A fresh start. A new chapter. A chance for change. A new year often prompts us to take a look at how we handle certain things in our lives, and encourages us to improve the things that challenge us most. Infertility, for many, is one of life’s most difficult experiences. The fear, uncertainty, pain, and frustration can make it nearly unbearable, which can lead to negative thinking and a defeatist attitude – neither of which are beneficial.

So, how can you stay positive during such a challenging season of life? Cary L. Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute in New York, New York shares some tips on how to reframe the way you think about your experience, and why it’s so important that you do.

Why the Mind/Body Connection Matters
More and more research is showing just how powerful the mind/body connection really is, and how the way we think can impact the way we feel. Redirecting negative thinking can impact everything from our stress levels to our sleep quality to our moods.

It’s perfectly normal to be upset when the child you’ve longed for doesn’t come as quickly as you hoped. Feelings of despair, anger, and sadness are expected. The key is to feel those negative emotions, and then move past them. Cary L Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute New York has suggestions on ways to reframe some of the thoughts that may pop up along your path to parenthood.

  1. “What’s wrong with me?”
    Flip this to, “What can I do to improve my fertility?”
    Thinking about all of the things that are in your control can go a long way toward making you feel empowered. Look into exercise, nutrition, medication, holistic alternatives, sleep habits, meditation, yoga, etc. Learn everything possible about what can help improve your fertility. It will help you feel more in control, and many wellness practices – yoga for instance – are proven mood boosters that can help keep things like depression at bay.
  2. “I’m never going to get pregnant.”
    Flip this to, “I’m sure I’ll be pregnant soon.”
    It’s tough to see that negative pregnancy test month after month. Convincing yourself you’ll never get pregnant is even tougher. Give yourself some time to be upset, then make the conscious decision that this month wasn’t your month, but next month will be. Before you know it, it’ll be true.
  3. “Maybe I’m just not meant to be a parent.”
    Flip this to, “I’m worthy of being a parent and will be a great mom/dad.”
    When you’ve been struggling with infertility for months, or years, it can be easy to think it’s just not in the cards. That’s only true when you decide it’s true. Keep affirming to yourself that parenthood is in your future and that you’ll be a kickass mom or dad.
  4. “My partner just doesn’t get it.”
    Flip this to, “My partner is trying his/her best to understand how I feel and supports me fully.”
    Infertility is one of the most trying things a couple can face together. It’s frustrating and challenging to be the one with the fertility “issue” and to be the partner who’s trying to understand and provide support. One of the keys to getting through it is communication. Talk. About. Everything.
  5. “It’s never going to work for me.”
    Flip this to, “It didn’t work this time, but next time it will.”
    Many people get their babies with the help of IVF (in vitro fertilization), but only a lucky few get them the first time they try it. It often takes more than one IVF cycle. If you’re on your second, or fifth, IVF cycle don’t give up hope. Stick with the treatment plan you put together with your doctor and stay positive.

It all makes sense, right? The benefits of thinking positively are clear, but changing habits is hard. Go easy on yourself, don’t expect to shift your mindset overnight. At this point, your thought pattern about infertility is pretty well ingrained…be kind to yourself. Each time you catch yourself having a negative thought, try to reframe it with one of the suggestions above. Before you know it you’ll be embracing the power of positive thinking.

Interested in learning more about how positive thinking can impact your fertility journey? Call Cary L. Dicken, MD of Sher Fertility Institute New York at (646) 792-7476 today.