The millisecond your great aunt’s neighbour learns you are struggling to conceive, outcomes the advice ranging from, “It will happen when you’re not trying” to “drink cinnamon water every day.”
It is emotionally draining.
The self-doubt is hard enough – ‘all my other friends are pregnant, what’s wrong with me? So when your medical practitioner recommends you seek help from the fertility experts – it can feel like yet another emotional setback to process.
The fertility treatment emotional rollercoaster
Contemplating fertility treatment – be it IVF, natural IVF and everything in between –is a yin and yang of emotions veering between hope and excitement to fear and disappointment (plus a dictionary-full of other adjectives we haven’t listed here). But you are not alone and there are steps you can take that will help:
1. Choose who you want to journey with
Just as you select the partner with whom you want to raise a child, you should view your fertility clinic in the same light. Yes: success rates, treatment approaches, legislation and costs are important, but you also want to work with a team of fertility specialists that tackle the science and keep an eye on your mental wellbeing too.
2. Keep your partner in focus
If you are in a relationship, it is important to keep the lines of communication as open as you possibly can. You’re both experiencing one of the most challenging (and thrilling) times of your lives. You may not always be on the same emotional page, but feed your relationship with attention, love and acceptance.
3. Skip the unwanted advice
While one’s friends and family are obvious sources of support, sometimes getting unsolicited advice or tales of other people falling pregnant does more damage than good. Handpick a VIP group of people who you feel you can really trust with your feelings and gently shut down any other commentary around fertility. It’s time to put your well-being first.
4. Outsourcing the support
There are times when it may be beneficial to seek support from outside your circle of trust. Your partner is most likely struggling with the same bag of mixed emotions too and it can be good to get neutral advice from a professional. Speak to your fertility specialists for recommendations on who best to talk to. There are excellent counsellors and psychologists out there who can help you stay positive while managing anxiety, relationship issues, multiple failures and grief. A good clinic will more than understand how important it is to balance science with emotions and will go the extra mile to make sure that your journey to motherhood is as natural and positive as it can possibly be.
So, as hard as it is, (try) to go with the flow…
While there is no doubt that going through the fertility treatment process, whether it be IVF, natural IVF or anything in between, can be a journey of highs and lows, know that in the long run it will be worth it. A child is a gift no matter how it arrived into this world. And even if you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for, you owe it to your future self to know that you did all you could. The success rates are out there and there is always a reason to hope.