It’s not surprising to hear that fertility patients are anxious and panicked about COVID-19. Going through treatment is stressful enough, and having to do so during a pandemic can lead to catastrophic thinking… Will having a family ever happen for me? What can I do if my treatment is put on hold? What should I do if I am pregnant now?
To help our patients get through this uncertain time, we’ve put together some things that might help calm anxieties.
While staying at home and sequestering oneself from others is essential to protect one’s physical health, it can lead to increased anxiety, distress and/or depression. Be sure to keep in touch with friends and family through FaceTime, Zoom, emails or other platforms.
Take advantage of the many free classes being offered online, from exercise groups to academic courses. Engage in online group meetings to have virtual girls or guys nights or even dinners together.
Using social media to stay in touch can be enormously helpful, but make sure you use credible and reliable news sources to get information. Limit your intake of the news since too much can trigger negative emotional reactions and even depression.
Try to create a new normal…you and your partner may both be working from home. Too much togetherness can be stressful and cause undo strife. Try establishing some kind of schedule for work, play, exercise, meditation and other self-care. Maybe now is the time to have a spa day at home! Nurture yourself and do things that bring joy, such as taking a walk, cooking, taking a class online, listening to music, creating art and/or journaling. Build in breaks, get some fresh air if possible, and focus on what is good and positive in the world like warm weather and beautiful flowers. Try to find something to laugh about.
This is not the way it was supposed to be. Some people have chosen to put their fertility treatments on hold for the moment. Support at this time is essential. Having an outlet to share concerns about this disappointment is important. You may want to talk about your feelings with a partner or close friend, but remember that they may also be going through their own trauma and anxiety. Reaching out to a therapist who is providing telemedicine at this time allows you to receive support, and vent feelings of anger and frustration. It is therapeutic to share these feelings in a non-judgmental, safe environment.
Don’t be surprised if marital discord arises or worsens. Remember, EVERYONE is stressed right now. Remind yourself to cut each other some slack; try to have empathy for your partner’s feelings as well. You are spending much more time together than usual; creating quiet time and space for each other can help.
Don’t Lose Hope
It may feel as if all the time and money you have spent pursuing fertility treatment will be lost and therefore many will want to stay the course. However, if you are younger than 35 and have good ovarian reserve, taking a break for a few months will not affect your fertility greatly. But for many, it can feel like it’s now or never, and that you’re running out of time. It’s crucial to discuss this with your doctor and find the right path for you. It’s also important to remember that nothing about this pandemic is normal or predictable. We are all in this together and trying to figure out how to manage the best we can. Please take good care of yourself and your family and know that Coastal Fertility is here for you! If you’re interested in speaking to a New Patient Coordinator about your options during this time, please call 843-883-5800.