No one wants to be thinking about their next IVF cycle, after all, having to do another one means that the previous one failed and that is always a tough place to be. But getting into a good mindset before stepping into Day 1 can be a really beneficial thing to do. It helps you feel more in control of the process and can lessen the stress you and your partner experience throughout.
I have gathered some tips on how to prepare yourself both mentally and emotionally for your next IVF cycle. Like everything in life, I invite you to take what is useful from this list and leave behind what is not helpful.
- Plan the month ahead. – Look at your calendar and the events you have coming up. It’s ok to say no to the ones that you think are going to be difficult for you. Especially consider which part of your cycle you will be in and what emotional and physical demands are already going to be on you at that time.
- Allow some time to grieve the previous cycle. – It may be tempting to jump straight into the next round but at least give yourself some time to consider if you (and your partner) need a break. If not, it can still be useful to take some time to acknowledge your feelings about the last cycle and have time to come to terms with that journey.
- What will you need over the coming month – There will be things you need less of and things you need more of and this is different for everyone so consider what it is for you.
- Find some relaxation. – I’m pretty sure there are few people who need less relaxation in their life but what does that mean for you? Is it restorative yoga, group meditation, more solo walks in nature? What are the things that feel like a calming activity for you specifically?
- Finances – I am sure you know by now that IVF isn’t cheap so it’s always a good idea to crunch the numbers at the beginning of each cycle and make sure that your budget is still on track. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees which cycle will work so the costs of IVF are always a moving target. However with a good, updated budget you at least know where you stand and can adjust other areas of your spending accordingly, meaning you don’t have to stress as much about the unknown.
- Know that it is different for everyone. – All of our IVF journeys (and conception journeys in general) are going to look a bit different. When you are comparing your story with others just remember that it is not better or worse, it’s just different. Getting caught up in comparison is going to lead you down a long road of negative thinking and just isn’t helpful.
- Think of each cycle as a new opportunity. – Ok, I know this is easier in the beginning and if you are getting into multiple cycles it can feel difficult. But each cycle is one step closer to reaching your dream. You started this journey because it was important to you, keep the end goal in mind.
- Plan for different scenarios. – Now I don’t want you to spend hours going through every possible thing that could happen, but it can be beneficial to spend some time with your partner going through different situations that could require a decision from you in advance. This way you can make an easier decision on the spot. For example how many embabies do you want to transfer? Does this number change based on how many eggs are collected or how many make it to a certain point?
- Decide what you can control and what you can’t. – The things you can’t control are not worth taking up your time worrying about. I know it’s tricky to just ‘not worry’ but a useful tool can be to pop them aside in a bubble knowing that they are there if things change and you need to deal with them, but they don’t have to take up the present moment.
I hope these strategies are useful for you. If you have some extra ones that you have found work really well for you, please share them in the comments below.