Can Emotions Affect Your Fertility?

The time when you’re trying to get pregnant can be incredibly stressful and can be an emotional rollercoaster. We asked the author of the book ‘Trying to Conceive’, Michaela Ryan, to talk to some Bounty mums and share her advice and tips on how to get over your emotional barriers whilst trying to conceive. She answers some of the most common problems women face at this time.

“I recently interviewed 15 women and men who – like me – overcame fertility troubles once they dealt with their emotional issues,” says Michaela. “I put these stories together in my book, “Trying to Conceive – True Stories of How Couples Overcame Infertility”. These true stories are backed up by studies that show a link between our emotions and our fertility.”

Minihaha asks: “What emotional changes did you make to your lifestyle that made conception possible?”

Michaela says: “Firstly, I was in a very stressful job and could see an obvious impact on my health. When my contract ended, I took a job that offered me a lot more balance. My health improved but still I wasn’t becoming pregnant – there were deeper issues that needed resolving.

“The first thing I had to move past was my desperation. I felt I would not be happy until I had a baby. My life was on hold, I put off an overseas trip and I put off planning my next career move. I had a lot of time to focus on my desperation to be a mother!

“There was another issue at play, however. Deep down, part of me felt terrified about becoming a mother. I was afraid of making the same mistakes my parents made, that the child would whinge constantly and take away my sleep-ins and couple-time. This was the other layer I had to face up to: did I really want to have children?

In the end I got sick of my mental gymnastics. I decided I definitely did want a baby! But in the meantime I was going to cherish time with my husband and enjoy life in the present. I booked our overseas trip and planned some medium-term career projects. It no longer mattered to me how long it took to conceive. Later that month, I was staring at a positive pregnancy test for the first time.”

Geraldine asks: “I’m very lucky to have my 19 month old daughter. We’ve been trying for our second baby for a year and had two miscarriages since. It has brought a lot of stress in our relationship and life. Would you recommend a way not to stress about it and be more relaxed or would you say that in those situations it’s best to take a break from it all?”

Michaela says: “If trying to conceive is getting you both down, it’s a good indicator that something has to change. Sometimes lifestyle changes can help. Sometimes deeper emotional issues need to be healed. Some women I interviewed for my book found that a break from trying to conceive gave them a chance to catch their breath. They came closer as a couple, as conception wasn’t dominating the landscape.
“In some cases there were deeper issues going on… relationship difficulties, a woman’s fear of miscarrying again, sometimes unresolved issues from a person’s childhood. The issues were totally individual. People need to follow their own intuition about the best way to resolve those issues. Some of my interviewees sought help from therapists, others opened up with a trusted friend or family member. Some couples just needed to start loving each other again.”

Kelly asks: “I had a subchoronic haematoma in my first pregnancy but was never given an explanation as to why this occurred. Despite this I would like to try for another baby but am wary of what my chances will be.”

Michaela  says: “If you need to know more about your previous condition, it’s important to speak with a qualified medical professional. Address any physical issues that you can. However, we are made up of mind, body and spirit. If you can look after yourself and your partner emotionally, that will also go a long way.”