Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
(Rodgers and Hammerstein,
The Sound of Music, 1959)
You have probably heard these words to the well-known song “My Favorite Things.” Maria beautifully proclaims her favorite things, along with how she handles negative events and emotions in her life. She tries to change her negative mood by changing her thoughts. Some elements of psychotherapy are based on this principle – that our thoughts can determine our mood.
During your experience with infertility, have you ever had the following thoughts?: “I will never have children” or “Life is completely unfair” or “I will never be happy if I don’t have a baby.” Your pain is understandable. These types of thoughts, however, can cause or increase feelings of depression and anxiety, which can negatively impact your fertility treatment. Research has shown that by learning new coping skills to challenge negative thought patterns, you can help improve your mood and sense of well being.
It is common to experience mood fluctuations as you go through infertility.
Self-nurturing is another way to help deal with the emotional roller coaster of infertility. When people feel sad, they often stop engaging in enjoyable activities and this can increase their negative feelings. While it does not remove the pain and stress of infertility, increasing enjoyable activities may help you manage negative emotions. Make a list of your favorite things, whether its exercising, going to the movies, getting a massage, baking cookies, reading novels, eating out, playing with your pet or even singing. Try to increase the frequency of your favorite activities, and recognize what you can and cannot control to help reduce your stress during this difficult time.
Dr. Alisha Wagner is a clinical psychologist in Houston, Texas who works with individuals and couples dealing with infertility. For more information, call
(713) 854-5400 or visit www.alishawagnerphd.com