“Fertility Treatments on Hold? Here’s What to Do” | myMindBodyBaby
If you have ever struggled with infertility and sought help from a clinic, you know all too well what the waiting game can do to a person. Whether it be the infamous two-week wait, or the wait for lab results after a blood draw, or the wait for hormone levels to stabilize… I could go on and on. For some, the wait is a break from the grind – much needed time away from appointments, needles, and uncomfortable tests. For others, it is pure agony – it’s the feeling you are falling behind, wasting time, or that uncontrollable mental downward swirl you feel like you are falling into and just may not be able to get out of.
Waiting is HARD
Especially when it’s for something like that baby you have been dreaming of.
The extra-long waits during infertility can be particularly challenging because there is no real clear timeline. Waiting for government IVF funding (which in some places can be years), waiting to save up enough for treatment (which can be extremely costly) or even waiting for your clinic to reopen due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic gives those doing the waiting a lot of extra time to wonder “now what?”, and “what else can I do in the meantime?”.
So because this question comes up so often, we wanted to provide you with some actionable steps to help you feel like you have some control over your situation during any fertility-related waiting period. So when it’s GO time, your body will be properly prepped and supported and all you will need to worry about is your treatment protocol.
Making the most of waiting can help you to feel more in control of your situation. Plus, the hope is when the waiting is over, the efforts you have made will propel you further than if you hadn’t spent your time wisely.
Try something new
We get lots of notes about women wanting to try new recipes but don’t due to lack of time. Well as we all know, fertility treatment takes up A LOT of time. So use this time to try and perfect a few new (healthy) dishes that you can add to your rotation. Consider ingredients like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower which are loaded with Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) – a compound that helps to metabolize excess estrogens. And, load up on progesterone loving foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocado! FYI did you know that excess estrogen can cause low progesterone? Use food as your medicine to help heal your body and get it ready for when treatment starts up again.
And I don’t mean in the gym. Use this time to batch prepare bulk meals for your freezer – your future self will thank you. Then, when treatments resume, you can focus on them knowing your food situation is well taken care of. Wondering what to make? We’ve got you covered!
Plan it out
I don’t know about you but I love a good plan. In fact, Lyndsey and I are both A-type list-makers. We highly recommend using the time you have now to put together a meal plan for yourself – this way you have something to follow once it gets busy again. Not sure what should go on your fertility-friendly meal plan? We’ve got you covered!
Detox your home
If this isn’t at the top of your list of must-do’s, then I highly recommend that it is. When it comes to the causes of infertility, hormonal imbalance is front and center as one of the main culprits. The endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many common household products can impact fertility. In fact, “Effects on these systems can lead to obesity, infertility or reduced fertility…” For more info on how to spot these hormonal hellions and what to do about it, check out this article.
For some, exercise is a go-to coping tool (if this is you – keep it up!). For others – fitting in a workout is a dreaded activity – maybe even daunting. We know that the recommendations state 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, spread over at least three days. If you’re starting out at zero this goal can seem very intimidating. Here are some tips to help inject a little more movement into your life.
You don’t need to go from 0 to 100% overnight. Try 10 minutes (the minimum recommended amount for benefits) – at a time. Any amount of exercise you can fit in will be beneficial! What do 10 minutes look like?
- Park farther away from your office – 5 extra minutes to and from your car = 10 minutes of extra walking!
- take the stairs throughout the day
- go for a quick 10-minute walk before or after dinner
- try a simple, no-equipment workout for the duration of three of your favorite songs. Most songs are just over three minutes – and if you like the tunes, you’ll be more motivated to move! Give this 10-minute one a try!
Think beyond burpees
Exercise doesn’t have to mean you are stuck on a treadmill, or mindlessly lifting weights. Plus – we don’t want lack of gym access to hinder you! Use activities you actually like as exercise.
- Like to garden? Get outside! Vigorously rake leaves or mow the lawn. We bet your heart will start pumping!
- Walk with a friend. Instead of grabbing coffee with a friend (once social distancing is over!) how about meeting up for a walk?
- Explore the great outdoors. Most of us have areas around our homes we haven’t explored. A park we haven’t been to. A walking trail we mean to check out. A local hiking spot everyone raves about. Get out there and check it out!
- Go dancing! Dancing is a GREAT form of exercise – and if you’re reading this while still stuck in COVID-19 social isolation, throw on your favorite dance music in the house – and dance like no one is watching!
Start small, but set goals for yourself to help keep you accountable. Mark on the calendar the ways you’ve fit in exercise. Use your smartwatch – if you have one – to track your activity. Add a reminder to your phone for 10 minutes at a certain time each day. And then slowly add the minutes on. Maybe it’s 10 minutes a day your first week, then 12 minutes your second. You get the idea!
We have some great at-home, no equipment full-length videos to get you started. Try either our HIIT Happy workout or our Yoga Flow for Positivity.
If you want a full workout schedule, complete with exercise videos check out our Cycle Monitoring & Treatment Prep Fitness & Nutrition guide here.
Waiting for something to happen (like being a mother) can feel, at times, relentless – relentless “what ifs”, relentless appointments, and a relentless deep ache that never goes away. So, when you need to pause your dream for whatever reason, it can be VERY tough. To get through your particular wait we’ve compiled a list of coping strategies for you to try out.
Join an online support group
There are many that are dedicated to infertility and connecting with others who have similar challenges could be cathartic. Here is ours!
Stop the scrolling
For me this one is key. While I like knowing what others are up to, and keeping up to date on world events, I can also be triggered by my newsfeed. If this is you, consider setting a daily limit on how much you are online.
It’s common and normal to have negative thoughts from time to time. When struggling with infertility, you might find you have more of these. Consider finding activities that help you distract yourself when negative thoughts pop into your head. For me, this is a good walk with my dog, reading and since I’m a reality TV junkie, a good episode of The Bachelorette…shameful I know!
This quote from Christina Oberon, author of Hope Strong has a lot of really great nuggets. “It’s time to revitalize, energize, and reconnect with life. Take some time out for yourself. Pamper your tired body, nourish it with healthy food, indulge in a good book–escape. Escaping once in a while can be a healthy way to continue walking the infertility journey. Escapism can be the sustenance you need to keep going and achieve results. Feel the renewed energies of hope, and let it swell inside you. Invite yourself to put on your armor and fight the great battle.”
What IS in your control?
This might be a good time to take stock of what things you DO have power over. These might include your thoughts, what you eat, and how you move. And while for some this is little comfort – the research shows that what you eat, think and how you move DOES impact your health in many ways. This includes hormones – a pivotal aspect of conception. And this is why we created our Cycle Monitoring & Treatment Prep Fitness & Nutrition Guide. It provides support as you prepare for your treatment through detailed nutritional guidance, full meal plans packed with delicious, easy-to-make recipes, a workout schedule with full-length videos, and mental well-being support.
This can be extremely cathartic for some, while also a great source of distraction. Can you lend your time to an organization that you feel passionate about? What about starting a support group for others who are going through something similar? Can you use your training to help educate others? And if you believe in good karma, then helping others is sure to put you in the good books!
Wrapping it up
Wherever you are in your fertility journey, waiting will inevitably be a part of the process. For some, the wait can be longer and more challenging than expected. To help ease the burden and best prepare you for success, focus on the above 3 key pillars of health – nutrition, fitness, and mental well-being.