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HELLO HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Here are our top 3 tips for prioritising healthy boundaries, according to one of our senior fertility counsellors, Melissa Stephens.

Every fertility journey is unique, but some things are commonly experienced. The nosy aunt; the well-meaning friend who gives unwanted advice; the in-law with not-so-subtle comments – sometimes this pressure becomes too much. So how do you set healthy boundaries as you navigate through your journey to parenthood?

Here are our top 3 tips for prioritising healthy boundaries, according to one of our senior fertility counsellors, Melissa Stephens.

1. Set limits on the types of questions you’ll answer

If you have a partner, have a conversation about whether you’ll tell people if you’re trying for a baby. It’s important to be on the same page about this, and together you can decide on how much information you’re willing to share. Remember, you are entitled to your privacy and this includes choosing not to respond to questions regarding your family planning. Give an example of how to navigate this. Patients are aware that it’s their choice, but don’t often know how.

2. The art of saying “no” to events

This brings us to the next strategy, and one that’s particularly important for those who are struggling to conceive. Recognise that it’s ok to say no to social events that you feel will be more difficult for you to navigate – whether it’s a friend’s baby shower or a child’s upcoming 1st birthday party. Give yourself permission to decline events that you foresee being difficult to manage. And for those prioritising their fertility by limiting alcohol intake, you can always suggest non-alcoholic activities rather than attending that 30th birthday bash or other parties on the calendar. This means you can avoid awkward questions about why you are not drinking.

One strategy to manage events that you feel you cannot say no to is to let the organisers know that that you already have plans but will stop by for 30 minutes on the way. That way, if you are feeling distressed, you already have an ‘out’.

3. Find peace with the boundaries you set

Remember that the journey to parenthood isn’t always easy, and if you decide to limit those you share your journey with, that’s completely valid. It’s not a secret, it is your health care. Those are two very different things, so find peace with whichever approach you decide to take. You would not be announcing to the world that you are going to have intercourse tonight in the hope of making a baby, so you don’t need to announce treatment either!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing some strategies and steps you can take to mentally prepare yourself (and your relationship) for growing your family.

Let’s explore some strategies for how you personally can set healthy boundaries. Click here for our Boundaries Exploration worksheet.