in real time or is just being replayed mentally so the body responds as if it’s happening now. This keeps our fight or flight switch on because the brain perceives danger, and if the switch is on, the uterus is off. Not only is it not good for your mental state to keep replaying these fears and traumas, but it’s literally affecting your body too. This is not for you to go crazy being fearful that every thought you think is messing up your chances, it’s to bring awareness to your thoughts- awareness that despite what it feels like there is choice in what you think and what you become a match to. So just as with every negative thought, there’s a negative reaction in the body; so too with every positive thought there’s a positive reaction in the body. So your power is in choosing thoughts that feel better and being compassionate with your brain as it is rewired to think this way. It’s going to take time for it to be consistent, and we can’t go from gloom and doom to euphoria because we aren’t an energetic match to that.

A good way to begin to turn the tide and become more of a vibrational match to the energy and outcome you want is to establish some sort of gratitude practice.

Now let me be clear– being grateful for what IS going right now, is by no means a resignation that this is your life forever, that you don’t get to have your dream and you’re just going to have to deal with the scraps you feel life has given you.

On the contrary!

We cannot be in gratitude and fear at the same time. The energetic vibrations are too far apart. So being in gratitude at least momentarily lets us spend some time away from fear and feeling more peaceful.

Many of us think, “I’ll be so grateful when I get pregnant.” It sounds like a positive thought on the surface, but remember the universe doesn’t care what you’re saying– it’s hearing the energy that you’re putting out. So how that statement actually reads energetically is, “I’m not okay and I can’t be grateful until I’m pregnant, and I’m not pregnant so I can’t be grateful.”

When we are truly in the energy of gratitude for what is going right, we become an energetic match to being more grateful for more things going right. And truly, more things will start to go right- hence more gratitude!

When we are so consumed with Mission Baby, it’s hard to feel like anything is going right, but SO much is! From the epic, to the mundane, we all have things in our every day lives to be grateful for like:

  • supportive spouse
  • still getting a cycle
  • have a place to live
  • ate today
  • supportive family
  • have a job
  • it was nice out today

It’s so important for us to direct energy and awareness to what is going right so that we literally become a match to receiving more of it. Focusing on what you DON’T have, brings more of a match to you not having it. Focus on what you DO have and watch things change.

So what kind of gratitude practice are we talking about here?

    1. A gratitude journal. Get a cool looking journal that speaks to you (mine is leather with a Celtic tree of life embossed on it). Have it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. Each day write three things you’re grateful for/ or that went right today. It’s okay to have the same things on the list for several days, but really dig deep to some of the little or forgotten reasons. We all have so many. Commit to doing it for at least a month (preferably three months). Daily attention to gratitude and acknowledging support from the universe makes you a match to receiving more of it.
    2. If your spouse/partner is open to it, have a peak & valley discussion every night over dinner of before you go to bed. The valley is where you let your brain vent the thing that upsets you, and then the peak is the high point of your day. What happened that made you feel good today. It’s okay to start with things like – it was nice outside today, someone gave me their seat on the subway, I found a parking spot right away, a stranger complimented me, I had a really good sandwich for lunch, etc. Sometimes we have to start here first. That’s okay. The important thing is that we remind our brains that there are things going right all around us. Sometimes it helps our accountability to do this with our partner. If they’re not open, find a friend who you can text your peak and valley to- and maybe they’ll join you.
    3. A mini gratitude meditation. This is much simpler than it sounds and there’s no wrong way to do it. For example, you may want to sit with your eyes closed burning some sage or listen to soothing music. Take a few deep breaths, put one hand on your heart and begin to visualise one thing you’re grateful for. Deep inhale as you think of the thing you’re grateful for, and exhale as you say in out loud. Say each thing three times. Then sit in the feeling of gratitude (versus thinking gratitude), thank whatever your higher power is, and you’re done. This is something that can be done every day and doesn’t take more than five minutes but can be instrumental in shifting your energy.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it and even if it’s not that holiday where you are in the world, take some time to sit in gratitude for the abundance and blessings you do have. There are so many. It’s a necessary step to move forward. Lots of love!

A’ndrea is a Reiki Master and Holistic Fertility Specialist and more information can be found on her website fusionfertility.com

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Fertility 360

Rainbow Babies: Tips To Move Through The Joys, Fears And Tears Of Pregnancy After Loss

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Rainbow Babies

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Everyone around you is excited except, perhaps, for you. Last time this happened and/or the time before that and/or the time before that, the pregnancy didn’t continue. You may have had a miscarriage, a stillbirth or a neonatal loss. You may have felt isolation, grief, anger.

In fact, you may have thought this pregnancy would resolve these feelings when, in fact, you’ve been noticing lately that they’re all still lurking in the background. To make matters worse, you may now be feeling petrified you’ll lose this baby too. Worry, fear and uncertainty are very commonly felt by pregnant people who’ve experienced a loss.

Here are some suggestions to help you move through the challenges and enjoy pregnancy again.

1) It was not your fault
Whatever happened last time, it was not your fault. Not all pregnancies are perfect. Not all births end up in live babies. You did your best. Shitty things happen. It was not your fault.

2) Choose the right health care provider
It’s normal to be emotionally vulnerable. It’s normal to feel anxiety. It’s normal to want a million extra appointments but then simultaneously feel like that high after your fourth ultrasound was too short-lived. It’s also normal to be happy.

Research suggests that pregnant people following a loss do better with care providers that respect their unique experiences. Most often, this can be found in a care provider that provides strong continuity. For some this is someone they’ve worked with in a previous pregnancy. Others prefer to start afresh. Good, consistent professional support that honours your individual experiences is not only important for your personal wellbeing but it also improves pregnancy outcomes.

3) Ask for what you need
After a loss, many people find the need for more personalised care to support them through their pregnancy and birth. If you think you need a more frequent schedule of visits for your own wellbeing, ask. If you want to know how to get reassurance in the middle of the night, ask. If you need them to start the appointment with a fetal heart rate check, ask. If you want an additional ultrasound for reassurance, ask. Take an active role in planning your pregnancy and birth. If you’re not finding your care providers responsive, ask to change to someone else. Research suggests that feeling a sense of control in your journey can help you enjoy your pregnancy again.

4) Build your community
After experiencing loss, it’s not uncommon to delay emotional involvement in a subsequent pregnancy and that’s okay. This is your pregnancy and your baby. You get to decide when you announce your pregnancy to the world. You get to decide how you feel about your baby. However, sometimes this valuable protective mechanism also deprives us of seeking necessary support. Many woman do not get adequate emotional and psychological support to deal with their feelings.

While you may be turning to your partner, he or she may also be processing the pregnancy differently, particularly at triggering times, for they are on their own journey of isolation, grief, anger. Bring those into your community who will be there for you when things are tough. Ask your care provider to connect you with someone who’s experienced loss. Consider seeing if there are any support groups in your area for folks who’ve had similar experiences to your own. Research suggests group support helps diminish feelings of isolation and allows for stronger relationships between partners moving forward.

5) Prepare for your rainbow baby
The vast majority of people who’ve experienced losses do go on to have healthy babies. We call them rainbow babies. For, they are the beautiful babies we welcome into the world after the storm that is loss. Just think: you’re pregnant with your rainbow baby! Find ways for you and your support people to celebrate milestones, even when you’re feeling fears to the contrary. Find ways to do the things that normalise, even if a bit of adaptation is necessary.

If you think you’d feel isolated attending a regular childbirth education class, sign up for a private one instead. Read positive books about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Do the silly things you always imagined you’d do. Be determined to maintain hope: your rainbow baby is on the horizon!

If you want to find more support you can contact Rishma via her website www.rishmawalji.com

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