Saturday, April 2, 2011

Staying Sane During Fertility Treatments

I have been asked by a few people why I would put myself through this. You radically increase your hormone levels, put yourself at risk for health issues, put you and your spouse under immense emotional and financial stress, and they ask all for what? For the miracle of creating a life that came from us. For achieving my ultimate dream of becoming a mother, something I have always wanted to be. I have said each time I will do what it takes to have a baby. I will go through as many IUI's as they see necessary before trying IVF as many times as they think will give us the best shot. If none of these attempts work, my husband and I would like to adopt, eventually. What then, can a woman do, during all of this chaos, waiting and sometimes isolation to stay sane?

The answer, whatever you want and/or need to do for you. Each previous attempt, I would rush right back to work because I had a not so understanding boss. I would pretend I was fine, happy and it wasn't really bothering me to go through all of this. I felt compelled to keep up the normal routine of life to distract me. Well, that didn't work because I was distracted, not fine and my emotions changed by the hour. What I needed to do to "relax" was stop what I was doing. Not worry about my crazy boss, pretending to be fine or worry if I was going to offend someone or come off as "bitchy" at any time. I should have carried around a sign that said, "I apologize in advance for anything I say or do or any emotions that may arise at any time that seem to you unwarranted." To stay sane, I needed to stay away from my normal routine. I felt angry at times that people were just going about their business when I couldn't. I was stuck, just waiting to see if I would be pregnant.

There are many things women can do to "relax". I use that term lightly because who can really relax and be completely calm during these times?? Not all of them for work for every woman. You have to decide what's best for you.

One of the biggest ways I plan to use in the future is meditation. I have found several nature Cd's  that help to really calm my nerves when I'm stressed. They have classical music in the background of birds chirping and waterfalls, etc.  I plan to listen to those first thing in the morning and last thing at night to begin and end each day in a calm way. Whatever music you like, listen to it. FYI--I did a science fair project in eighth grade that proved any music you personally like, be it heavy metal, classical, rock, etc, can soothe your soul if that's what you prefer! I tested heart rates and everything so take my word for it!

The next, and probably most important thing to me, is to rely on God. You can't pray away your situation, you can only pray for him to get you through it. I have a fantastic daily devotional that I read every morning, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Yes, it is extremely hard to "give it up to God" and not worry, but at least try! It can't hurt.

The third mechanism for me to stay sane is to not work. I don't need the added stress. Not to mention, I watch small children for a living and that would be somewhat impossible while on bed rest. I know not all of you have this option, I feel very fortunate that my husband is willing and able to let me do this. This has to be the second biggest factor in me being able to relax. I highly suggest, if at all possible, planning lots of vacation time around your attempts to lessen your load!

Another option to reduce stress for me is reading. I love to read. It's an escape for me when I'm not going through treatment, so I will definitely be reading during the whole process. I have a Kindle and I'm all prepared to use it!

All of us will watch numerous movies and TV shows to "tune out" for a while. Just be careful what you're watching! If you missed it, check out my earlier post on some of those shows!

Love on your pets if you have any. They are your "kids" right now anyways, correct? Be careful on this one as well, larger dogs could hurt you! I unfortunately won't be able to be around my two pups because of how excitable they are around me. We don't want any ruined embryos or ruptured cysts!

Make your husband give you mini massages if he doesn't already. My poor husband knows this technique all too well. I carry all my stress in my upper back and neck. The poor guy gets sore hands from trying to relieve all that stress for me. Check with your doctor if you want to go get a massage from a massotherapist!

If you really want to shop online! Nothing like a little retail therapy to lift your spirits and release those endorphins when you're down.

Mani/pedi. Need I say more?

This one's a little dorky, but it works for me. Puzzles. I  love solving puzzles. It could be actual puzzles, or word searches, crossword puzzles, sudoku, etc. If it helps, do it!

Talking it out. Talk to someone who will listen! Yes, of course your husband, but even sometimes he doesn't want to listen. Someone who is a true friend who may not even understand what you're going through, but is at least willing to hear you out and help calm your fears and anxieties (both of which, I have many!).

To do the above mentioned suggestion, you may want to join websites like Resolve and Inspire. I have links to both of those on the right side of my page. There you will find all kinds of infertile women, just like you! Inspire has been a huge confidence booster for me. There are women who get it and will cheer you on each and every day. It's fantastic!

Spend quality time with your husband where you aren't talking about what's going on with your ovaries. Find something that both of you can do together. That helps you, him and your relationship survive this stressful time.

If you are having a really hard time finding ways to pass the time and keep your mind off it, just resort to stalking people on Facebook and Twitter! (Partially joking)

In all seriousness, it is up to you. What makes you calm and relaxed may not be what does the same for me. If we all could, I would say take a vacation to somewhere tropical. But flying isn't good for the situation!


  1. If you want/need some new music for your meditation, let me know - I have some you may enjoy. Also, don't forget that I have some pretty good listening ears, too, and am ready to use them at any time :0)

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