I am often told by women they are afraid to feel hopeful in the two week wait, thinking that they are setting themselves up for failure in case the cycle is not successful.
This is not an uncommon feeling to negotiate, especially after multiple failed cycles. On the one hand, it is clear that being positive is better than being negative, but on the other hand, can being too positive make a negative outcome more difficult because of unrealistic expectations and hopefulness?
I believe it comes down to approach. If we balance positive lifestyle with realistic expectations, we can work towards our goals and feel less stressed out on the way. Here are some important ways to see the effectiveness of mind-body techniques and their role in cultivating a balanced way of thinking:
Buddha says the definition of “success” rests in the heart. Similarly, a mind body approach considers details of ones experience or journey, and not just the end result. When approaching infertility with a big picture in mind we can see that all the parts (which may not make sense now) will come together one day soon.
Mind body techniques are skills for life. Many of the women in the Mind Body Fertility Group have reported less stress and decreased depression and anxiety. I believe this is a direct result of the healing oriented approach a mind body perspective offers. These women have also reported more satisfaction during their daily lives while going through fertility treatments.
The mind body perspective lays the foundation that allows hope to feel comfortable. Hope is an integral factor that helps individuals and couples cope with the ups and downs of infertility.
A mind body approach re-frames a goal from “getting pregnant” to building a healthy, balanced mind and body during preconception. This can last throughout pregnancy and parenthood. Research has found that being in a mindful, calm state during preconception can have positive effects on the development of your baby.
In the interest of instilling hope, I have put together some research and evidence for the helpfulness of mind body techniques.
- A recent Israeli study found that the success rate of IVF treatments doubled from 14% to 28%, when the participants underwent hypnosis during implantation. Professor Eliahu Levitas(2003) conducted this study with 185 women.
- Dr. Daniel Amen discusses the importance of making “stress reduction the first step before seeking pricey fertility treatments” in his book, Change your Brain, Change your Body (2010). He also shares how hypnosis is a tool that can help to produce deep relaxation to help relax the uterus.
- Alice Domar, Director of The Domar Center for Mind Body Health, completed research with fertility patients and found that 55% of previously infertile women who met regularly in a mind-body program conceived vs. 20% of those who did not use mind body techniques (2000). Dr. Domar has completed many studies and all show that mind-body techniques are helpful to couples coping with infertility.
- Dr. Ernest L. Rossi specializes in psycho-biology, or the relationship between the mind and physical body states. He has conducted extensive research to suggest that human genes must be in a state of physical readiness for conception to take place, and that hypnotic-type suggestions can activate specific genes in the correct order.
Amira Posner is Healing Infertility’s lead clinician. Amira is a professional therapist with Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. Amira has unique mind body training. She is a certified hypnotherapist and is a Fertile Body Method Practitioner.