COVID-19 & INFERTILITY - "RING ANY BELLS?"
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 during the week and the rising sense of panic that ensued I couldn’t help but notice certain similarities between COVID-19 and infertility…
· We don’t know how long it is going to last
· Very little control over what is happening or what is going to happen next
· Panic Stations – have to do/get/find out everything NOW
· Social isolation
· No known cure as yet
· Difficulty coping
· Difficulty managing thoughts
· Difficulty managing behaviours
· Existential thoughts such as “what if we don’t get through this, is it the end?....what if we don’t have a baby, what is the point of my life, what is it all about”?
· This crisis is unprecedented
· The foundations upon which we have built our lives are rocked.
Maybe for the first time ever on a global scale, if a large section of the general population were to take the time to equate how their feelings of being overwhelmed, feeling out of control, feeling worried and anxious has left their world feeling very shaky…
...to those very same feelings that someone who has struggled to conceive for a long time experiences on a daily basis, then they would have an insight into what it is like to live in the world of infertility.
When you are hit with 2 difficult situations, one of having difficulty in conceiving and the other of trying coping with the COVID 19 crisis, here are some ways you can improve your wellbeing at this difficult time....
· Limit your exposure to social media.
· Listen to a reputable source of news with regard to COVID 19 and also limit your time listening to the news.
· You may not be able to go out as much and do the things you like to do. Use this time to think about what you can do with more time on your hands - equate this to the two week wait – “So this is at it may be like during my two week wait, how can I occupy myself to reduce my worry”.
· Check trustworthy bodies for the up to date information with regard to COVID-19 and who rely on the World Health Organisation as their source. The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – the UK’s government regulator responsible for ensuring tha
t fertility clinics comply with UK law) are monitoring the current status of the Coronavirus outbreak and have regular updates on their website. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) also has information on their website.
· Clinics may postpone or cancel your upcoming IVF treatments or you may have difficulty getting to your clinic if it is abroad. This will be devastating for you if it happens. It is ok to feel shattered and at a loss to know what to do next. Know that your treatment will happen in the future, so maintain your good work.
Control what is within your control such as :-
· Exercise – it boosts your endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.
· Get outside and some fresh air. Notice the world around you.
· Catch up on your sleep and eat well.
· Follow the WHO guidelines on how to keep safe.
· Help others, now is a great time to offer help in your community to others who may be struggling, especially older people. This can help to shift the focus away from your own situation for a while and help you feel good in the process.
· and don’t forget to …………..BREATHE