Everyone’s journey to starting a family looks and feels different, especially when you are struggling with infertility. My personal fertility journey had many highs, lows, and bumps along the way. As both a dietitian and a woman who walked through the struggles of getting pregnant, there are emotional waves that we all ride out. Let’s take a look at ways to be kind to you while walking through the fertility journey and how to focus on fertility self care along the way.
Be kind to you
With every round of fertility treatments our body and mental health are challenged. From weight gain to emotional breakdowns, the road to fertility can feel more like a rollercoaster or ferris wheel that keeps repeating the same path. At times it’s frustrating and heartbreaking. These are the times it’s even more critical to remember and practice kindness to yourself.
Spiral Up is a fabulous phrase Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN coined in her book, Body Kindness (Workman 2017). When you feel yourself headed towards a downward spiral, Rebecca’s book will guide you to finding new ways to Spiral Up. The three pillars of her book are:
Love…Make choices from a place of love
Connect…Check in with your body and respond to your needs
Care…Fully commit to your self-care
Body Kindness reads like a loving guide to health and wellness. Both health and wellness exhibit themselves differently for everyone walking through the fertility journey.
“It’s not about your weight. Or your pants size. It’s not about how many calories you burn. Or how hard you work to avoid delicious food you love.
It’s about awareness.
It’s about self-compassion.
It’s about mindfulness.
IT’S ABOUT JOY”
Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, Body Kindness Author
Fertility experts reflect on Body Kindness
In a recent interview with co-authors Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT and Sara Haas, RDN, LDN from Fertility Foods Cookbook both authors shared valuable insight pertaining to self-care along this bumpy journey. Sara really enjoyed Body Kindness, as well and had this to share about the her experience:
“The myriad of fertility treatments can leave you wondering ‘what happened to my body?’ At this time in your journey, you need positivity, especially surrounding how you feel in your skin. It can be hard to do that, so finding good role models can be helpful. Instead of placing so much focus on weight and how your clothes feel, you have to learn to appreciate how much of a marvel your body truly is.”
Sara encourages everyone to surround yourself with people that make you feel good and believe in you!
Elizabeth also happens to be the founder of the ever-growing online community of Bumps to Baby and she shared this powerful statement:
One of my favorite lines we talk about in the book [Fertility Foods Cookbook] is, “just loosen your laces a little bit”… I think that sums up perfectly how you have to take this journey one day at a time. The dichotomous thinking that a perfect diet will be a magic fix for infertility is unfortunately just not true. However, there is a lot of power in feeling in control of something when this entire process is so out of your control, and that’s where nutrition and being mindful about what you put into your body can have a powerful impact on how you feel. It’s important to take real you time during this process as well.
Although these words roll off of our tongues with ease putting them into practice is an entirely different matter. Here are five ideas to consider when making self-care a priority:
- Sleep: Whether it’s a nap in the middle of the day or getting full nights sleep, more zzzz’s definitely regenerates the body and mind.
- Movement: A walk in the park, a yoga class, or simply a walk around the block can stop your mind from spinning and put you back into a zen mode.
- Clear the calendar: Do you have any whitespace left on your calendar? Consider adding in even just thirty minutes a day or week to do nothing mentally and physically
- Turn off social media: It’s no secret how toxic social media can become, so if you feel yourself feeling more stress than joy while scrolling through considering signing off for a week or whatever is needed.
- Tune into you: Self-care manifests itself differently for all of us; so, take time to journal your needs and see how you can take more time for you or where you need it most.
What ways can you practice self-care? Share below to inspire others on their journey, too.
Interested in starting your own journey to self-care? Rebecca has a free mini e-course on her website and a new program launching in January 2018.