What do you think about when I say that word?
Do you think about your Luteinizing Hormone surge and how it triggers ovulation? Do you think about your Follicular Stimulating Hormone and how it stimulates the ovary to produce an egg? Do you think of progesterone and how it might be preparing your uterus to getting pregnant and sustaining a pregnancy?
Perhaps the word hormone triggers a different response altogether. Do you think of the junior higher with acne and her first experience with a menstrual cycle? Do you think of how you snapped at your husband last week days before your period was going to start which was not in character with you, but totally indicative of your menstrual cycle? Maybe you think of the hot flashes that keep you up at night?
Thanks to the technology of Pearl Fertility, we have the ability to simply test our urine from the comfort of our own homes to know exactly what is going on with our Follicular Stimulating and Luteinizing Hormones on any given day. Amazingly enough, you can also monitor your progesterone to give you a full overview of what your body is up to each and every day.
But what about those mood swings? Hot flashes that leave you dripping? Unrelenting irritability? Anxiety and depression you may only experience certain times of the month? What about the anger? Oh, the anger.
While all women experience the physiological hormonal changes, some women experience the emotional side effects very differently. Whatever you experience, the question is: what do we do with them? How can we handle them? We have been victimized by them for a better part of our life and have to continue the monthly fight to not let them run the rest of our lives.
Self-care is a deliberate and individual practice that we do to take care of our personal, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Society often sends us messages that self-care is selfish. Let’s just stop that thought right now. I think it’s often selfish to ourselves and those around us to not practice self-care.
In the same way that we all experience hormones differently, we will all practice self-care differently. You may already engage in regular self-care practices. In case you don’t, let’s talk about a few self-care practices that may help you survive your monthly hormones:
1.) Get proper sleep - at least 8 hours a night
2.) Eat right - Your gut health can have a huge impact on your mental health
3.) Move your body - Yoga, Crossfit, running, whatever works for your body
4.) Implement boundaries - Keep out what needs to stay out. Keep in what needs to stay in.
5.) Go outside
6.) Spend time with a support person
7.) Find a therapist or a coach - The Missing Peace Project has coaches waiting to help with your fertility journey (www.themissingpeaceproject.com)
8.) Practice mindfulness
9.) Date your partner
10.) Use Peace (In)Fertility to help you through your fertility journey (www.themissingpeaceproject.com)
Make an agreement with yourself that you will implement two or three self-care practices during the difficult times of your menstrual cycle.
You are worth it.
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Cathie Quillet, LCMFT
Cathie Quillet has been working with couples struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss for years as a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Tennessee. She is the author of the book "Not Pregnant: A Companion for the Emotional Journey of Infertility" and is the founder of The Missing Peace Project. She is a certified therapist by the American Association of Reproductive Medicine and furthermore a member of the National Infertility Association RESOLVE.