I have been surprised at how many people have commented on my apparent levelheadedness during the terrorist attack in Brussels airport. Although the absolute fear and terror was running through my mind, my actions seemed logical. I’m surprised, because I just did what I did – and even I am somewhat surprised at my own response. However, I think that it is all mostly about an element of luck. Some people have told me, they believe in some kind of divine intervention (I personally do not believe that, whether god exists or not). The luck was the third suitcase bomb didn’t explode. The luck was that I wasn’t closer. The luck was that the terrorists were ill prepared to carry out a more sophisticated attack. (Apparently, they had been planning more, but for some reason failed to implement it). The luck was that I was in the right place and it simply wasn’t my time to die.
A friend of mine made a really interesting comment about the difference between a man and woman’s propensity to take risk. A woman’s appetite to take risk varies with her menstrual period, where as a man’s appetite for risk remains relatively stable. When a woman is in her ovulatory stage, she is less likely to take risks. Therefore, hormones surely have a role to play in risk taking. So what does that mean for a woman who is going through infertility treatment and jacked up with lots of hormones? Does this mean that a woman’s propensity for risk is heightened or lowered depending on the stage of their treatment, how different would it be compared to if they were in their normal menstrual cycle?
During the attack, I was on Day 12 of the down regulation part of my IVF cycle, preparing for my upcoming stimulation phase. I had already been experiencing some of the side effects from these drugs (I wrote about them in my previous diary entry here). The question I have is – had I not been on these drugs would I have reacted differently to the situation? We will never know the answer, because we will never know what could have been. But it is an interesting question never-the-less!
I can tell you that the feelings and emotions I have been experiencing after getting caught up in the attack are not dissimilar to how I felt after being told our pregnancy was not viable. I’ve experienced random crying over what could have been. Sadness, frustration, anger and numbness – all feelings that have washed over me in the immediate days past these traumatic events. I never thought I could ever liken an impending pregnancy loss to surviving a terrorist attack. But I am, and that is simply how I have been feeling over the past couple of days. I’ve also experienced the overwhelming feeling of love and kindness from friends and family after these events. And I mean overwhelming to the point where I have been dumbstruck.
I anticipate that I might attend some kind of therapy after experiencing what I did this week. The question I have is, why haven’t I been so accepting of undertaking therapy for infertility after our loss and constant failure? If these feelings I am experiencing are so similar, perhaps I should have gone to therapy over our infertility sooner? I don’t know, but perhaps I just didn’t realise the intense emotions and trauma infertility slowly piles up upon us. Or maybe, the reason is because I feel like I have absolutely no control over a terrorist attack, and maybe I *believe* I have some control over my infertility. I think my perspective might have changed over the past week; I know some of you wonderful ladies have tried therapy for infertility and swear by it. Going to therapy doesn’t mean I am weak, it means that I am strong, strong enough to recognise that help is there for the taking.
For those inclined…a couple of journal articles on risk taking and a woman’s hormonal cycle:
Variations in risk taking behaviour over the menstrual cycle: http://people.uncw.edu/bruce/hon%20210/pdfs/risk%20taking.pdf
The influence of menstrual cycle and impulsivity and risk taking behaviour: http://www.ledonline.it/NeuropsychologicalTrends/allegati/NeuropsychologicalTrends_17_Iannello.pdf
7 thoughts on “What’s infertility got to do with a terrorist attack?”
Wow that stuff on risk taking and a woman’s menstrual cycle is fascinating! I had no idea. As for therapy and infertility I highly recommend it. It is only now that I am walking down the hill to the other side that I am able to see how much stress I actually had on me going through the process. I think because we pile it on incrementally we are less aware of the process. Each step is one more pieces of straw which on its own is quite light but when piled with many others is enough to make you buckle at the knees. Look after yourself and your needs. It is so worth it. x
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That’s a great analogy for the stress of infertility 🙂 I have got a couple of recommendations for therapists from the lovely ladies in my local support group…just got to make the phone call now!!! :-s
Obviously few have experienced what you have over the past week but I do think that infertility treatment, and pregnancy loss of course, is traumatic. If you feel it would help, it sounds like a good idea to see a therapist. I’ve had counselling here and there as you can access it for free while in a cycle at my clinic and I’ve found it pretty helpful. That counsellor actually said that IVF has been considered to be as stressful as cancer treatment. Thinking of you as you recover from your experience, and of course your IVF experiences, and I hope you find whatever might help x
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Wow that is quite a comparison!! That’s wonderful you have access to that kind of support throughout treatment. Apparently therapy is offered at my clinic, but no one has ever asked me or told me about it, it is just in some small print somewhere amongst all the paperwork!
There is no shame in therapy. We have all been through a lot walking this path to motherhood that should be minimized. It has been interesting do the homestudy for adoption. Reaching out to a therapist is actually a positive action in the social workers eyes because it shows that you know how to reach out for help in the most trying of times. You are a strong women, talking to someone will only make you stronger.
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*should not be minimized.
That’s really interesting to know about therapy being seen as a positive thing when going through adoption! I think there are many misperceptions about therapy. Working with the military who often are exposed to traumatic events, I hear all sorts of things about how some believe it will negatively impact their career if they see a therapist. Which is not true. I suppose it would be similar misperceptions for adoption too?
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