I have not talked about fertility for a while because life happens. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so I made a decision to put trying for a baby on hold. I am 39 and would love to have another child, so why would I put my life on hold?
Here are my thoughts
If you do not have your MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT in a positive place, falling pregnant is going to be hard. I already know I have fertility issues given my age and low supply of eggs, there is no way I am going to get pregnant if I am stressed.
The Impact of Stress on the Body
Since biblical times it has been thought that stress hurts fertility (1). But does stress actually impact fertility? In 2004 a study interviewed 122 women before their first infertility appointment, and 40% were diagnosed with a mental disorder (e.g., depression, anxiety) (2).
Another study included 225 women, 134 categorized as infertile and 91 fertile, concluded that showing signs of depression and anxiety were more prominent in infertile women than fertile women (3).
You could draw a conclusion from the studies that may be infertility causes us, women, to become depressed, and lord knows anxiety during the two-week wait!
These women could have already been struggling with mental health issues, or there could be underlying health issues, such as thyroid problems. As I have written in my thyroid articles, depression and anxiety are symptoms when someone has thyroid disease. If you have a good fertility doctor, they would have ensured your thyroid levels were optimal.
Another conclusion we dive into is that the medications given to us by our fertility doctors cause some of these symptoms (1). While trying to conceive, I have tried letrozole, progesterone, and Clomid. I definitely noticed feeling more down/depressed while taking Clomid.
One way you can track emotions and feelings is by keeping a journal. Not only could medication be affecting your body, but it could be something you are eating.
If you have followed my blog, you know that I have Hashimoto’s. To learn more about Hashimoto’s and thyroid disease, check out the articles under Thyroid Health.
It is recommended that if you are diagnosed with thyroid problems changing your diet can put the disease into remission. Thyroid disease never goes away, but with proper nutrition and potentially medication, you can resolve symptoms.
I removed gluten and dairy from my diet for five months and noticed a burst of energy. I then tried to add gluten and immediately felt fatigued and like I had something blocking my throat.
Journaling this information is really helpful since we tend to eat many different foods throughout the day.
But let’s face it at the end of the day, worrying about everything to avoid and what you need to do for creating the best environment for a baby can be stressful in itself.
Therefore, if you already have stress in your life, look for stress-reducing strategies, such as:
- Taking on fewer responsibilities at work
- Get at least eight hours of sleep
- Practice Yoga
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Remove negative people and situations
- Practice positivity! Check out my article Thinking Positive In Negative Times and get a copy of my Free Positivity Journal
Coming back to why I stopped focusing on my fertility. Well, my mom is sick and she needed me to take her to chemotherapy and doctor appointments. She was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in January 2020.
I knew the situation was already stressful because when you hear the C-word, you never know what the future holds. I know that Pancreatic Cancer has a 10% survival rate over 5 years. I never wanted to look back at this time and feel I was not there to support her. My mom is a fighter, and she would have done the same for me.
Although I am 39 and have limited time, I feel trying to continue fertility treatments would have been a waste of time due to the stress. Your body knows when you are in a stressful situation and will probably not make a baby if it is trying to fight stress.
As you can read from the studies, it appears stress does impact fertility outcomes on some level. It is okay to take time to deal with the stress and then come back to continue your story. I know my story is not over and as of May, we started trying again.
I am currently taking Clomid, evening primrose oil, and estradiol. I am in my two-week wait to see if we conceived this cycle. Even if we do not, I know my mind, body, and spirit are in a much better place to do some baby-making!
Remember it is okay to take a break and come back to trying to conceive. Remind yourself by saying – “And That’s Okay”
Have you put your fertility on hold? Let me know why and any helpful tips you have for others.
This information is provided to help those also struggling with infertility. This is in no way to be taken as medical advice, but information to be discussed with your doctor and see if they would be right for your specific situation. Always seek medical advice before trying something new for your pre-pregnancy health.
1 – Rooney, K. L., & Domar, A. D. (2018, March). The relationship between stress and infertility. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016043/
2 – Chen TH., Chang SP., Tsai CF., Juang KD. Prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in an assisted reproductive technique clinic. Hum Reprod. 2004;19(10):2313–2318.
3 – Lakatos E., Szigeti JF., Ujma PP., Sexty R., Balog P. Anxiety and depression among infertile women: a cross-sectional survey from Hungary. BMC Womens Health. 2017;17(1):48.