• infertility

Resilience: The “Seed” of Possibility for the Infertile Patient

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from trauma and is integral to mental health.  Some would call it the definition of mental health. But resilience is not a fixed commodity. It can be lost as physical and mental challenges rise beyond a person’s accrued coping skills, and regained as people seek guidance to build coping skills that match the magnitude of the challenge.

The loss of resilience is virtually universal for those who find themselves in a fertility quest. Tossed out of the family building mainstream, infertility patients find themselves in an existential, bio-psycho-socio-spiritual crisis that may take years to resolve. No area of life is untouched. Levels of stress have been measured on par with the life-threatening diagnoses of cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. Medical interventions (and thank God for them) feel like science fiction and are mentally and physically demanding.

Mind/Body interventions restore resiliency. They humanize the technology and teach people who are faced with this adversity to ride the crest of what feels like a tsunami without being swamped—while awaiting their miracle. Mind/Body techniques can be cognitive, problem-solving or meditative. There are many ways to deal with, distract from, utilize and grow from this challenge. A comprehensive mind/body protocol returns the locus of control to the patient and with it, resiliency. No technique is one-stop shopping nor can the most effective technique be counted upon to work each time. Therefore, the more approaches to stress-reduction a person knows, the less likely (s)he is to get swamped in the face of this adversity. And just as important, a person must be willing to choose a coping technique when (s)he is least likely to be in the mood to do so. So a need for mental muscle (resiliency) is what builds resiliency itself! While this is difficult, it is entirely possible – with motivation. And what could be more motivating than wanting a child?

(You will find easy-to-learn mind/body techniques at the end of each of my chapters in my book, On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility.)

About the Author:

Helen Adrienne, LCSW general psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist, and practitioner of mind/body therapy with a specialty in infertility. New York City