A fertility journey can sometimes feel like being stuck in the middle of a loud rush hour traffic jam. The noise is overwhelming, but there’s nowhere else you can really go if you want to keep driving down this path.
Since we know external triggers can add to an already overwhelming season of life, we asked Nurse Suzie Devine of Binto to share some insight on how to quiet the noise. It turns out, the things that are in your control can help minimize how much things like social media (or that one family member who doesn’t stop asking when you’ll have kids) impact your day-to-day life.
4 Tips to Improve Mental Health While Family-Planning
For starters, Nurse Suzie is a big proponent of finding the right support for you. It’s why, in addition to personalized supplements, Binto offers affordable, convenient 1:1 consultations with licensed fertility experts.
“Given the world we live in, people want to make money any way they can, and sometimes, these well-intentioned ‘coaches’ can be a scam,” explains Nurse Suzie. “Not every one of these fertility coaches is this way, but it does happen. Work with real providers with licenses and credentials to ensure you're not wasting your money.”
Below, Nurse Suzie shares four more things you should keep in mind to help lessen the mental load while navigating your family-planning journey.
1. Put down your phone and take a deep breath
Social media is a wonderful tool to help you connect with others who understand your lived experiences or with information that can help support your decision-making. Still, it can also be grounds for endless comparison or doom-scrolling.
Nurse Suzie suggests taking a beat whenever your cell phone becomes a magnet for negativity or information overload.
“Put the phone down, take a deep breath, and stop the spiral,” encourages Nurse Suzie. “I did this a lot to myself while navigating IVF and pregnancy loss. Fortunately for me, I am a women’s health nurse and IVF nurse, so I know how to read health information and determine what’s simply ‘noise.’ I truly believe that knowledge is power and that social media is a fantastic tool to help us gain insight into areas like women’s health. However, it’s important to remember the source: Is this person licensed in a medical field (RN, RD, MD, DO)? Remember: You are one person, and you can’t do everything. Pick the areas of your health and wellness routine that fill you up, not drain you.”
2. Reach out to the right doctor, depending on your circumstances
Your care team probably keeps getting bigger and bigger as you try to find what works best for your health when growing your family. Adding a note to your phone about what doctor you need and when can be a helpful reference the next time you’re not feeling well and wondering where you should go.
“Try to put things in buckets,” adds Nurse Suzie. “For general health concerns, this is your family medicine provider (think colds, check-ups, etc.), for PAP smears and basic gynecology care, go to your OB/GYN, but for anything fertility-related, I recommend going only to your REI/fertility clinic (or getting a second opinion with another clinic). Why? Because REI doctors have an additional three years of training to specialize in fertility treatments and care. Of course, it’s natural for some people to now have other practitioners who support them in the fertility process like a registered dietitian or an acupuncturist, but I would not go too far beyond that as it can fill up your already full plate.”
3. Don’t be ashamed to prioritize your mental health
A fertility journey shifts a lot of attention to your (or your partner’s) physical health, but don’t be ashamed to prioritize your mental health, too.
“You need to do what’s in the best interest of your and your partner's mental health,” encourages Nurse Suzie. “Know where your limits are. It’s okay to be upset and feel your feelings. Being positive is wonderful, but it’s not always possible, and that is okay! And, of course, surround yourself with people who lift you up and can be there to listen when you need to vent or cry.”
If the amount of time you've been trying for has been wearing on you in new ways, Nurse Suzie adds that looking for additional mental health support is always an option.
“When you’re in the thick of IVF it’s very hard to stay present and get through the day. It feels like it might never be your turn and that is extremely frustrating and something that very few people understand. It starts to get isolating fast. At this point, I recommend finding a licensed therapist who specializes in infertility. This helped me get out of a dark place. I needed support beyond the level my friends and family could provide me.“
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4. Build your own support team
Nurse Suzie calls these self-built support groups her "fertility sounding board." As you create your support team, think about who you need in your corner — maybe it’s your doctors, family members, or best friends.
It can also help to speak with a licensed healthcare provider who isn't your doctor, to help you plan for what's next amidst any potential roadblocks.
“When we started Binto in 2016, we quickly realized that people wanted to talk with me, Nurse Suzie, about their fertility,” shares Nurse Suzie. “It’s truly amazing to have the option to speak with a licensed fertility provider for the same amount or less than your copay. Talking to someone about your experience, your next steps, and even your overall health really helps. It can give you some extra mental space and clarity with your process. Aside from that, we can help you navigate the clinic, your labs, what supplements to take, and more. We can also follow up with you via email with a recap of the consultation and a personalized plan.”
No matter where you are in your trying-to-conceive journey, take a beat to ask yourself if you’re doing okay or what you need to be doing even better. If you need additional guidance, you can also book a 1:1 fertility consult with a Binto licensed healthcare provider here. Best of luck!
Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Rescripted.