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Infertility – the heartbreak of waiting

Feeling like a failure
November 1, 2016
Coping after a failed transfer
March 16, 2017

When I was going through treatment I found all the waiting was unbearable.

It already feels like you have been waiting forever to have a baby, and then you have the waiting time for appointments, your cycle to start, waiting for egg collection and transfer, then the dreaded two week wait. Each additional day you have to wait can seem difficult and that it is extending the time till you finally have a baby. Try to remember it is all to increase the chances of you finishing the process with a baby, so is worth it.

If you are finding the waiting difficult, here are a few ideas to help fill the time and reduce the waiting agony.

Reduce your time on Google and social media (especially in the 2 week wait)

Many women have a tendency to obsessively Google symptoms, trying to work out what is happening with their bodies. That kind of relentless worrying is linked to anxiety and depression, and will only make you feel worse, as you are not able to confirm or disprove symptoms.

Social media can also have a negative affect on your well being whilst struggling with infertility. While you seem to be forever waiting for something to happen, putting other areas of your life on hold, everyone else appears to be moving on with their lives – promotions, new homes, babies, engagements.

Try to remember that people tend to only put positive things on social media (the things they want people to see) so don’t compare your life to theirs. If you find it difficult to see, it may be worth taking a break from social media during times you need to stay more relaxed, and turning off notifications from certain friends or groups if their posts upset you.

Distract yourself (as much as is possible)

Plan in lots of activities that you enjoy to make the time pass quicker and give you something to look forward to. They don’t have to be expensive, going through fertility treatment is extremely expensive, so every penny counts.

It could be a weekend away camping, friends round for tea, a boxset marathon, time to read a new book, time out to do your favourite hobby.

Write it down

Writing a journal can be a useful tool to help you deal with your emotions. Sometimes you may feel unable to voice your thoughts for fear of being judged or upsetting your partner.

A journal allows you to put all your thoughts in to a safe place so you can process them and get them out of your head. It will also be something to look back on to see how far you have come, and remind yourself of how strong you are.

Allow yourself sad days

Every month when your period comes feels like a loss, you should give yourself the time and space to accept this sadness. If you feel sad, be sad. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

Talk to a friend, your partner or support network, then pick yourself up ready for the next step. If you find you are feeling very sad or depressed on a regular basis, it is worth making an appointment to talk it through with a counsellor so you can get the extra support you need.

Breathing techniques

Breathing is a great way for managing anxious thoughts and bringing yourself out of a stressed state. When you feel yourself getting anxious you can do a breathing technique to calm your self down, bring your heart rate back to normal, and allow yourself to process the stressor before you react (for example if someone makes an inappropriate comment, or you receive some bad news). They are like mini relaxations. It is important to practice these when you are not anxious, so you can use it effectively when you need it.

Be consciously altruistic

We spend a lot of time throughout treatment being hyper aware of our bodies and mind (looking for signs of pregnancy, looking for signs of our period coming, being aware of worrying and thinking we should be calm). It is good for us to spend time focusing on others – it takes your mind and focus off the treatment, puts a bit of perspective on things, and is good for your well being.

Various studies show that volunteering improves physical and mental health – as well as helping others. You could maybe help an elderly neighbour with their shopping, volunteering at a charity, helping a friend move house.

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