Psychology, at this point in time is largely a small time player, often neglected in the field of fertility and conception. Many people focus purely on the physical state of their wellbeing and the process when trying to conceive. With 30-40% of couples experiencing problems trying to have a baby it is important to acknowledge the role other components may have that can impact or more importantly assist in the conception process.
As a psychologist I subscribe to the mind-body connection paradigm. Expanding that further, to the process of conceiving, looking at various ways our outlook, coping strategies, experiences and belief systems can have an impact. At times often unconsciously, subsequently contributing to or manifesting into difficulties with our health.
A Harvard Medical School study has shown just how significantly stress and emotions can impact our body and health. Results highlighted those with the death of a partner or loved one, are at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our brains and body are highly intelligent, through this example it isn’t hard to question how our body may be reacting and to what factors when trying to get pregnant. It is much more than a physical process.
Whether it be trying for a child naturally and it isn’t happening quickly or through assisted means, conception can be a stress inducing situation. How we handle this is what will benefit the individual the most. Perception is another key factor when dealing with fertility issues.
Numerous studies have highlighted the effect stress has upon our lives and the subsequent health concerns as a result. Many people are becoming more aware of the benefits of relaxation and meditation upon their mental health and the area of fertility and infertility has shown positive signs from integrating the practice.
Looking at conceiving from a psychological understanding isn’t solely about stress reduction and minimisation. It also encompasses the importance of mindset and the impact our thoughts, beliefs and actions can have on certain situations, specifically in this instance, the conception process.
It must be said that to embrace a psychological perspective to conceiving does not equate to a belief that this is “all in the head”, essentially it is about respecting and acknowledging that our mind and body are highly intelligent and may at times work together to cope or process our psychological fears, beliefs, emotional reactions and thought patterns.
Bringing the psychological component to fertility plans and treatment can only enhance the work that is already physically being undertaken. Opening up to these ideas help to reflect on our cognitions, develop a greater level of body love with awareness and of our “talk” to ourselves and our body and may possibly break down long held belief systems that not only assist now but the parent one aspires to be.