Through this, I’ve read some blogs on how to survive infertility and not get totally consumed by it. I figured that I may as well add another to the blogosphere while we sit and wait to find out the results of our tests. Note: these are the things that have worked for me and while I hope they may bring someone else peace, they may not. We’re all just doing our best, right?
1. Get yourself some knowledge. I am still shocked by how little I actually knew about my body. Understanding how things worked did help me feel like we weren’t just blindly throwing darts at a target. Obviously, this should be done early in the TTC journey but is still a helpful step. I recommend Taking Charge of your Fertility and if you do end up having troubles, The Infertility Cure for an Eastern perspective on things.
2. Get a thermometer. Use it. Throw it away. After getting myself some knowledge, I got myself my thermometer and started religiously tracking my temperature. This was very helpful, for a while. It helped me understand my cycle better and provide more information the the professionals who had been helping me. I tracked it for a few months and then ultimately stopped because I really felt like I was getting obsessive about it and not in a good way. I’m sure that some people can do that and not go crazy about it but I am not one of those people. I started looking for explanations every time my temperature changed or didn’t when it was supposed to. Ultimately, I felt like I had gotten the information that I needed and it was hurting more than it was helping, so I stopped. I always know I can start again but I am liking not having the daily reminder about where I am at in my cycle.
3. The little things. I know, I know, I sound like a broken record. But taking time to look at the little things in life does provide a reminder that there is a life beyond TTC and that it is worth living.
4. Hobbies. A lot of blogs talk about the benefits of having things on the go outside of TTC and I would agree. While I sometimes had moments of feeling like gardening was a waste of time in comparison to being a mom, those hobbies have provided a welcome distraction to just sitting and waiting for things to happen. It gives you things to do, a sense of satisfaction, and other things your mind can focus on while procrastinating at work!
5. Positive self talk. OK this one sometimes feels a bit awkward but it really has helped. So much of this journey is plagued by negative emotions so I have tried to counteract this by forcing myself to think positively. When I see a pregnant woman, I can’t help but feel some jealousy but then I follow those thoughts up with ‘and one day that is going to be me’ or ‘I can’t wait to be in her shoes.’ By making myself say those things when the negative thoughts start to creep in, it gives them less time to take hold and I ultimately spend more time thinking about the positives. It takes some time to get into that habit but then eventually it starts to happen automatically!
6. Talking about it. I am an over sharer so this comes naturally to me and others may not want to do the same but talking to my friends and family really has helped. It means I can talk openly about the tests and appointments I have on the go and will hopefully have set the stage if we do need to go through more involved programs to be able to talk to them about that too. I have also talked to my family about it, which has allowed me to talk to my mom about the struggles she went through in trying to get pregnant. An added benefit is that they don’t bug me about whether we are pregnant yet.
7. Blog about it! Blogging has provided me with a forum to get out those thoughts that had just been rolling around in my head about this stuff and even better, provided a community of support. It has helped me find other blogs that serve as inspirations and is actually another distraction from this all. I find I’m focusing on how to write about things instead of just obsessing about it. Then, after I write about it, I also find I am able to move on better than I had before. And, of course, having people write words of encouragement is pretty awesome too.
8. Feel sad and then fight for happiness. All of us experiences negative emotions at some point on this journey, whether it’s the disappointment of getting your period or experiencing miscarriages, so being sad is unfortunately going to be a part of things. For me, I have tried to really feel it when I’m in it. I let myself cry, be sad, be angry, be disappointed. I wear it like a sweater and just give in to my feelings. But then, at the end of the day, I start to fight for my happiness. It is hard and can be tough to shake that tornado of emotions but I put on my armor and start to gear up to get back to being me. I force myself to look out my window at the beauty in the world; I ride my bike to get the endorphins going; I buy a new pair of shoes to treat myself; I give my husband a big hug to remember our love and how lucky we are. Even though these things may at first feel awkward, I keep forcing myself and fighting to get out of my funk. Although I know I have every right to those negative feelings, I remind myself that they ultimately don’t help and that wallowing in my funk will make it that much easier to make those feelings my permanent address. So I keep fighting and eventually I always manage to pull myself out of it. Fake it till ya make it, am I right?
So these have been my strategies. They have worked (so far) to keep me relatively sane. Any others I should add to my repertoire?