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The Witching Hour: The Anxiety of Infertility

You know that feeling in the middle of the night? You can’t sleep and your……

You know that feeling in the middle of the night? You can’t sleep and your mind is racing so full of thoughts that it refuses to slow down. As you lay there, your heart begins to accelerate, your muscles contract and you feel completely consumed. It’s 3:30 in the morning and all you want is sleep but there it is, anxiety.

What you’re wrestling with in the middle of the night is your fight-or-flight stress response and welcome or not it’s the basic human response that’s keeping you alive.

The fight-or-flight response is the innate physiological response that actually protects us. It’s there to ward off danger, to keep us from harm.

The threat that I’m talking about is infertility. This can feel like an attack on our very survival. You see we as humans have a desire to pass down our genes and when we discover we may not be able to do that, we perceive it as a real threat. Fear sets in and it brings about feelings that make even our well being feel like it’s at risk.

There are certain “risks” that infertility brings about that cannot be ignored. The financial toll, being able to negotiate social gatherings full of pregnant friends and new babies, our relationships with our spouses and those closest to us, the uncertainties of infertility treatments are all threats to our regular everyday lives. They present danger to our primitive brains and trigger our body’s response accordingly.

There is nothing fun about this and depression inevitably follows as our bodies can’t keep up with a constant state of alertness.

But what if there was a way to calm our senses and ease into our situation? I propose Mind-Body and the Relaxation response CAN help.  It’s a perfect way to deescalate our thoughts and return to a centered, relaxed self.

The relaxation response works with our parasympathetic nervous system. It evokes a deep state of psychological rest. Similar to meditation, this is an active mental diversion that calms and soothes the central nervous system. It counteracts the stress we are experiences and re-balances the body.

You see it’s a scientific fact that the central nervous system, our stress center, and the parasympathetic nervous system, our place of relaxation, can’t operate at the same time.  It’s one or the other.

Some techniques to activate our relaxation response include, visual imagery, deep breathing, meditation, hypnosis, yoga and biofeedback. When we engage in these activities, it signals the body to release chemicals that relax your muscles and slow you down. They also increase blood flow to the brain. It’s this restorative process that just might be the thing that gets you back to sleep; turning the witching hour into a restful night.

Amira is a fertility counsellor in Toronto, Ontario. She works with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. Amira facilitates the Mind-Body Fertility Group  at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
She is also a mother of three miracles.

For more information,
visit www.healinginfertility.ca
and find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Registration is now open for the Fall Mind-Body Fertility Group.

Amira Posner

Amira Posner is Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. In addition to working with individuals, couples and families providing therapy in a secure and safe setting, she is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Amira is also a certified hypnotherapist.

Amira Posner

July 7, 2023 • 3 minutes

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