A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a Huffington Post Article “Ten things I would tell my past self about infertility”, written by Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg (she has written other posts too). Not only was it an interesting article, but my friend told me “I can be your number 9”. Number 9 in the list of ten things was:
9. Find one person to whom you can talk uncensored. Check in with yourself about what and who feels good. This might be a friend, a counselor, a support group — anyone who can support you unconditionally and isn’t invested in the outcome.
Well of course, my friend already is my number 9 🙂 I’ve got this one nailed already! So what about the other 9 suggestions in the list of Ms Goldberg’s lessons learned?
1. Recognise that the limbo of infertility puts you in an impossible situation. This is something we are totally dealing with right now, with the added limbo on whether we stay in the US or move back to Europe. Fortunately, one of those limbos has been taken away – I have been offered an indefinite contract, so I don’t have to leave the US in December! We have choices. But we don’t have choices when it comes to whether we get pregnant or not! So we are handling it OK right now, better than last week. We will just take one to two weeks at a time. It’s pretty hard work on the abdominal muscles all this limbo business, but you get a good work out, and your muscles only get stronger as time goes on.
2. Feeling sadness will not define your path. I have had a pretty tough few weeks on this front, and I have questioned my ability at work, if I am coping. I even asked myself if I was depressed. I don’t believe I am depressed, but just sad. Being sad is OK. How do I know I am not depressed? Well I just googled it, and I am not depressed, I don’t fit the descriptions.
3. Define and honor your limits. Here Ms Goldberg talks about pressure to try everything on the medical front. It can be quiet easy to go far without questioning medical treatment, for example agreeing to ICSI, agreeing to freezing embryos, agreeing to participate in research etc. We have made sure we talk about it together, but I am not sure Chris and I have the same feelings on how far we go on our path. I think I will feel what I will feel, in the future and I can’t predict that right now, so I don’t want to put a maximum number of attempts, money or time on our path.
4. Listen to your doctor and trust your gut. I’m not very good at questioning a doctor, after all they are supposed to be the qualified ones, right? But I do get gut feelings about people and I have a positive gut feeling about our doctor, even if she seems a little crazy sometimes.
5. Have rote answers prepared for nosey questioners. I have talked about this on two occasions recently, but I think it depends on the situation. It’s a careful balance. This week I caught up with some friends I haven’t seen for a year, and I totally lied to them about what we are going through (I didn’t lie directly, I just avoided the opportune moment to talk about it) and I wish I had just been honest because I know they would have been great about it.
6. For every medical procedure you go through, find a soothing activity for your body. Ahhh a couple of massages I think might be scheduled. Maybe we need to think about this more.
7. Take care of your heart. This is more about protecting yourself from emotional overload moments, like going to baby showers. Well I have decided to tackle these head on. Infertility doesn’t define the me and the type of friend I want to be to my friends. I won’t let it, and it’s worked so far. I will take care of my heart, but I know Chris has got me on this one too. He’s like my cod liver oil or what ever is good for your heart – he is my added protection layer for my heart.
8. Invent a project. Well I have decided to take another online course starting in a week. This will be my project. It will be a useful distraction, I hope, rather than be an added stress.
10. It will be OK, though your definition of OK will change. I tell myself this a lot. Everything is going to be OK. And if I ever doubt this, all I need to do is listen to Chris’s playlist of movie’s all time greatest dramatic soundtracks, like the one below. And everything is going to be OK again. This is my future.