How do you make the wait on your fertility journey less frustrating?Dec 26, 2022
I’m not the most patient person in the world. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. I’m very impatient, and I like efficiency. When my husband suggests we do two trips to the car when we’re packing to go away on holiday, I literally cringe. Surely, we can carry ALL the bags at once and halve the time spent??!! Some may consider that annoying, but I like a smooth process, and I don’t like to waste time.
So you can imagine what it was like during the 7 years we were struggling with infertility. It was like we were putting our life on pause and twiddling our thumbs.
When you’re trying to conceive and having fertility issues, this journey is made up of wait upon wait upon wait. You wait for your ovulation window, for your partner to get home from work so you can have sex, the freaking two week wait, waiting for test results, waiting for your doctor’s appointment, waiting for your period to start, then for your period to end……
This perpetual state of WAIT would drive me to insanity.
Just to paint the picture for you - I once got sooooo frustrated at my partner for taking too long to provide me with his sperm sample to take to our clinic. I was literally pacing up and down the hallway outside our bathroom door, “checking in” to see if he’d finished yet, or whether he needed some help. As you can imagine, he didn’t really appreciate that.
But what if we could change the way we view the wait? Sure, it would still be super annoying and inconvenient. But perhaps we could remove some of the resentment around it. Instead of seeing everything you can’t do in the wait, let’s focus on the things we can do.
Let me clear first however – this isn’t one of those toxic positive statements saying – just look at the positives. I don’t believe that’s the healthiest thing either. I’m not saying you should disregard or pretend the crappiness of what you’re going through. It’s about reflecting both sides of the coin.
Unfortunately, when things are delayed, we only focus on the negative. But this is about saying that with every delay, there are annoying implications AND positive outcomes too.
How do we do this?
Here’s an exercise I walked through with one of my clients recently, and it really helped her reframe it and release some of the resentment. It even created a little excitement!!
Let’s say you’ve just had an IVF cycle get delayed for a few months. You have every right to be pissed off, and disappointed and angry. Scream, cry, vent and do all the things you need to do in that moment. It’s important that we acknowledge how we feel in that moment.
But don’t sit there. The thing we tend to do (me included) is ruminate on it. We catalogue a list of all the things we can’t do right now, and all the things it is stealing from us. Of course you would prefer to be doing the IVF cycle now, but if you can’t change that, let’s flip the script we’re running inside our brain. Because the resentment will keep you stuck, and it’s not healthy for your nervous system or your mental health.
Take out a piece of paper and write down – “Things we CAN do instead”, at the top of the page. If you’re having a hard time getting started, here are a few examples –
- Have sex with your partner at any time of the month.
- Spend time with your partner without every conversation being about injections or the next appointment.
- Feel like a human instead of a lab-rat.
- Eat food you love, or have that glass of wine, without feeling guilty about it.
- Take time to reset and look after your mental health.
- Go on that holiday you’ve been delaying for so long.
- Go for a walk of a morning or even a run, instead of going into the fertility clinic.
- Focus on the project at work, without having to worry about squeezing appointments, egg retrievals and transfers around it.
- Accepting a dinner invite from a friend, without having to worry about doing your evening injection in the public bathroom.
- Put your clothes on, without having to worry about the hormone bloat.
- Feel a little more in control of your hormones and your body.
- Have a hot bath.
And that’s just the beginning. I’m sure you can think of a lot more things you CAN be doing while not undergoing fertility treatments.
If you’re inside your two-week wait – you may be focused on all the things you can’t be doing right now. But you can actually use this time to your advantage. You can read all about some distractions to do during this time in a previous blog I have written about this HERE.
You can also reframe the language around “the perpetual wait”. Instead of using the word "waiting", let's try some others on for size -
- Taking a breath
- Rebuilding - with stronger foundations
I know it’s not going to remove the disappointment or the raw emotions you feel. But changing the way we view things, and the language we use, can lighten the load in terms of the resentment and fear. Because those are the emotions that keep you stuck.
It is completely possible to LIVE inside the WAIT. Because there are still things that you CAN do (that are extremely enjoyable).
And you deserve to have joy despite being on this journey.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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