Should you hope or not on your fertility journey?Nov 09, 2020
TO HOPE OR NOT TO HOPE ON YOUR PATH TO PREGNANCY?
It’s the big question. The silent struggle in our mind when we approach our natural, IVF or IUI cycle, when we take that pregnancy test, or when we finally fall pregnant.
DO YOU HOLD HOPE?
Hope is something we approach with trepidation.
We’re told we need to be positive, but if things don’t go according to plan, it hurts like hell.
And then we become superstitious – if I announce it to the world, will that have an effect on the result? Will I jinx the result if I make the wrong move?
For the bulk of my fertility journey, I buried HOPE deep inside - I was terrified of it!!
I figured if I didn’t hope, I wouldn’t be so devastated if it didn’t work.
But as much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong!!!
Every disappointment, every failed IVF cycle, every egg retrieval that resulted in zero eggs, every miscarriage hurt like hell. The disappointment and grief were there regardless of whether I let hope into my heart or not.
There were two moments on our 7-year fertility journey that changed everything for me. Moments where I realised that hope was not something to hide from, but something to embrace.
The first was when our beautiful surrogate had a miscarriage, and the second was when I had my own miscarriage 9 weeks after our little boy was born (that's a whole other story!).⠀
On reflection, while traumatic and some of the darkest moments in my life, these events were also beacons of hope.⠀
Up until this point, we had never seen two lines on a pregnancy test. For all we knew, we were throwing shit at the wall, just waiting for it to stick. We had no idea whether what we were doing would work, apart from the statistics that were provided to us. This is one of the frustrations with unexplained infertility.
But we fell pregnant! Sure, it ended in a big fat failure, but we focused on the win.
After that first miscarriage, we came back stronger and more determined than ever. We’d had a taste of what it felt like to fall pregnant, we had rediscovered HOPE, and we were going to get there again no matter what! A couple of cycles later, we fell pregnant with Luca. ⠀
While our second miscarriage was hands down one of the lowest points of my life, it was proof that I could actually fall pregnant myself. According to the doctors, I had a 0.01% chance of ever falling pregnant naturally. That’s exactly why we put our beautiful surrogate through years of treatments.
But here I was, with a 2-week-old baby in my arms and a positive pregnancy test. It felt absolutely amazing and we dreamed of another miracle in our life. My miscarriage at 9 weeks was devastating, to say the least. But once again, it rekindled a HOPE that up until then, we never knew existed. I never gave up hope after that, and 6 months after that heartbreak, I fell pregnant with Sophie.
So here are some questions I’d like to answer for you based on my own personal experience with hope and infertility –
Why do we fear hope when trying to conceive (ttc)?
Our mind craves certainty. We don’t like the idea of not being sure whether something will work or not. We feel uncomfortable when there is something we are unable to make happen on our own. So the part of us that wants to control, doesn’t like to hope. We also associate hope, with pain……..
Does a negative pregnancy test or a miscarriage hurt more if you hope than if you don’t?
Here’s the thing – infertility hurts like hell. The beginning of an IVF cycle, having sex at the right time, a positive pregnancy test is like standing at the bottom of a ladder. When you hope, you climb up that ladder and the view from the top is glorious and feels absolutely amazing. You bask in how exciting things are. Then when it doesn’t happen, you jump off that ladder and free-fall through the air to the bottom of the ladder. You hit the ground hard and it hurts. Does it hurt more the further up that ladder you are? Sure you have further to fall, but the ground is just as hard. From my experience, it doesn’t hurt any more or less. But when you don’t hope, you miss out on that amazing view. And on this journey we could all use a beautiful outlook to balance out all the shit times, even if it’s just fleeting.
Can having hope affect the outcome of a pregnancy or IVF cycle?
Do I believe that because I held hope, this is what made good things happen to us? No, I don’t. Likewise, I don’t believe that you can “jinx” the result. But I do believe that the mind is a very powerful tool. And if you go into an IVF cycle or a pregnancy believing that it WON’T work, you’re probably right. For me, hope helped us move through our pain and perceive it in a new way.
How do you maintain hope on your fertility journey?
The million dollar question!! Instead of focusing on what went wrong on our fertility journey i.e the miscarriage, we focused on what went right. We got pregnant! Maintaining hope is all about trusting that what will be, will be. It’s about surrendering your plans and expectations, and trusting that your beautiful baby will come to you when the time is right.
I believe you can find HOPE in the darkest of places.
HOPE is what will get you through the heartbreak.
HOPE is what will force you to pick yourself up when you get knocked down. ⠀
HOPE is what will drive you to keep trying until you get to the end. ⠀
Because without HOPE, we have nothing. ⠀
Not sure how to get there? Jump on one of my free 30 minute support calls.
You can hear a little more in my YouTube interview with Michelle Hillier about mindset and fertility here.
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