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The husband and I have been trying to conceive for over two years now. Dealing with fertility issues has been as much an emotional journey as a physical one. In many ways the emotional journey has been more difficult than the physical one. Yes my body has gone through two mini-IVFs and two full ones, which isn't easy. But the physical discomforts are nothing compared to the emotional roller coaster of over two years of trying.
During a process like this taking care of your emotional health is as important as being physically healthy. Everyday I'm learning a little bit more how to support my emotional well being. So, in an attempt to help others who may be going through the same thing this is what I have learned so far:
Prioritize your relationship with your partner. This is a difficult and heart-wrenching process. You will respond to things differently than your significant other. That is why it becomes so important to communicate about your feelings. I had to learn how to open up more and the husband had to learn to let me be sad when I need to be sad.
Have a strong support system. We did not tell anyone we were trying or struggling for a while. Looking back that may have made things even harder. Now that a few select family members and friends know I do feel like when we need it we have support. Every person will need support in a different way. Personally, I want to be able to talk about what is going on when I need too, but not be asked about it all the time. It is a difficult line for my friends and family to straddle. Know if you tell people who you trust well hopefully they will respect your needs.
Allow yourself to feel your emotions. With so much going on it can tempting to swallow your emotions, especially those weeks when you feel like crying everyday. Resist that instinct. Instead allow yourself to feel your emotion, whether it is sadness, jealously, disappointment, anger or hope. Feel it, experience it, and if you need to let it go. If you don't acknowledge your emotions they will end up balled up in your body restricting you. This is something I struggle with and I am actively trying to get better at acknowledging where I am rather than burying it deep.
Explore alternative therapies. That could be yoga, meditation, visualizations, acupuncture, and/or group therapy. At a time when having low stress levels are vital, the experiences you are going through cause stress to skyrocket. That is why it is so important to find a way to deal with your stress. Many alternative therapies have been proven to aid in fertility as well. I engage in yoga, meditation & visualizations, and acupuncture. I also just had a session of Reiki which I found incredibly powerful. I find that they help me keep my stress low and be more in tuned with my body and my emotional health.
Trust that this process is making you a better parent and person. It can be hard to deal with fertility issues when it seems like everyone around you is getting pregnant. You need to let yourself trust that what you are going through will make you a better parent and person. Let me be clear, I am not saying that those who do not have to struggle with fertility are not good parents. I'm saying that I need to trust that this process is teaching me how to be a better parent than I would have been when my turn finally comes. Life is about the process and I choose to trust in this process.
Do something to make yourself happy everyday. This is so important. Do something not related to fertility that makes you happy. It is too easy to get consumed by fertility. It is important to have other things in your life. You may go crazy if all you think about is the time when you will finally get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby. Life continues to happen as you work towards that goal so be sure to spend time enjoying each day as it comes.
Don't be too hard on yourself. This is probably the hardest recommendation. In general, I find that we all tend to be hardest on ourselves. Just as we practice forgiveness for others we have to practice it for ourselves. It is easy to feel like your body is failing you. Instead of focusing on the negative and being angry with your body be forgiving and then work towards getting your body and your emotional health where it needs to be. I strongly believe there is a strong connection between our mind and our body. Work to enhance that relationship for the better.
It is not easy, but it is worth trying. It is always worth trying.