One of the hardest parts of navigating through infertility journey can be having to cope with social media, other people's pregnancies, baby showers. For someone who has undergone repeated IVF failures or miscarriage, seeing someone's pregnancy announcement could feel like a kick in the gut.
Is it possible to find happiness during your Infertility Journey? How do you stay positive and happy when you are going through so much pain?
Over the years there are certain ways I’ve learned to try and deal with coping with failed IVF cycles, a miscarriage and the persistent ‘Not Pregnant’ window on tests. These little tricks never take the pain away, but they’re hopefully reminders that the way you’re feeling is entirely normal and that you’re certainly not alone, that it is not your fault and that you have the right to be happy.
1. Don’t feel bad for feeling bad
Trying to exude joy for something others have been given that you have been denied is extremely difficult, however the people in your life who know what you’re going through should be compassionate and understanding as to how hard it is for you, so give yourself a break. If you need to put some distance between yourself and the pregnant person for a while, do that. If you need to decline the invitation to the baby shower, do that. If you know something is going to make you feel worse about your own situation there is absolutely no shame in avoiding it. Self-protection is paramount, however don’t alienate yourself from your friends altogether. I find texting is a great way to keep in touch without actually having to face the pregnancy head on.
2. Express yourself
I am a firm believer in expressing your feelings. And there are times when battling infertility where it is perfectly acceptable, if not mandatory, to scream, cry, or just have a good old rant. Sometimes letting it out is exactly what you need to move on. Finding a sounding board be it a friend, family member or even a journal can help you release your feelings and move forward.
3. Create a support circle
It is important to also focus on your mental health during infertility as there will be mental strain during infertility and there will be moments where you will find it is very difficult to cope on your own. When my infertility was first diagnosed the overriding feeling I experienced was isolation. It's so important to have people around you to create a space where they understand your pain. Connect with couples going through infertility, be a part of support groups , attend group therapy sessions. You'll be amazed at how uplifting and cathartic this experience would be.
4. Find a fertility clinic that supports you
It’s so important to have a fertility clinic who will look after you emotionally as well as physically. I can’t tell you the number of couples I’ve spoken to who have had unsupportive fertility clinics, which just makes the journey needlessly harder. Granted, their main job is to assist you clinically, but I strongly believe there needs to be an element of support and compassion that goes along with that. Just a friendly smile, or a sympathetic ear can go such a long way to alleviating some of the worry and heartache couples experience during treatment. Find a clinic that provides infertility counseling and has an inhouse infertility counsellor whom you can talk to through out your treatment journey.
5. Don’t compare your journey with that of other people
This can be very hard, especially in the age of social media overkill where other people’s lives are thrust in our face on a daily basis. However, it’s really important to remember that no two people ever live the same life. And there’s a reason for that; because we all have our own path to follow. Infertility is probably one of the hardest things you can go through in life, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get your happy ending; it may just mean it’s going to take a little longer for you. Meanwhile what else is there in your life you can celebrate? While your friends are dealing with endless nappies and sleepless nights, celebrate being child-free; have a lie-in at the weekend; go out for dinner, enjoy life. Try to make the best of what you have now, and have faith that one day everything you want will be yours.
The most valuable lessons one learns during their fertility journey is that happiness is not something you can pin on your future. Happiness is neither a thing of the past nor of the future. Happiness is your present state of mind and is completely depends on how you choose to be. You have to make a conscious choice to find that silver lining. Happiness can never be found by comparing with someone else or in someone else. Happiness is found inside you. Happiness grows when you make others happy. You need to invest in yourself, practise self love, do things that make you happy. You don't have to put it on hold for some future goal or till your dream comes true.
May be one day soon when you have a family of your own, you can look back at your period of infertility struggle and be glad that you did everything you could to nurture that seed of happiness with in you, and found ways to add hope and joy everyday in-spite of the on-going struggles.