During your journey through fertility treatment you find yourself sharing the most intimate parts of your life with many people including your fertility nurse. Your fertility nurse will be there to guide you through your diagnosis and to discuss treatment cycle options with you. Ultimately the role of a Fertility Solutions nurse is to CARE and SUPPORT patients. At Fertility Solutions (both Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg) the care and support of our patients is our priority.
Infertility Causes High Stress
Every patient will have their own unique infertility experience. Research suggests women facing fertility challenges experienced the same level of distress, depression and anxiety as women having cancer treatment. The stress that you may be experiencing is very real and should be acknowledged. Nurses understand that you have been through a lot and may have a lowered emotional reserve. So, when you arrive late because you couldn’t find a car park and burst into tears when you walk through the door, “It is OK!”. Your fertility nurse is there to support and provide a caring relationship.
During this time, it is important that you communicate openly with your nurse and other members of the fertility team and it is highly encouraged that you seek additional support by making contact with the clinic counsellors if required. It can also be beneficial talking with a fertility counsellor prior to commencing fertility treatment to help prepare you by building mental strength and resilience just in the same way as we go to the gym to build muscle strength and overall fitness.
Safe Space to Share
At Fertility Solutions our nurses offer patients a ‘safe space to share’. Therefore no matter what intense emotions you may feel or information you share it is always handled in a non-judgemental and professional manner. It is important that you feel comfortable to talk about sex and intimacy as these topics are directly related to your current situation.
Our nurses are there to listen and help you understand that many thoughts you feel during your journey, such as grief, fear, jealousy, anxiety and sadness are normal feelings. These feelings need to be acknowledged. You will be encouraged to talk and share your feelings. To recognise that they are just feelings “right now” and do not form a part of you. It’s okay to set aside time during your day where you can acknowledge these thoughts and then also acknowledge that these thoughts can be detrimental to your mental health if you hang on to them. So you need to consciously let them go. For example; it is perfectly natural to feel that you may never achieve a pregnancy so allow yourself to have these thoughts but then focus on the positives that you are undergoing treatment to change this outcome and let the unhelpful thought go.
Step by Step
Fertility treatment can be very overwhelming for most. Medical information and terms that you will hear can be confusing and difficult to understand. Even the medications that you may be prescribed can cause you to be more emotional than normal. A fertility nurses’ role is to support you during these times and walk with you step by step, taking time to ensure you understand the process and assist you to set realistic expectations. It is important to remember that you may feel overwhelmed as you travel the road of fertility treatments. Therefore, it is important that you openly communicate so your nurse can be there to support you in whatever way they can. Our nurses focus on using terminology that you will understand but remember to always ask questions if you are unsure as we aim to provide you with a safe place to share.
Self-Care and Self-Soothing
Our nurses are trained to recognise when you may not be “okay”. You may find that they encourage you to engage in activities that you were once passionate about before fertility treatment began. For example, going back to Yoga or Art Classes and doing something for yourself that is not connected to your fertility journey. Nurses also recognise when you are putting on a brave face and saying, “I’m okay”. It’s important that you realise that it is “okay” to remove the “okay mask”. Let yourself be whatever it is you are feeling, such as sad or letting the tears flow. It’s okay not to be okay. Communicating very clearly with your partner, family, friends or fertility team is important so that you receive the care that is right for you.
Often your partner can be lost in the process. So much of the attention is focused on you having treatment. Don’t be alarmed if your nurse checks in with you both, asking how the relationship and romance is going. These conversations may be difficult to talk about. However, they are real and talking about them can help put things back into perspective. Remember you are in a safe place to share. It is important that you discuss your feelings with your nurse. They can provide you both with strategies that may improve communication within the relationship. For example, writing down a list of the feelings and thoughts you are both experiencing. Then give your list to the other to read.
Once you have had time to consider the feelings that your partner is experiencing it can be an opening to sit down and discuss them. Acknowledging each other’s feelings is important. Another good strategy to consider is planning a date night before major events in your treatment. For example, before an embryo transfer or regularly setting aside time together each week NOT talking about your fertility treatment. It is important that you both look out for each other. Implement strategies that work for you during stressful times.
When Enough is Enough?
At some stage during your journey, you may find that you have reached a point when enough is enough. Your fertility nurse is there to help you through such times and help you explore “what is next”. Please remember, that care and support for our Fertility Patients is our top priority.
Would you like to see our Counsellor?
Our nursing team will always be caring and supportive, however, sometimes they may suggest you chat with one of our experienced counsellors. Did you know that Medicare makes provisions for people to have access to one counselling consultation for each IVF cycle? This counselling session is free of charge. We have a counsellor at both our Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg clinics. Regardless of whether you think you need to see a counsellor or not, it can often be beneficial. Your mental health and well-being is as important as your physical health and well being. Remember, “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
Fertility Solutions offer free and confidential consultations with a nurse if you are considering having fertility treatment. To book your free appointment – Click Here.
Additionally, if you are currently undergoing fertility treatment please reach out to our nursing team. We are happy to discuss any issues or questions you may have. They will also be able to put you in contact with our fertility counsellors.