IVF is incredible… allowing us and so many others to have beautiful families that wouldn’t have been possible 30 years ago. We know how lucky we are.
Staying sane can be hard going through the process of IVF. There is so much to consider and so much that is unknown. And there is stigma. IVF is still considered a taboo subject, even though it is SO common. Bearing this in mind, here are a few things that have helped to keep us from going crazy throughout this process.
7 solutions for staying sane during IVF.
1. Link in with support groups
The internet is a wonderful place to find support groups and people to talk to who are in the same situation. There are a couple of same sex parenting groups we are a part of which have been invaluable. And we recently found one for people doing Reciprocal IVF. It’s incredible the comfort you find in being able to ask questions and see how other people are finding the journey. And just knowing that you aren’t the only ones is a great comfort in itself.
2. Be open with your family and friends
We’ve always tried to be as open as possible when people ask about our IVF.
Sometimes people are surprised at my candour when talking about it. But I really believe it’s one of many subjects that needs to be talked about more openly. If we don’t have dialogue, how can we expects others to educate themselves about it. I usually find that people are genuinely interested in how IVF works, but were afraid to ask because they didn’t want to be insensitive.
“If it’s not visible, how can we expect it to be understood?”
3. Cut out the Stress
It sounds so easy to say ‘don’t stress’…but in actual fact, stress can kill your chances at a successful IVF cycle. So it’s actually crucial to minimize stress levels. So do whatever it is that you have to in order to reduce it. Yoga, swimming, meditation, taking time off from work, asking for extra help from family or friends. Learn to say ‘no’ to things that don’t need to be done now. I have an awful habit of wanting to please everybody and in the past I’ve taken on way too much. But over the years I’ve gotten much better at saying no to things. Especially right now. I have my own health to consider. The most important thing right now is making a baby. So I absolutely refuse to be drawn into stressful situations or pressured into taking on more than I can manage.
4. Be Prepared
The more prepared you are, the easier the process will be. If you leave things until the last minute, or don’t do your research, chances are that you will be more stressed out. *see point number 3* So if you are receiving lots of emails, make a little IVF folder in your email account. Keep screenshots together. Keep a separate IVF calendar and track your periods and take note of medications or changes in your routines. If you are given paperwork, keep it together in a file. Trust me, you will at some point have to refer back to all of this and you will be cursing yourself if you spend hours searching for the results of bloodwork from 2 years ago. True story!
5. Sense of Humour
This is actually one of the most important things for us. Let’s face it, IVF is intrusive. I’ve never had so many people all up in my business, asking so many deeply intimate questions. It becomes normal for someone to be giving you a transvaginal ultrasound whilst complementing the thickness of your uterine lining! So it’s good not to take yourself too seriously. A sense of humour is essential for IVF.
6. Circle of Trust
This is a tricky one. I really think we all need support when going through an IVF cycle, but at the same time you might not want to tell everybody what’s going on in real time. So choose a few people that you really trust and would like to be there for you. Keep them in the loop but ask them not to be constantly asking you what’s happening. Let them know that you will come to them when you need the support. The last thing you need is 20 people asking you if you’ve taken a pregnancy test yet.
7. Boxsets and Playlists
Audrey and I are total TV and music fanatics. When doing IVF for the first time we watched our way through countless box sets. Find a few that you are both excited to watch and it’ll be something to look forward to during all the inevitable waiting during the weeks of treatment. Having playlists of happy music is also great for the car rides to appointments and if you are having days where you might not be feeling the best. Either the cycle might not be going according to plan, or the meds might have you feeling like a crazy person. Either way, prepare yourself with things that are bound to snap you out of your slump.
The most important thing to remember is that life will go on… Regardless of the outcome. Try not to lose yourself in the process of IVF, however hard that might be.
Hope these were helpful, if you have any extra tips for staying sane during IVF or fertility treatment, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.