Send in the clowns. Send in the clowns? Huh? Maybe I have finally lost what was left of my mind?
Or not. A small study, published in Fertility and Sterility on January 6, 2011, showed the advantages to laughter when in fertility treatment. What will they think of next? The study, comprised of 219 women, set up for women to be entertained by a professional “medical clown” right after transfer. The success rate was 36% versus %20 who went without the clown.
"Dr. Shevach Friedler, who led the work, said he got the idea for the study after reading about the potential physiological effects of laughter as a "natural anti-stress mechanism."
"Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are exceptionally stressed," said Friedler, who is based at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zrifin."
And let’s face it, in the middle of treatment; getting a good laugh probably takes a clown. Our stress levels are so high that virtually nothing seems funny, pleasant or light. So maybe a guy dressed up in goofy clothes, with a painted smile and orange hair is just the ticket.
It reminds me though of my very special group of Fertile Yoga students, who I adore. We meet on Saturday mornings and we share. We cry, we swear (before Fertile Yoga begins!), we complain, we compare notes, we cry some more, we commiserate, and yes, we laugh. Whether we want to belong to this group or not, these are our people. Infertility crosses all lines, with the commonality of trying to conceive, we all become sisters.
And so we laugh. Sometimes we laugh in the middle of crying. Sometimes we laugh when it is vastly inappropriate. Sometimes we laugh because someone says what we are all thinking. Often we laugh out of sheer relief of being with our people, women who understand, who get it. And I think it helps.
So what if you don’t want to be part of this group? So what if you would rather be part of the having gotten pregnant easily group? If this is the group you are in, for right now, my suggestion? Come join us. We have a good time, we help each other, and we support each other.
And we laugh. And, according to this small study, it can help.
So come join us and have a good laugh.