Holistic means dealing with or looking at something as a whole rather than its parts.  As the New Year looms, we often think about what resolutions would improve the coming year.  It’s important to keep realistic goals and to realize that our mental, spiritual and physical well-being are all interrelated.  Wellness could also be affected by other factors like our social, financial, environmental, and professional areas.  So rather than working on just one part of ourselves, we need to look at the whole picture and thus embrace holistic growth in a balanced way.  Infertility could be one such journey where you are unsure of what the future holds.  Infertility is the inability to conceive and go through a successful pregnancy even after having unprotected sex for a year or more.  Oftentimes, childless couples wishing to have kids and especially women are stigmatized by society, leading them to depression, anxiety, isolation, rejection by family and marital problems to name just a few.  Thus, they might need not just medical intervention like in vitro fertilization (IVF) but also psychological support.  This could include counselling, educating yourself about the possible causes of infertility on a holistic level and learning to accept the outcomes whatever they may be.  This, in turn, could increase your odds of conception and go through a successful pregnancy.

Where to start

Reflect back on your life.  Are there things you could or would like to improve and what could you do about it?  What motivates you and what stresses you out?  Write down any questions you need answered about your infertility.  Look back on your lifestyle, health issues, social, spiritual and emotional stability.  What is and isn’t within your control.  It could even help if you work on this together with your spouse so that you are accountable to each other and spur each other on.

Physical wellbeing is often measured by various factors like weight, fitness, or overall health.  Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, reducing stress and getting enough sleep are some things that could help you optimize your physical wellbeing and also positively affect your fertility.  So, you need to be dedicated to figuring out what is a healthy lifestyle in your particular circumstances.  You could also make gradual changes to your diet or lifestyle and adjust according to how your body is handling it.  Try something new if you feel you are in a rut and celebrate your victories no matter how small they might seem. 

Mental and emotional wellbeing- are very important to help us achieve our goal to have a child.  Stress could affect your fertility negatively by releasing hormones that affect your health.  A happy and healthy workplace and home life could play a big role in stress reduction.  Learn how to deal with stress.  You could try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, talk to a close friend, or a professional counsellor, start journaling, go for a massage, listen to music or whatever else that helps you to relieve stress.  Try to make small changes in your life which are easier to achieve rather than radical changes.  Learn to listen to your body, remove any negative thinking patterns and celebrate the good that comes out of it.  Learn to accept what is out of your control and how to move forward whatever the results may be.  It’s especially important to have proper education and guidance in your fertility journey.

Spiritual well being -means different things to different people.  For some, it could be the practice of religion or a faith and for others it could mean finding your sense of purpose or meaning in life.  Whatever it is, it could help you get through tough times, and gives you comfort and a sense of peace.  It could help you feel connected with the world and that everything is interconnected and it could give you joy beyond measure.  It is something that could ground you and help you stand strong through storms in life. 

Relationships and social connections

It is very important to form meaningful connections with those around you like family, friends, neighbours, and work mates.  Relationships and social connections could make you feel valued, and support you when you need help.  Being an active member of the community could also help.  Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, relationships could help you stay connected with the outside world.  They provide a sense of purpose and dispels loneliness.  It educates us and helps us navigate through life’s challenges.  Joining a support group who are also dealing with infertility could help you realize that you are not alone in this journey.  The lure of technology and social media could prevent you from interacting with other people in person and blame yourself for your issues with infertility.  Social media, though it could be quite informative, could also present people’s opinions as facts.  So, you need to verify this information from your doctor.  Our busy schedules and financial means could also prevent us from connecting with others.  Try to set some time aside for meaningful relationships like just having a meal together with someone or even just walking together with a close friend all of which could be great stress relievers and in turn improve your fertility.

Once you have started on this journey of self-realization and what are the various things that are in your control to improve your fertility, perform a self-assessment every so often and think about how to continue forging ahead. Do you feel healthier physically, spiritually and mentally?  If you have encountered an obstacle, how will you get past it and learn to adapt?  Celebrate the ups and downs of your journey and be in awe of how far you have travelled.  Talk to your doctor if you are struggling with depression or stress or have some health concerns that you don’t know how to deal with. Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre is the place to go for answers to your questions of how to achieve your goal of having a child successfully in the new year and their experts could lead you step by step all the way to the finish line.  Embrace holistic growth and you could accomplish your goals quicker and become healthier in the long run.