Answer from: Sarah Banks
Many people I speak to through support groups and certainly from my own experience talk about feeling really overwhelmed, especially when they find out that they might need fertility treatment but just overwhelmed with everything going on in their lives. They’re overwhelmed with the worry about whether they’ll get pregnant, worry about how it would impact their life, how it’ll impact on work, a worry of what’s involved in treatment if they don’t know anyone who’s been through it, and they don’t know what the process is. It can be really overwhelming, again that’s normal, and there’s a few tips that you can do to try and help calm some of that overwhelm.
Firstly, if you’re feeling really anxious and getting that feeling in your chest where you’re starting to panic about it and feeling overwhelmed, breathe, take some time out where you sit and calmly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to let it pass so that you can think clearly because once you start getting anxious, your head gets a bit fuzzy, and it’s hard to think and plan how you can get through that overwhelm. Everything becomes a little bit more pressured and more overwhelming so breathe just so that you can start to think clearly. Once that’s passed, sit down and think about everything you’re worried about, everything that’s overwhelmed you and write a list about it. This isn’t about creating a big, long to-do list that’s going to panic you even more. It’s just about saving it all from being in your head and worrying about every little thing and trying to remember it. Write everything down that you’re worried about. What it is that makes you feel overwhelmed? Whether it’s the thought of treatment. How you’ll juggle work around treatment. Should you tell your family. How you’re going to cope with all the things you need to organise. Write everything down because once you’ve got it written down, you can start thinking about how you can plan to deal with those. Once you’ve got things written down, you might not feel so bad anyway.
But once you’ve got your list start thinking about anything you could delegate to your partner or a family member. If you’re trying to organise a big birthday party or a present for somebody, maybe another family member could take that on. If you’re worried about certain parts of treatment, could you write a list of the questions you’ve got and then take that to your next appointment so that you get the answers you need. Then you can stop feeling some of that worry because you’ve then got the answers to what you’re feeling overwhelmed about. is there anything on the list that’s on there that you don’t really need to be doing. Can you cross anything off that you feel you should be doing something, but you don’t need to, and actually, you’d feel better taking it off? So, write a big list, go through it, and create a plan to start dealing with some of those things and who can help you deal with those.
Take control of some of the things that you can do. We feel very out of control when we’re going through fertility treatment, and that can lead to those feelings of overwhelm. So from that list, what can you take control of, whether that’s things like your lifestyle, like eating well, getting plenty of rest, asking questions about treatment? It could be from an emotional side. Is there somebody you could talk to, to help with those feelings of overwhelm, to get you in a better emotional state? So take control of the things you can. Take some time out for self-care; it can feel overwhelming, like you’ve got lots on, that will worsen if you don’t take any time out for yourself. Make sure you plan in the time rather than just waiting for some free time to take time out for yourself. Plan it in, whether that’s half an hour to sit and read a book, whether that is taking an hour out to go and have lunch with a friend, so you’re away from your desk, or going for a walk. Plan time, so you’re getting headspace to think and taking time out.
You could write things down in a journal. Journal about why you’re feeling overwhelmed because working through some of those things might help you realise that some of the things on your list are things you feel you should do, but you don’t need to. Or they’re worries that once you’ve journaled them, you realise you’re a little bit irrational which we all get like. So write down some of the things. Then most importantly, if you’re really struggling, get support. That could be from a fertility counsellor. It could be from a support group or a loved one. Talk to somebody if you’re feeling overwhelmed. It might be that just talking to them helps get some of those worries out, and they can find ways to help you that you haven’t thought of yourself.
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