How Do You Know When You Need a Fertility Coach

You’re resourceful. You’ve thoroughly researched your doctor. You’ve put together all the information about the fertility process you could possibly find. 

You might have friends or family members who’ve already gone through the process, so you have an idea of what to expect. 

But no matter how much we might think we know about fertility, being thrown into the seemingly endless cycle of appointments, tests, procedures, and potential disappointments can be jarring, even for the savviest of women.

Your medical doctor is responsible for overseeing your treatment process. But the intricacies it involves, along with all the dense medical terminology, can get lost in translation. 

Imagine how you felt after first hearing terms like AFC, FSH, AMH? 

A therapeutic or fertility coach can help you understand how these new medical issues can impact your fertility journey.

Going through the fertility process can be a traumatic experience. But you can work with a professional to mitigate its impact and start prioritizing your mental health. 

What Exactly Do Coaches Do? 

Therapeutic or fertility coaches guide you through the fertility process and help you identify a plan that works for you. A coach can be the “point person” who helps you manage everything outside of the time you spend with your doctor. 

Coaches are space holders and mentors. They help you stay on track while assessing your needs at every step of the way. Coaches help you manage your experience throughout the treatment process. 

Coaches can assess and help you navigate your struggles with helping you make lifestyle changes in your food and exercise. They can encourage you to use additional treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care while keeping your that your budget and spiritual needs in mind. 

A Therapeutic Coach or a Fertility Coach: Who Should You Work With? 

With so many coaches and mentors in the field, it can be hard to figure out who you need to work with. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from different coaches: 

Fertility Coach or Mentor

Most fertility coaches and mentors have gone through the process themselves, giving them first-hand experience with the fertility world. 

Having personal experience with fertility treatments can make a fertility coach a good option when you need a sounding board as you work through treatment-related issues that may come up for you. A fertility coach can offer support and guidance around your fertility journey.

Therapeutic Coach

Therapeutic Coaching is the intersection where therapy and fertility coaching meet. 

Most women going through the fertility process tend to focus on the here and now as they try to navigate the complexities of the fertility world. But this can keep them from addressing emotions that can come up when women struggle with fertility issues. 

A Therapeutic Coach can help you create a space where you can work through feelings and emotional difficulties with the guidance of a licensed psychotherapist. 

Therapeutic Coaches can also include anyone who’s been trained in specific research methods that address the emotional pitfalls of the fertility process. 

For many women, fertility issues can be experienced as traumatic events. Research shows that this can lead to challenges with anxiety and depression.

Having the support of a licensed clinician through Therapeutic Coaching can help you manage and overcome traumatic emotional triggers, such as hearing unexpected diagnoses and going to doctors’ appointments. Developing a plan for managing them is part of the foundation taking control of your long-term mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Other Coaching Resources for the Fertility Process

Other professionals you might see in your research include nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors, or functional medicine doctors. Each one can provide a unique perspective on how to care for yourself during fertility treatments.

Choosing the wrong coach can lead to frustration and an inability to address the root causes of whatever issues you’re trying to address. So it’s important to understand what your unique needs are so that you can choose the right professional to work with.

How Coaching Can Help You During the Fertility Process

Fertility research is still grossly underfunded. The data we do have continues to show that women who undergo mind/body programs can have higher chances of conceiving, fewer miscarriages, and better egg-retrieval rates (if they pursue IVF). 

Other benefits can include:

  • Having the personal space to manage your nutrition, lifestyle choices, and emotional wellbeing.
  • Getting help to create an action plan that matches your needs.
  • Having support and advocacy for your medical and emotional needs.
  • Saving money: Working with a coach or participating in a structured program can potentially increase pregnancy and IVF success rates. This can reduce the number of additional treatments you might need down the line. 

You may need more support around creating a healthy nutritional plan. Or you may be someone who needs more emotional support. In order to find a good fit, identify the areas where you need support and find a coach who has expertise in those areas.

Having someone on your treatment team who understands what you’re going through and has the practical solutions and strategies to help you along the way is invaluable.

Do Your Research

Most coaches offer a 15-minute consultation so you can learn how their services might address your needs without feeling obligated to sign up for coaching you don’t think is right for you. 

In the meantime, if you still don’t know where to start, my 6-Step Fertility Self-Care Plan provides information about managing the fertility process. You can also get more information about my Therapeutic Coaching services here.

There are plenty of resources for getting the help you need during the fertility process. But this can make it harder for you to figure out who you should work with. 

The more you know about what different coaches can provide, the sooner you can get started creating the self-care plan you need as you start this next chapter in your life.

Fertility and Infertility Self-Care Plan for the Holidays

The holidays are a time when we find ourselves surrounded by families and their children. You’ll be participating in holiday traditions that other families share each year.

But if you’re struggling with fertility issues or undergoing fertility treatments, the holidays can be a painful reminder of the family you wish you had. 

The emotional stress that the holidays can bring adds to the stress of the fertility process. This can cause you to feel overwhelmed and make it harder for you to enjoy this special time with family and friends. 

So I’ve created a Fertility and Infertility Self-Care Plan for the holiday season to help you navigate what may not be the “most wonderful time of the year” for many women. 

1. Check-in With Yourself Each Day During the Holidays

Daily prayer or meditation sessions help you identify what you need at any given moment. Journaling can also be an effective way to process emotions and observe your responses to situations and people around you. 

Remember that your emotional needs can change daily, and that’s okay. But the more awareness you have around those needs, the better you’ll be at making sure you’re taking care of yourself throughout the holiday season. 

2. Eat Sensibly and Stay Active 

Food and holiday celebrations go hand-in-hand, and the holiday season often becomes a time for us to over-indulge.  

Too much of a good thing can leave you feeling sluggish at a time when you need all the energy you can get. So enjoy your favorite holiday foods in moderation. 

Regular exercise at the right intensity for your needs can improve your mood and help digest all those holiday calories while helping you manage stress. 

Eating sensibly and staying active during the holidays can make it easier for you to enjoy this special time without any unwanted stress. 

3. Just Say No and Have a Backup Plan for Holiday Events

Be selective about which holiday events you want to attend. If you aren’t sure if you want to go to a certain party, ask yourself, “How will I feel if I go? How will I feel if I don’t go?”

Being around pregnant women or parents and their children can trigger women who are struggling with fertility challenges. Give yourself permission to opt-out of any parties where you know you won’t be comfortable.

You can also arrive late or leave early if you think there’s a chance that you might find a particular event difficult. The important thing is to have a backup plan and know when you need to use it. 

4. Prepare in Advance for the Questions You Don’t Want to Answer

Decide what information you plan on sharing about your situation when people ask questions you may not want to answer. 

Prepare answers in advance for common questions like, “When are you having children?” or “Isn’t it about time you thought about starting a family?”

Rehearse your answers ahead of time, and don’t feel shy about telling others that you don’t feel comfortable answering certain questions.

5. Don’t Pretend There’s Nothing Wrong 

Be transparent and share your feelings. Sometimes the act of saying how you feel lets you move through negative emotions a little faster to find space for more positive ones. 

Being honest about what you’re going through can take away the power it can have over your feelings and emotions. Owning how you feel can help you be more in control and empowered to connect with others in an authentic way. 

6. Celebrate the Holidays the Way You Want

If you feel like celebrating, enjoy it. Listen to your favorite holiday music, plan out your holiday decorations and meals, or go shopping. Do what feels right for you.

The holidays are yours to enjoy however you want. There’s often a pressure to do things a certain way, and expectations from others can add to the stress of the holiday season. 

Learn to recognize what the holidays mean for you, and start creating your own celebrations and traditions. 

7. Take a Break From Fertility Treatments

If going through potentially mood-altering treatments during the holidays sounds like more than you can bear, talk with your doctor about taking a break. 

It might make more emotional sense to revisit your treatments after the holiday season is over. 

8. Create Your Own Child-Free Holiday Traditions

This step may feel like the hardest one of all, especially since you probably dream about someday having holiday traditions with children of your own. 

But it’s okay to create new ones in the meantime. You may find comfort in celebrating with friends and family members who also don’t have children. 

9. Practice Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Giving thanks can feel tricky when you’re overwhelmed with sadness. But when you can, learn to be grateful for what you have. 

You might be surprised by how gratitude for the small things in life (like your favorite tea, candle, or space) can lead to more significant moments of gratitude in your life.

10. Reach Out for Support When You Need It

If you’re working with a therapist or coach, schedule a session sometime during the holiday season. 

You can find a support group online or in-person to help you navigate the challenges that the holidays can bring. 

Knowing you have a safe space and the support you need, free from unhelpful advice or unwanted comments, is priceless.

The holiday season is one of the hardest times of the year for women and couples who are struggling to start a family. Wherever you are on your journey, remember to be gentle with yourself and with others. 

Use the steps and tools listed above to help you make your way through the holidays more confidently and with greater ease. I wish you a joyful holiday season and celebration for you and your loved ones. 

Originally published in Thrive Global on November 18, 2019.

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