The good things in life
When you’re looking to get pregnant, the treatment can absorb you. Staying engaged in everything that interests you and makes you happy will help you keep the right balance
When you’re going through fertility tests and treatments, all your energies are inevitably centred on getting pregnant. Of course, it is heartening to know that you are moving forwards on your journey but this often dominates your life. Having a baby can feel like the only thing that matters, and you may find yourself totally focused on something that you don’t have.
What matters to you?
If you think back to the days before you started trying to get pregnant, there were probably all kinds of things in your life that were significant to you; your partner, your work, your home, your family, your hobbies. Once you know that you’re going to need help to get pregnant, your level of interest in some of these can start to diminish. You may even find that you start to resent some of the things that once meant a lot to you; you may feel that your job causes too much stress which you worry could impact on your fertility, you may not want to spend time with your family if you feel that they don’t understand what you are going through. It is not really surprising that your focus narrows and that your fertility problems become dominant, but at the same time, the other things in your life that were once important may begin to disappear into the shadows.
Trying to maintain some kind of balance can be incredibly difficult when you are trying to conceive, but it really is essential not to neglect the other things which matter to you. Naturally, these may change as you go through tests and treatment and your focus shifts – for example your job may become less important, your partner more so.
Try to remember that it really isn’t the case that all the good things in your life disappear when you are experiencing fertility problems, it’s just that it can sometimes be difficult to see them. You may have a very happy marriage, a lovely home, a fantastic job, a lovely mother or sister, a great friend. You may enjoy sport, travelling, dancing or singing. You may find that you don’t seem to have much mental space or time for the things that once made you happy, but you should not ignore them entirely.
One exercise which can really help you to think more positively about your life is to make time every evening to look back over your day, to find three good things that have happened and write them down. Initially this may sometimes feel difficult if you’ve had a particularly challenging day, but you don’t need to have won the lottery or climbed Everest! These can be really small things that went well, that made you feel better or that you were grateful for. Perhaps you managed to get out of the office at lunchtime for a quick break, bumped into a friend in the street, listened to your favourite music, went to a yoga class, got an email from an old friend, had a long and luxurious bath, slept really soundly at night…
There are any number of small things that happen every day that may seem insignificant but when you look back over a week’s worth of positive moments, you will find that it helps you to feel more upbeat. You may still be on your fertility journey but there are certainly many things in life that you can feel positive about.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.
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