One of the things that women, trying to conceive, have told us is that their ability to laugh as often, and laughter in their relationships just isn’t there any more. There is little energy, interest or motivation to do the fun things they used to do, as trying to conceive takes enormous amounts of emotional and physical effort and energy.
We have noted women in our groups laughing and commenting that this is the one place they feel they can really laugh. It’s as if the group understands the difficulties but allows space for the humour as well. Dr Ali Domar (Assoc Prof Harvard) shares a story about a woman in one of her Mind Body Program groups, who told the story of her unsympathetic husband during her IVF treatment regime. She decided it was only fair that he also experienced the demands and pains of the IVF cycle, so she got him to go through a bogus cycle along with her. She insisted that when it was time for her to inject herself with hormones, he had to inject his buttocks with distilled water. Even when they were out to dinner eating pizza with his mates, at the appointed time she insisted he join her in the bathroom for his shots. Telling this story brought unexpected laughter and tears to the group, lifting everyone’s spirits.
We have known the links between humour and wellness and the benefits of medical clowning for quite a while; do you remember Patch Adams? Now a New York based medical clowning organization is hoping to have positive effects on women and couples undergoing IVF treatment.
The initial study has shown promising results with 36% of women succeeding to become pregnant, compared to only 20% of women who didn’t receive the medical clowning therapy.
Anxiety and stress are extremely high when undergoing IVF, medical clowning and the humour that results, bring about physiological changes relieving stress and making the patient more responsive to treatment. This approach could help to ease the inevitable tension undergoing IVF brings, and lead to better medical outcomes.