Hello!! I have been thinking about this post for a while. Not sure really how many people even read the blog, but if it even gets to one person who finds it helpful (ish) then I would be happy.
If there is one thing I am being forced to be good at, or if not good at, endure, it’s waiting. So. Much. Waiting. Literally years of it! From April 2015 when we so naively set off on this journey, to possibly April 2019 when we will finally start IVF, we have waited. Not at all patiently on my part, either. And it is hard. Everyone else is popping out babies left, right and centre. Even the many women I have virtually befriended on the infertility forums online have, for the most part, moved on and had babies via one method or another. It can leave a girl feeling lonely and isolated and, honestly, quite depressed. And so I present my guide to Surviving Infertility. With capitals.
1. Talk to each other and other people
This is a big one. It is a very tough journey and it can test even the strongest of relationships. And, as I noted above, it can feel very isolating. Friends tell you they’re thinking of trying to conceive and 2 months later they have a positive test to show you. The girl you work with tells you she’s pregnant and they weren’t even trying. Your facebook feed is full of pregnancy announcements, scan pics and babies.
It is so important to tell your partner how you feel. Tell them you’re having a bad day. Don’t expect them to just know this (they won’t, and you’ll get frustrated). Talk about what you are worried about. Find internet forums for women in your position and talk to them, too. It all helps.
2. Don’t be afraid to take a step away
So I realise this seems almost a complete contradiction to the previous point on the face of it, but it isn’t really. Sharing and connecting with others is great, but when times are hard and you are going through a rough patch, don’t be afraid to disconnect. Hide people on your fb feed, even if it’s just temporarily. Step away from the forums for a few days/weeks/months even. It’s ok to feel a bit crap about things and to remove yourself from the situation. Just take care to not become bitter about other people’s success.
3. Step away from Google!
Lord knows I am the worst for googling. I have been known as the Google queen at my past 3 jobs, for good reason. I will google the crap out of everything. But while some knowledge is power, it’s easy to get caught up in statistics and “cures” for whatever your personal cause of infertlity is. There’s nothing wrong with being armed with information, or trying alternative methods, but it’s all too easy to end up googling at 3am when you have to get up for work at 7 (definitely never something I have been guilty of…..ahem. I’ve had to self impose google bans on myself on more than one occasion because I’m driving myself crazy).
4. Distract yourself
When you are waiting months upon months for anything to happen in your infertility journey, it’s easy to be consumed by it all. Everyone else is further along than you are. Everyone else has had successful treatment. Everyone else is on their next Step, while you’re still firmly in limboland with absolutely nothing on the horizon for the foreseeable future. Find something to distract yourself. A new hobby, reading, exercise, anything. I have a habit of spending hours searching forums for success stories or to see what people are doing who are going through it now. For me at least, this can make things worse. So I had to find something to distract myself. I take lots of walks with the dog and when I am in a slouchy internet mood, I go on reddit and find all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff to distract myself with. Whatever it is you decide to do, it will be a healthy way to think of something else while you wait.
5. Have fun!
Lastly, but most importantly, have fun. Infertility sucks. It’s draining. Its emotional. Its hard. Its expensive. It tests your limits. But, especially when you have a long wait ahead of you, it’s so important to make time for fun things. Holidays, days out, time with friends and family…whatever you enjoy. Don’t forget to be you still.
So there you have it. I’m not an expert and these may not work for everyone, but these are my top 5 tips for surviving infertility. It ain’t easy, I have found this whole thing so incredibly difficult for so many reasons, but these are what have stopped me from going insane. If anyone has any more ideas, I would love to hear them!