The day I realised I would need to go the IVF route wasn’t my happiest day. I had always wanted a houseful of kids and I never thought it would prove difficult. After 15 months of trying my husband and I realised that we would need some extra help. At the beginning of the journey we went in completely oblivious to a lot of things. Although there were people in my life who had experienced the rollercoaster of IVF, I never really understood what I was in for. Perhaps because it can be a difficult subject to talk or maybe you can never truly know until you are knee deep in the journey.
In saying that, this is the blog I wish I had read all those years ago. I am sharing my top tips in the hope that it helps someone else who is just starting this journey:
- The process will be tiresome. IVF is a lot of jumping through hoops and trying to be patient. You will feel like you have no control, and will get frustrated and fed up. And there will be days when all you can do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Two things helped me; keeping the end goal in mind and keeping my eye on the things I could control. For example, self-care, eating well, exercising and low-tox living.
- Your partner is your best friend and worst enemy on this journey. There will be times when you annoy the heck out of each other but like any challenge you face in your relationship this will make you stronger. There is no one else on the planet that understands so perfectly what you are going through, when you feel like pushing them away, trying leaning into them instead. Keep the lines of communication open and be kind to each other.
- Seeing other people fall pregnant and have babies will be hard. I remember the first one felt like a punch in the gut. I wish I had been more prepared for how intense those emotions would feel. Have your support systems ready, the people who you can offload to without any judgement. If it is all too much, it is 100% ok to not go to that baby shower.
- Daily life will be more difficult. There is so much going on during IVF – the emotions, the hormones, the stress. You are going to feel all of this and when you do I want you to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the time and space to process what you are going through.
- It’s ok to talk about it and it’s ok to not talk about. You have to make the decision that feels right for you. Some people find it helpful to share what they are going through with their whole network and for some it is more beneficial to keep things to themselves. Some will find comfort in online communities sharing their same journey. Whichever version you prefer, know that is is ok and it is also ok to change your mind any time.
Before I go I would like to leave you with a list of affirmations that I found really helpful in my journey. I used to write these on little notes and leave them all over the house so I would notice them as I went about my day. Maybe it would be helpful for you to do the same.
- I am strong and can get through the challenges
- I am worthy of love and acceptance
- I find joy in where I am
- I am worthy.
- I am excited for the new opportunities today will bring.
- It’s a new day and I am not bound by who I was yesterday.
- I practice positivity in my life.
- I will treat myself with kindness, patience, and respect.
- I deserve love, life, and happiness.
- My thoughts are peaceful and calm.
- I let go of all negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
- I am grateful for all my body does for me.
- I am proud of who I am.
- My body is fertile and ready to conceive a child.
- I am taking care of my body and mind in the best way I know.
- My body knows what to do.
- Patience and care help my body prepare for pregnancy.
- I feel safe, supported, and loved through my fertility journey.
Above all know this journey is just a small part of your story and you have the ability to navigate the challenges and frustrations.