We are happy to share a great Guest Blog by Kim Murray, RN from Cardone Reproductive Medicine & Infertility in Boston, MA about how to advocate for your health – infertility.
Thank you to Circle + Bloom for allowing us to be part of its Advocacy for Women’s Health series. We are honored to contribute our views.
As infertility nurse specialists, we understand how important it is for patients to be their own best advocate. No one knows you better than yourself, so if something does not make sense or does not feel right, then we encourage you to speak up.
Infertility treatment can be complicated with various tests and procedures. It also can be an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. Many patients feel they have lost control with a process that seems to come naturally for friends and relatives. So becoming an advocate for yourself can be one way of regaining a sense that you still are in charge of your body and emotions.
Though there is not one road map to follow for being your own advocate, here are a few recommendations we advise all our patients to follow:
- Ask questions
Your parents and teachers probably told you there is no such thing as a stupid question. Well, they were right. We realize you probably have lots of questions, so don’t be afraid to ask them. Whether it is during your morning monitoring sessions, instructional phone call or an office visit, we always hope you feel comfortable with us to ask what is on your mind.
- Educate yourself
Remember the well-known saying from Sims, the Boston-area clothing store: An educated consumer is our best customer? We feel the same way about educated patients. Being prepared and knowledgeable are two important characteristics for being your own best health care advocate.
We highly recommend that you educate yourself by reading our instructional materials so you know what to expect during procedures and treatments. It is especially important that you and your partner know how to properly administer your medications. We can suggest books, videos and Websites that will be helpful. We even have a list of great resources on our Website.
We urge you to visit these sites. Of course patient beware: not everything your read on the Internet is reliable, which is why you should start with this list of Websites.
- Involve your partner
If you have a partner, involve him or her. There is no need for you to shoulder the emotional burden of infertility by yourself. After all, you are trying to have a baby so you can build your family with each other.
- Don’t be afraid to seek emotional support if you need it
Joining a support group or seeking the advice of an infertility counselor are two very helpful coping tools. We can provide a list of therapists in the area and your insurance may cover some or all of the sessions. Additionally, support groups can be a great way to talk to fellow patients about the common emotional issues you face, learn from each other about how to better cope with the challenges of infertility and find comfort in meeting people who are walking in your shoes. In fact, Cardone Reproductive Medicine and Infertility is starting our own group on Monday, January 10 at 6:30PM at our Stoneham offices. You can also check with RESOLVE of New England to learn about other groups or even to become a peer support leader.
- Find ways to relax and relieve stress
Relaxation and stress reduction are essential for the mind, body and spirit. Take a long walk, get a massage or facial, or read a good book. The bottom line: take some time for yourself. Additionally there are many options available that have proven health benefits, including yoga and mind/body relaxation techniques. Circle + Bloom has a wonderful series of audio guides that are appropriate for many stages of your infertility cycle, as well as for specific conditions like PCOS. Cardone Reproductive Medicine and Infertility is an affiliate of Circle + Bloom and highly recommends them.
We hope you find some or all of these methods helpful. Have questions? We’re waiting to answer them.