Fertility- Never give up

Monday Musings

This weeks Monday Musing is short and sweet.

Never Give Up!

My post yesterday was about how life can throw lots of obstacles at you…but if you really want something you need to find the energy reserve to overcome those obstacles and keep fighting for your dreams!

This can be so true when you are experiencing fertility challenges, it can be easy to feel defeated.

I find it helps to keep your eye on the goal – if the road more travelled doesn’t get you there don’t give up – find a new path, a different way to help you achieve your dream!

I hope you all have a great week chasing your dreams!

Fertility Obstacles

Fertility Hurdles

Sometimes the fertility journey can feel more like running a in a race. A really long one. With lots of hurdles.

At times you are flying along, clearing those hurdles with ease. You feel positive, wildly optimistic; blood pumping in a good way- You Can Do This!

Other times you are out of breath, with a massive stitch just barely making it over those damn hurdles which suddenly seem enormous and too close together.

You can feel so fatigued that every step forward is a mental battle in which you have to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place.

This week has been one of those parts of the race for me.

It’s funny how sometimes those hurdles that you know should be the most enormous are the ones you seem to just breeze over…and the ones that should be much smaller can suddenly seem insurmountable.

I think the mind is an amazing thing. It helps you muster strength and stoicism in the moments that you need to Just. Keep. Standing. as the ground crumbles beneath you.

In my experience is there are no free passes. When your mind decides you are ready to process parts of those should’ve-been-enormous-hurdles, the ones that you thought you’d already breezed over, something little pops up to trip you.

This happened to me earlier this year when something small really upset me, and I couldn’t work out why. After awhile I realised it was really about the loss of my ability to conceive naturally.

I’d put a lid on how I really felt about that, as I had also been dealing with the loss of my pregnancy, so it took a back seat to that grief. It was clearly too much to process then, but still needed to be emotionally resolved before I could move forward.

My recent small hurdles have been a series of letters from my IVF Doctor, each announcing a newly identified larger hurdle ahead of me in the race. Each hurdle on its own is not impossible…but I’ve been running non-stop for two and a half years now and right now I’m fatigued.

Somehow yet again I need to dig deep to find the energy reserve to anti-up and face this next round of challenges.

So what do I do to pick myself up and keep running in those weeks where I catch my toes on a hurdle and fall flat on my face?

  • Music – Same as I would to help pump me up for exercising I put together a great playlist – songs that inspire me, tap into my emotions and get me motivated again!
  • Plan! In this process you have so little control. I find taking a step back and making some changes to things I can control helps to make me feel like I am actually accomplishing something. It also helps remind me of why this dream is worth fighting for.
  • I take a day (or more!) OFF!!! There are times when I can’t take a break at particular moment as medication or diet restrictions are vital, but it can be easy to get so focused that I often forget to take advantage of the moments where I can take a break. Have a bloody glass of wine! Eat some cheese! Run! It feels good to slip into my “old shoes” for a while…and inevitably it makes me more motivated to come back to my “new shoes”.

What are some of the tools you use to help you leap over the hurdles in your fertility race?

Hump Day Hints

This week’s Hump Day Hint is a book called ‘Getting Pregnant Naturally’ by Dr Marilyn Glenville.

The book’s tag line is ‘Boost your fertility in just three months- naturally’.

The research out there shows consistently that the three months prior to conceiving can have a massive impact on your fertility, the health of your pregnancy and also the health of your child for the duration of their life.

I discovered this book about 8 months into trying naturally, when I was still very committed to achieving pregnancy naturally, and wanted some support and ways to feel I was being pro-active about trying to do that.

I found this book really helpful not only in the natural conception phase of my path to pregnancy, but I’ve also used it as my options have changed to needing IVF as the book covers a range of scenarios and is suitable to support couples in the pre-trying, actively trying and assisted reproductive therapies trying phases.

What I like about this book is:

  • It isn’t too preachy, or all-or-nothing in its approach.
  • It offers good advice about nutrition, exercise, and mind-body techniques and as well as possible medical causes/solutions for fertility optimisation.
  • Its not full of jargon or hard to digest, and you can pick it up and put it down, reading different sections when it suits you or is relevant to you without feeling you need to read the whole book in order.

If you try it I hope you find it useful!


Monday Musings

A thought to start the week!

For me I think this one applies to all areas of life, but it can feel particularly true when trying to get pregnant, or I’m sure also when pregnant and waiting for that bundle of joy to finally arrive!

When you want something so bad waiting is hard – especially if you are a ‘take charge’ person like me – so finding a good attitude towards patience can be a challenge, but when I achieve it its a challenge I’ve always found to be beneficial…

Have a great start to the week!

Pearls of Wisdom

Ah…pearls of wisdom. The fertility challenged woman’s best friend… said no one ever!

We’ve all been faced with them- many times.

‘Just relax…it will happen when you relax”

“I know this couple and they stopped trying and then they got pregnant straight away”

“Don’t stress, you’re young/healthy- you have plenty of time to get pregnant”

“You’re thinking about it too much, if you concentrate on something else it will all just fall into place”

This list could go on and on….

I’ve found the longer the path to pregnancy stretches out the more times you will hear these Pearls of Wisdom (POWs!), and depending on what you have been facing in that particular day/week/month sometimes they are easier to swallow than others.

I’ve certainly had moments – like when a colleague came to me on my first day back to work after my second ectopic pregnancy and, in what they felt was a caring way, asked me if I thought this was a sign I shouldn’t be having children, and that maybe I should give up entirely or adopt – where my jaw has just dropped at the insensitivity and ignorance that people can display in these situations.

Other times I know I have taken something small and genuinely well meant too much to heart because of what has been going on behind the scenes for me.

Truth is that unless you have been in this situation yourself, you can never fully appreciate what it feels like. Most POWs! come from those who love you, and who are struggling to see you in pain, and genuinely don’t know what to say – so they grab for something clichéd.

So how should we handle it??

Well, I don’t have the perfect answer – there are definitely still times these get to me too!!!! …. But some of the things that have worked for me in the past are:

  1. To educate (politely) my friends and family about what not to say- I’ve found when you explain that these POWs! can actually have the opposite effect to their intention people are often genuinely surprised.   If conversation is not your thing, there are also lots of really good articles and posts to forward on to your loved ones (or serial offenders!) to read and digest – many say it well, but one of my favourites is this: http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.htm
  2. I try to take a deep breath and consider where it is coming from (often easier said than done in the moment!!). Sometimes the person is just a jerk but more often than not it’s my family, friends or sometimes even my partner. They are lost in this with me, just in different ways, and they mean to support me – they just delivered it the wrong way!
  3. I think about all the times I have been in those shoes myself – delivering the well meant POWs! to someone I love – classic example of talking to a single friend who is looking for love – ‘If you stop looking you’ll find him” *cringe……* Knowing I’ve been guilty of giving this sort of “support” helps me to remember not to get up too high on my horse about being on the receiving end of it…
  4. Let it out!! Often you have to plaster a smile on your face and be polite in the moment, but I have my people who I can vent/cry to – my BFFs, my hubby, my mum…. You can never underestimate the importance of a good support community in the path to pregnancy!

What are some of the best (worst) POWs! people have said to you? How do you cope with them? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and learn from your experiences!

Infertility, Fertility, Keep facing your fear

Hump Day Hints

This week’s Hump Day Hint is a meditation tape that has been really valuable to me in my fertility journey- Kathy Freston’s ‘Visualizing Pregnancy’.

I’m a big fan of meditation- it helps to reduce stress, process fear, doubt and to bring your body and mind back together in a more relaxed, positive state.

If you aren’t great at meditating on your own, guided meditation tapes are the way to go, and for me Kathy’s Visualizing Pregnancy was an awesome find – approx. 19minutes run time, easy to purchase through iTunes or amazon and doesn’t cost a bomb!

If you try it I hope you like it!

No Envy, No Fear

No Envy, No Fear. It’s the title of a song I love by an artist called Joshua Radin. The song is about the idea that to live life well and be happy you should live without envy and fear. It’s a philosophy that I like the sound of, and generally in my life I feel I have been pretty good at adhering to (aside from a pathological fear of heights, which is going nowhere!!).

Around the time I first heard this song- the start of 2014 – it struck a cord with me as I realized for the first time in my life I was filled with both envy and fear.

The start of this year was a hard time for me – I was coming off a rough year – 2 ectopic pregnancies, 5 operations, 2 IVF stimulated cycles and the loss of my fallopian tubes. I was still standing, but I don’t really know how. Running on empty, and for the first time in this whole 2.5-year path to pregnancy I was genuinely afraid that I might not have a baby. Ever.

Logic says there is still so much hope for us to have a baby. We are lucky that IVF is a very realistic option for us now that we are no longer able to conceive naturally – but try to let logic sink in to an exhausted, hormonal woman!

The fear I felt was white-knuckled, stomach twisting terror. It was unimaginable. It paralyzed me, I felt completely lost in it. Until then I had never in my 34.8 years even considered that I might not become a mum.

Everywhere I looked there were pregnant bellies, mums with strollers walking down the street, kids playing in the parks with their dads. Normally these are things I love being surrounded by; normally they bring a smile to my face, and hope to my heart- “that’s going to be me soon!”….but suddenly to my horror I felt full of anger – “why them and not me??” and envy – ‘I want what you have so much it hurts”.

I know I’m not alone in this feeling, and in knowing how awful it feels to be living in that state.

The question is how do you stop yourself from going there?

One simple answer that I’ve finally accepted is that sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you need to just feel it, let it out. You need to give yourself permission to acknowledge how hard it is, and that it’s ok to feel crappy about it. The trick for me has been finding the safe place to do this so that you don’t unintentionally take your baggage out on those who don’t deserve it – a good cry in the shower, a long walk or run, a D&M with someone who will listen without judgment.

I also really believe in meditation, yoga and positive visualization. That time of the day to set aside to process my fears, connect mind/body and find hope and belief again has been invaluable to me.

Another thing that has worked for me is try to practice gratitude. It can be so easy in this experience to focus on what I don’t have, what has gone wrong – I’ve found sitting down each night to write down at least three things I am grateful for has been a useful exercise to not let the negatives consume me.

There are still times when, even with doing all of these things, I don’t feel any better….really the only thing to be done at that stage is…. Chocolate!

What are your experiences of envy and fear? What are some of the things that help you deal with those emotions?