I’m undergoing treatment… But my life goes on!
The fertility treatment process shouldn’t alter your life excessively or force you to put off vital projects that are important for your well-being
When you are focused on trying to get pregnant, it can be tempting to put other aspects of your life on hold. You may feel that you want to delay things if you know you are going to be starting fertility treatment sometime soon, and many different aspects of your life can be affected by this, from holidays to work, lifestyle and even your home.
The impact of waiting
When you are waiting to have treatment, you may find that you don’t feel certain about going for a promotion at work or about applying for a new job – perhaps because you are concerned about taking time off work for treatment or because you’re hoping you’ll be going on maternity leave soon. You may not want to book a holiday overseas, particularly if it is an action break such as skiing or if you are flying long haul to an exotic faraway location, as you may be worried whether you’d really want to go if you got pregnant in the interim. You may put off training for a marathon because you wouldn’t want to do it if you were expecting a baby, or delay moving home or making other lifestyle changes.
It’s your life
Although there may be certain things that it is only sensible to postpone when you are about to start a cycle of fertility treatment, there are others that might actually help you to go through the cycle more smoothly. That’s why it is always a good idea to think carefully before automatically putting things off just because you are trying to get pregnant.
Having a fulfilled life will help you during your treatment, and ensuring that you don’t forget the things that you enjoy in life is really important. It may be that there are some things you could adapt or do slightly differently. With others, you may find that if you think about it carefully, perhaps it wouldn’t make such a difference even if you were pregnant in a few months time anyway.
If you put off any changes or challenges, you may start to feel resentful and this can lead to additional pressures. Remember that if you make plans and then discover that you are expecting, the worst that will happen is that you might need to alter them!
Finding things that you enjoy
Another thing that can really help with the sense of feeling that your life is on hold is making time for something new that you’ve always wanted to do. Whether you’ve secretly wanted to take up pottery, learn Mandarin or volunteer with a local charity, this can be a good time to make space for something you’ve been meaning to get around to. Learning a skill or enjoying a new experience can give a depth and richness to your life that will help you to feel that you are still able to move forwards while you are having fertility treatment. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a new hobby or pastime – just giving yourself space for any of the things that you know make you happy can help.
Make sure you are leaving time to spend with your partner too so that you can focus on some of the things that you have always enjoyed doing together. It may be a trip to the cinema or a meal at a local restaurant, but spending quality time together will help you to feel more contented.
Finally, don’t forget that seeking professional support can make a difference too. If you feel stuck in a rut, making an appointment to talk to a counsellor or therapist is a positive step, and may allow you to find a new pathway and to feel you are moving forwards.
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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