Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Helene Zahn-Chilberg, MA, LCMHC, to
bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post is
sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice.
Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a medical professional or health care
provider before beginning any exercise, fitness, diet or nutrition routine.
Many women facing infertility find that an under-active thyroid is at play. Approximately 23.9% of
women with hypothyroid issues experience infertility.1 The frustration of infertility and the
diagnosis process can result in a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, shame and
grief. Here are some coping strategies that I recommend to my patients for working through the
difficulties of infertility.
Being mindful of how you talk to yourself is one of the most fundamental shifts a person can make. The willingness to confront negative thoughts as untrue can be foundational when dealing with any challenging issue. It can also help keep you from internalizing these thoughts as truth. There is undoubtedly a complex array of emotions that individuals experience when facing infertility. Many people describe feelings of sadness, disappointment, anger and loss. When left unchecked and stacked with judgment, these feelings can blossom into blame and shame, which involve what you make those thoughts mean about you.
Facing infertility issues does not mean anything about you as an individual; it is an issue you are facing. Being clear and reminding yourself of this can also be helpful. One tool that can begin transforming negative thoughts is cognitive restructuring, which is learning to identify and dispute irrational and maladaptive thoughts. Common ways that we tend to distort thoughts are magnification, all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, magical thinking and personalization. Engaging in the practice of challenging the validity of your thoughts can create effective changes in thinking
Talk to Others
This recommendation comes with some parameters. It is not helpful to talk to just anyone. I say this because there is quite a lot of misinformation out there that can add to the negative self-talk you may already be battling. I encourage you to have discretion as the sensitivity of this topic makes it a tender one.
Choose people who support you and can let you talk about feelings without adding to your distress. Often their attempt to encourage you will give you lots of other things "to do" that leave you with the feeling that the issue is somehow your fault. Seek information from medical personnel. Don't be afraid to ask for resources that your infertility specialist may be aware of that may be a support for you
Many people facing infertility feel very isolated and alone in their struggle. Don't be afraid to seek support from others who may know this struggle themselves.
Allow yourself the time to give attention to soothing activities that help you relax and create a sense of calm. Whether it is spending time in nature, visiting places you love, starting a meditation or yoga practice or another activity, find things that bring you joy. When you are struggling with infertility, it can feel like your whole life revolves around it. Don't forget that there is more to you than this singular issue. Continuing to care for yourself as a whole being is fundamental. If you have lost awareness of what you enjoy, perhaps this is a time to explore and try a few new activities. This can also be a way to focus attention on positive outlets. There is time for you to choose experiences that are positive, fun and relaxing. Doing this also allows a greater sense of balance in a time where infertility can be consuming
Stay Focused on the Present
Staying focused on the present is a practice. It takes intention to identify when your mind begins to stray to the past or future. When you catch yourself wandering, it can be helpful to choose a thought or action that you have the power to choose at that moment. Choosing a self-care option is a good way to be present in the moment versus perseverating on the past. Self-care provides a sense of control because you get to choose you.
Be Mindful of Your Mental Health
With the complexity of the issue of infertility and all the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental components, please be mindful that the potential impact on your mental health is noteworthy. If you are noticing that you are having a difficult time focusing on and completing everyday tasks, are isolating, are irritable and easily agitated, are having difficulty sleeping, or are experiencing symptoms of depression, please seek additional support. Talk to a health care or mental health provider so you are not letting your mental health fall to the wayside.
In conclusion, be kind to yourself. This is a difficult life experience. Having infertility issues does not mean you will never have the family you desire. It may mean that you’ll need to consider alternative ways of creating your family that stray from your original plan. My hope for you is that you can reach a place of peace with this part of your journey.
REFERENCES: 1. Verma, I., Sood, R., Juneja, S., & Kaur, S. (2012). Prevalence of hypothyroidism in infertile women and evaluation
of response of treatment for hypothyroidism on infertility. International journal of applied & basic medical research, 2(1), 17–19 https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-516X.96795