and eliza has started a thread on relaxation and ttc and pregnancy on glow yesterday (presumably before she saw this report).
this is all very interesting, because the last few days i've been thinking about something i found a little while ago. the item is here but if you get wound up by such gems as 'Do talk positively to yourself. Your body believes every word you say. If you’re moaning and saying that you’ll never get pregnant, you won’t.', then please don't click that link (i cannot take responsibility for pc monitors broken by people who ignored that advice and ended up smashing their computer screen, ok??). instead i'll post the part that i've been thinking about.....
Harvard psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D. recently completed the first five-year study on the effects of stress and depression on fertility at the Mind/Body Medical Institute, a division of the Harvard Medical School. Her subjects were women who had been infertile for up to three years, with depression levels as high as those of terminally ill patients. They were given a ten-week course comprised of support groups, with lessons in meditation, self-nurturance, exercise and nutrition. Their depression levels were brought into the normal range and within six months, nearly HALF were pregnant!
now, isn't that of more practical use than such sentiments as 'Don't anticipate trouble. It can become self-fulfilling. The value of a positive mindset cannot be overstated. Envision yourselves as parents and stay focused on that picture. It will reassure and sustain you.' (again from the same page... i don't know how such useful information and such immensely annoying phrases can coexist!)
i think i was reminded of this because the study was also mentioned in page 6 of this article. it's also worth clicking to this page of the same article, which states 'In a small study of 97 Boston IVF patients younger than 40, women who had participated in 5 to 10 mind/body sessions were 160 percent more likely to get pregnant after a single IVF cycle. And more than two thirds of women with a clinical diagnosis of depression got pregnant after these sessions, whereas none of the depressed women in the control group conceived.'.
see, telling people to 'relax and it'll happen!!!!' is not helpful. telling people that support groups, meditation, exercise, counselling and nutrition advice might increase their chances of conceiving, and will aid their mental health anyway so that they are more able to cope even if they do not fall pregnant, is far more useful. what does 'relax' mean anyway? 'trying to relax' is an oxymoron, and telling people to relax is not only counterproductive but also blames those having difficulty conceiving, or those post-babyloss, for the stress and anxiety and depression that are an absolutely normal response to the circumstances they find themselves in through no fault of their own.
i'm not saying that i think meditation, exercise and eating right are some magic cure for infertility. just in case anyone thought that was what i meant. if you've been diagnosed with a condition that means you're not going to conceive then these things aren't magically going to cure you. but knowing that these things, plus proper support from medical professionals and friends and family, might actually improve success rates for the interventions that exist? that's useful.
my point is that last year i went to some sessions at work about countering stress levels. at these sessions we were given cds with guided meditation sessions. we were given hints and tips on how to cope with stressful situations. we were given little yellow stretchy rub.ber people to remind us not to let ourselves get stretched too thin.
and the last few days i've been doing the relaxation cd again daily.
and i might rejig our budget and find some money to join a nearby gym, with a lovely pool, which might make me more likely to go swimming.
and maybe if i do those things i'll manage to make myself go to bed earlier, instead of sitting up blogging til after midnight.
and maybe then i'll have the energy to make myself proper food.
and maybe (just maybe) i'll lose some weight, and get closer to the weight i was when i got pregnant before.
if i can do all those things?
maybe it will happen again.
maybe i'll get pregnant again.
but even if i don't, at least trying all those things has to be a better way of living than letting myself get tossed around by stress and depression, hasn't it? it might not cure them, and it might not make me get pregnant, but at least i'll be in better health and less likely to stay on the antidepressants for ever, no?
(not that there's anything wrong with staying on ADs forever. but because my depression is reactive i hope that i won't need to. but if i do? no biggie. i'd just rather not.)