I became a mother of two boys following two miscarriages. Both losses happened early on in pregnancy. I do know there was a time when I wondered if I had fertility issues and loss overwhelmed me. I thought fora time I would ever be able to have children. That was a truly despairing feeling. I felt a loss of identity and worth. I can only fully know how difficult I found my own losses and I can never know exactly what anyone else is going through even when I support my clients to move on.
As a clinical hypnotherapist, I work with clients with a wide range of problems, many anxiety, depression and stress related. This includes clients who have experienced loss and grief for various reasons. It also includes the loss of a loved one, illness or accident and a change of worth, purpose or identity.
Losses from fertility issues include far more than the loss of pregnancy or not being able to conceive
Reasons for loss following fertility issues can be emotional, physical, social, cultural or religious. For example:
- being unable to conceive
- one or more failed pregnancies
- discovering you or your partner have fertility issues
- unanswered difficulties in being able to conceive
- not becoming a parent
- expectation about how you expected your body to perform
- not being accepted onto a fertility programme
- reduction in time frame to have children
- expectation from others to become a parent/ have a child
- having to have decided to use an egg or sperm donor
- being unable to access fertility services due to Covid- 19
- knowing that either you or your partner will not be genetically related to your IVF baby
Emma & Adam Haslam know first-hand the trials and tribulations and the mental destruction caused by their fertility issues and being unable to conceive naturally. Their journey, with all its ups and downs, led to the birth of their son, Albie, and to the birth of their business, ‘Your IVF Abroad’. Emma and I met through a women’s business networking group and immediately she was open about her own story.
At the point where conception is feeling out of reach it is perfectly normal to have a wide range of diverse, competing and complex thoughts and feelings. These can be about your past, present and future. You can read more information on grief in another recent blog here.
Emma told me how she now understands that had she dealt with her emotional issues from her losses including Post Natal Depression (PND) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD,) prior to starting her IVF programme, the whole journey would have been much easier.
Strong emotions are natural following loss.
The feelings you experience are likely to change over time and include sadness, anxiety, shock, shame, anger, envy, guilt, regret, isolation, resentment and fear. I have worked with several women, some prior to supporting them with hypnobirthing sessions later.
One woman in her 30s came to me to work through her fertility issues. Her inability to conceive naturally after ectopic pregnancies had damaged her fallopian tubes. There was a lot of anger at her body along with feelings of worthlessness at not being able to produce the baby she had wanted. IVF felt inappropriate and ‘wrong’ at first because her body ‘should’ be able to do that. After working through the complex emotions and huge anxiety including using hypnoanalysis she moved to a new understanding and was ready to use IVF. This was ultimately successful and later I worked with the couple teaching them hypnobirthing.
Depression and grief can seem similar but they are actually quite different.
Experiencing sleep difficulties, changes in eating habits and extreme sadness happen with both grief and depression. With grief these feelings tend to fluctuate and there may even be small moments of happiness, as this diagram of grief shows. Depression involves more constant feelings of despair with negative thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness. The body begins to shut down to protect the sufferer. Hypnotherapy and CBT are both good ways to manage depression and unhealthy sadness. I use both in my therapy practice, often together for maximum benefit for you.
Grief is normal and healthy and arriving at a point of acceptance about this is immensely beneficial. It still may be necessary to address the losses from fertility issues so you can move forward with your journey. Even if not necessary, it can usually be helpful and positive to do so. If you are at the point of despair, or if you think you may be depressed, it is important to seek professional help. It is absolutely possible to get yourself to a point where you can heal. You can take back control over your conscious and subconscious thoughts and feelings. A well mind with positive thoughts aids your healing.
Dealing with loss is not easy.
Here are a few suggestions to help you.
- Sit and breathe. Gently allow your exhalation to increase in length. Allow it to become longer than the inhalation. Release negative thoughts or feelings as you breathe out.
- Do something for you that you enjoy, or used to enjoy. You may not feel like it but do it anyway. This will help to form kinder thoughts and feelings.
- Take time to be with the emotion you are feeling whatever that is. Learn to be with that feeling and get to know what it is. You may find it easier to sense its shape, colour, movement or location than what it actually is. This is about acknowledgement of the feelings and emotions that are present for you. You may like to label the emotion or name it. You don’t have to like them but the reality is they are there.
- It may help to connect with the losses with a kind and caring ritual for each. They can be appropriate and unique to you. Balloon releases are popular but often cause loss to animal life and damage to the environment. Instead scattering petals in a breeze, throwing painted pebbles in a stream, lighting a candle or planting seeds. Be mindful about the process and repeat as you like.
- Speak to a therapist. Professional support can help you to deal with your loss manage your grief and support you to move forward positively with the next phase of your life. Find someone that you connect with and are comfortable talking to. Hypnotherapy works on the subconscious mind and is often a short term therapy. Hypnosis can be relaxing and a great cleanser to deal with the past with transformation being quicker than many expect.
Even with previous fertility issues it is possible to have a successful and happy future.
I use tailored therapy with Hypnotherapy, CBT, NLP and coaching/counselling techniques to help my clients. I work with many pregnancy related issues including grief, loss, fertility issues, pregnancy preparation and post-natal issues such as depression. Get in touch for more information or to book your own 30-minute complimentary information session. Get in touch for more information and to book your 30 minute discovery session today.
If you are looking for further support and are considering IVF abroad then Emma and Adam Haslam could help.
They are the only independent reproductive agency in the UK and Your IVF Abroad takes no commission from the clinics and partners they work with. As they understand your situation, they have your best interests at heart and they will help match you to the right clinics abroad. By facilitating everything you need practically, and with emotional support too they help to remove stress so you can concentrate on your treatment. There aren’t any waiting lists and there is flexibility on age and BMI. Your IVF abroad following fertility issues with IVF, ICSI, own egg/sperm, donor egg/sperm and embryo adoption. For a free consultation to find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org