The day arrived when you felt fully prepared, or as prepared as one can be, to have children. But then the months, even the years, started to go by, with doctor’s consultations, disappointments, and now you are on this roller coaster of emotions called fertility treatment.
Everyone going through this process is most likely dealing with a large amount of emotional baggage, uncertainty and failed attempts, matters which have surely caused anxiety to appear in their lives. There is no miracle solution for this emotional state and we cannot simply snap our fingers and send it back to where it came from. However, we can understand what it is, where it comes from and what the guidelines are to reducing it to a reasonable level.
Where anxiety comes from
Although the reason we are here today is to learn how to overcome anxiety, we must understand that it is a very useful survival system that human beings have had since our origins: a time when humans lived among nature and had to fight to hunt for food, and to not be hunted by the rest of the animals. This is a system which triggers three possible responses in the face of danger: fight, flight or freeze.
What is anxiety?
Thousands of years have gone by and physical dangers have been replaced by other more psychological ones. Anxiety is the result of prolonged stress in which this mechanism, which is meant to provide us with energy in specific situations, establishes itself as the normal system of functioning.
How to reduce anxiety
We have been taught that there are positive emotions, such as happiness, love and tranquillity, and negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear and guilt. This is why we tend to supress the emotions in the latter group by not expressing them, or even forcing ourselves to not feel them. However, supressing our emotions also leads to anxiety, as a ‘pressure cooker’ effect is produced which can explode when it reaches its limit.
There is a part of our minds which loves to create horror, drama and romantic films, constantly causing us to travel to the past or plan the future, but rarely making us focus on the here and now which is really what we are living and what helps us to recharge our batteries.
This is most likely not what you feel like doing right now, but exercise will be quite helpful as the body has been designed to move, and a lack of movement leads to stress and muscle tension. Moving helps us to eliminate a hormone called cortisol, popularly known as the stress hormone. This is because exercising helps to release endorphins – the body’s natural pain killer – in the brain. You don’t have to do particularly vigorous exercise, you just need to get moving.
Laughing will also help our brain chemistry. Any chance you have to laugh — whether it be going to see your favourite comedian, signing up for laughter therapy or watching a sitcom, — should be taken, as laughter will help to fight off anxiety.
Care for yourself
We must focus on caring for and pampering ourselves because we deserve it. It is precisely because we are in a painful situation that we need to do things to make ourselves feel good. We can do things such as treating ourselves to a special gift or taking a nice warm bath.
We’re not just referring to sexual relations which, with all they imply, may not be what you feel like doing most right now. We are simply referring to caressing and being caressed. Giving or receiving affection, whether it be from your partner, siblings, parents or close friends, will greatly help you to reduce your anxiety and enjoy the process of becoming a mother.