Struggling with infertility? It may be time to listen to that lyrical genius Stephen Sondheim and send in the clowns! No, that's not a euphemism for something dirty.
We mean big shoed, red nosed, face painted, curly haired clowns. The more obnoxiously upbeat, the better. And get 'em in here, stat! A new study out of Israel claims "medical clowning encounters" can increase the chances your IVF treatments will actually result in a baby.
It was a small study -- 219 women, split down the middle between IVF with clown therapy and IVF without the happy face -- but you can chalk this one up there in that "power of positive thinking" category dreaded by all women struggling with infertility. As Amy Kuras, who has blogged openly about her struggles with infertility, has said, telling women dealing with infertility to just relax and think positive is "telling you, essentially, 'you're doing it wrong.'"
Going through the process, having to seek outside intervention to get pregnant, is sad! It's emotionally draining. If someone pulls a Peter Pan and starts telling you to "think happy thoughts," you're bound to tell them you'll do that just as soon as you figure out how to pull Tinkerbell out of your butt. As study author Dr. Shevach Friedler said:
Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are exceptionally stressed.
Get it? Infertility = justifiably cranky people.
But don't write this clown thing off yet. Unless you have the ever popular coulrophobia (fear of clowns) -- in which case you're a lost cause -- this could translate into something very good for infertile couples. Because the scientists aren't telling you to just relax and get happy.
They're telling you a few moments of happiness granted by outside influences is enough to have a positive impact on your fertility. You don't need to change your whole outlook, just let a little light into the darkness.
Go see a movie. Go to a comedy show. Laugh. Just for a minute. It might not work, but what is it they say about laughter being the best medicine? At least you'll forget your pain for a minute.
Image via Stephen Brace/Flickr