Keeping on top of stress and anxiety
As we head into Spring, coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to challenge us all in ways we could never have imagined at the start of this year. Whether you have been trying to conceive, have had to pause IVF treatment or are now pregnant, you may well be experiencing an incredible mix of emotions, stress and anxiety.
As news stories focus on the issues the rest of the country is facing, it can be easy to be made to feel that what you are going through is somehow less important, something you need to just learn to cope with. Whilst each and every person experiencing this is unique, it’s also important to remember that you are in a fantastically supportive fertility community that you can turn to for help and support. So, do take the time to acknowledge and come to terms with how this is affecting you personally, and as a couple. Talk it through with your partner, a supportive friend or family member, or write down how you are feeling in a diary or journal. But then do consider reaching out to the wider fertility community and support groups.
Where to turn to for support
With so many people having an opinion, it’s really important that you know you can turn to trusted sources of support and information. These would include:
- The Fertility Network UK provide information, advice, support and understanding. They have a support line, as well as online support groups across the UK. They also provide regular news updates
- The British Infertility Counselling Association are a professional infertility counselling association and can provide details of a huge network of fertility counsellors across the UK
- Fertility clinics. If you have had your IVF treatment postponed, the fertility clinic that has been providing your care will be a valuable source of information, so do stay in touch with them, follow their social media and subscribe to their newsletters. They will provide important updates on what’s happening with IVF programs, as well as providing contacts for you to get further support if you need it
Self-care & taking time out to switch off
Whilst you have been going through your journey to start a family you will have understood the importance of self-care and making sure you are looking after both your physical and mental wellbeing. This is just as important now, so try your best to keep up those good habits of getting plenty of exercise, eating well and taking your folic acid supplements, as well as any other nutrients you feel might be lacking in your diet.
If you are pregnant, the NHS is a great place to turn to for exercise ideas: NHS UK – Exercise in pregnancy. Do continue with all of your scheduled antenatal appointments even if some are ‘virtual’ during this lockdown period and contact your midwife if you have any concerns at all about any aspects of your pregnancy. As with any exercise program, do start with what is comfortable for you before attempting anything that’s too strenuous, and get further advice if you are not sure.
With the relentless information updates about everything to do with the coronavirus, it’s also important to learn to switch off. If you find it hard to relax your mind, NHS information about mindfulness is a great place to start: NHS UK - Mindfulness.
Social distancing is now so important during these challenging times, and the online community has become a great source of information and inspiration. Take some time out to rid your social media of negative influencers and replace them with a bit of positivity and that ‘feel-good’ factor.
References1. Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists – Information for pregnant women and their families [Online content accessed 21.04.2020] https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/#antenatal