In 2019, 81,049 people went through IVF in Australia, even with a population of just over 25 million that is a substantial number of people. But it can feel like you are all alone when you are in the midst of a cycle and one of the things I found most helpful was to continue to have a positive mindset as much as possible. Here are the things that I felt were helpful for me:
Keeping it all in perspective
Whilst IVF can seem like everything there are still other aspects to your life, and remembering that can be a helpful tool to not letting it all overwhelm you. Think about the other aspects of your life – your career, your relationships, your hobbies and interests. These things keep ticking off regardless of what is happening in your IVF cycle so find joy and a positive distraction in them.
Today is a new day
Every day gives us the opportunity to start afresh and whilst you may have obligations you don’t have a choice about (well not if you want the outcomes you are seeking), you get to choose what today looks like for you through your attitude, mindset and thoughts. Even if the day doesn’t start off well you get to make a choice to change it whenever you want. To do this I find it helpful to have a circuit breaker of some kind – put on some music you love, eat, drink some water, do some yoga or meditate. Whatever works for you so that you can signal this change.
A break is always an option
Whenever and however that serves you best. It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a cycle or you have already committed to a new one, it is your body and your life so you get to decide if you want this journey to look like. A break might be a day when you don’t think about IVF or a 2-week vacation away from it all. It could even be something you schedule into your daily life e.g. from 2-3pm each day I spend time painting and not being ‘the woman going through IVF’. Find something that feels spacious and light for you and incorporate it into your life.
Build your support networks
I know I have said this before and that is because it is so important when you are going through something as intense as IVF. There are lots of places you can find support – your partner, your family, your friends, online support groups or in-person support such as a counsellor. I want to make a note here that it’s ok to not want to talk to your real-life friends and family. Finding a good support network is all about what works best for you, not everyone else. Think about how you like to communicate best and what you need out of a support network and then find what you need.
Surround yourself with inspiration
One of the things I found most helpful when I was going through IVF was to read stories of others who had been successful. I even read some stories of people who hadn’t succeeded with IVF and had instead gone on to create a family in other ways. I remember the story of a couple who went on to be foster carers and their lives were forever filled with more children than they ever wanted. And another who moved out to the country and created a sanctuary for animals that no one wanted, those animals became their family. I am not saying you need to give up on having biological children but what I am saying is that inspiration can come from many places, so seek out the things that feel inspiring to you and put more of that into your life.
There is no mistaking that IVF can be a difficult journey but I am sure that you know that you are strong enough to go through a difficult journey and come out the other side. The most important thing is that you continue to look after your self during this journey and do everything you can to allow it to bring you more joy than unhappiness.