When medical issues arise the journey is often very difficult, and this is especially true for sub-fertility. It is therefore vital to establish a supportive and constructive relationship between the health professional and the patient.
Patients are naturally caught up in the worry of what is going to happen in the future – what will happen if the tests are not okay, what if the treatment is not successful, what am I going to do if the next option doesn’t work.
It is very easy to be swept up in the stories we read in the news or hear about from friends. The amount of information is overwhelming. Why isn’t the doctor or clinic offering me the latest must-try option I have heard about? It is very important to consider your overall well-being in fertility treatment journey, because it is you as a person that is experiencing the ups and downs of what you are going through. You are very much more than your reproductive system!
To try and make sense of what is happening and give yourself enough room to think and make clear decisions it is important to develop skills in learning how to concentrate on what is happening right now. Looking to the future adds a layer of stress to what is already a stressful problem. I try to encourage my patients not to spend energy worrying about the future and take each stage as happen.
Generally, the burden of the here and now (having to see a doctor about a problem, waiting for a test result) is enough for a patient to bear. Adding worries about the next test or treatment can make the journey feel unbearable.
Focusing on the present and being aware of what is happening at the current moment in time is a very important part of a way of thinking called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is increasingly being used to help people deal with the pressures of day-to-day life and to help patients cope with the particular stresses of medical conditions and treatment. There are techniques that are used in many different parts of medicine and are just starting to be used in maintaining well-being during fertility treatment. Here is a BBC World Service program about Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not going to make a patient more fertile or cure symptoms such as heavy or painful periods, but it can change the way a patient experiences such issues and make the journey more tolerable.
In my interactions with patients I try to help them take a more mindful approach to their situation and I also work with psychologists who can offer mindfulness-based therapy. If you want to dip your toe in the water of mindfulness and meditation then there is no better place to start than the Headspace app.
Consultations can be arranged via contacting my PA, Ms Yvonne Baillie on 0207 125 0547 or email her here