Tuesday, March 8, 2016

10 Ways to Cope with Infertility

Welcome to another Let's Talk Tuesday! When I first shared my fertility story, I was so humbled and uplifted by all the sweet comments and emails I got from you all! I had some people reach out to tell me their story and gave me some hope for my own, some who wrote simple words of encouragement, and some who truly related to me and thanked me for sharing - seriously, thank you guys!!

This is a topic I want to continue to write about for a few reasons: It's dear to my heart, it's something I'm passionate about, and because I hope it will encourage and inspire other people who are going through infertility. So today, I wanted to share a few ways on how to cope with infertility. I am by no means an expert on this, and I struggle daily with some of these myself, but I have learned some things along the way that have helped me accept and deal with my struggles, so lets talk -

1. Talk to someone about it.
I don't know why, but for some reason I feel like people who are going through infertility feel like they shouldn't talk about it. I don't know if it's a weird topic for people because it revolves around sex, or because they are embarrassed to be having issues with fertility in general, but I do know that once you talk about it, you feel so much better. It's just nice to be able to share your hardships with someone who cares. There is nothing wrong with wanting to express what you're going through. I know that some people are just totally private about their personal life, and I get that, but consider opening up to someone - it will make a difference.

2. Keep a journal.
I keep a personal journal where I write down how I'm feeling, what medicines I'm on every month, dates of different doctor appointments, etc. It helps to keep track of everything - especially how you're feeling. Write those feelings down, because they matter. This is a chapter of your life, and although it may not be the happiest chapter, it is a crucial chapter - so record it.

3. Communicate your feelings with your spouse.
Chris is the most positive person I know, and while that is usually a good thing, sometimes you just need to be "down in the dumps" for a few moments - this is something we struggled with a few months back. I would keep my feelings in because I wanted to stay positive like him all the time, and in return, he felt like he had to be the strong one of the family - so he was always showing his optimistic side. We weren't communicating how we really felt, and it started to lead to some unnecessary fights that were coming from frustration. I thought, because he always seemed to be so cheerful, that the negative tests month after month weren't really hard for him as they were me, and he thought that I wanted him to always be positive to bring me up. One night, we finally let it all out, and I explained to him that sometimes I just want him to recognize that this is hard and not always rainbows and butterflies. He was relieved to hear that he could let his guard down - because it was upsetting him and he wanted to be able to express those feelings without letting me down. Now, we are on the same page and always try to communicate to each other exactly how we are feeling through this process - even the not so positive feelings.

4. Find happiness in other things.
Find something to focus on that brings you happiness. Whether it's taking up a new hobby, booking a weekend getaway with your honey, getting your girlfriends together for a night of good food and wine, doing something you've always wanted to do - just find your happiness. There are so many joyful, positive things in this world, so try to embrace those things. I know being a mom (or dad) seems like the only thing that could make you truly happy, but try to appreciate the small things that bring happiness and all that you have to be grateful for right now. For me, this blog has been a great outlet  that has brought a lot of joy - it gives me something to focus on and an opportunity to write about things I'm passionate about. Chris and I also like booking getaways any chance we get - we love getting away for a few days to focus on each other rather than the fact that we aren't pregnant yet.

5. Get a dog.
Ok, I know this one is a little far-fetched, but hear me out. We got Louie (our red Cockapoo) right before we started "trying" to have a baby - little did I know how much I would come to love and appreciate him over the next couple of years. He's been my baby when I've needed a baby, he is always wagging that tail and excited to see me - no matter what, and he is my snuggle buddy when I just need some lovin' on those down in the dump days. Having him has truly brought so much happiness into our home and has filled voids that needed to be filled on the darkest days. I'm not saying getting a dog is for everyone, but if you love dogs, or have been considering getting one and you're going through infertility - it just might be what you need to push you through those hard days.

6. Read other peoples' stories.
This one is so helpful - you're not alone!! One reason I decided to share my story on this blog is because I've been so inspired and encouraged by other people's stories on their blogs. It is always encouraging to hear those success stories, granting you a little hope for your own story, or to read that you're not the only one who is just struggling through all of it. One of my favorite sites is The Baby Wait - if you have never heard of it, go there now. You will be uplifted, I promise!!

7. Find a way to turn the negatives into happy moments.
When those negatives (or "not pregnant") pop up on that dreaded test, Chris and I have our moment of disappointment, anger, sadness - and then we move on. I used to lay in bed upset and depressed all night after finding out it didn't work yet another month. Now, I let those feelings surface for a few moments (because they need to), and then we try our best to create happy moments somehow. For example, after our last negative pregnancy test, we went out for a quick dinner, had a much need glass of wine to unwind, and then went to the mall and walked around. We ended up having so much fun together and the night quickly turned around. I was reminded that no matter what, we still have each other.

8. Take a break.
Some months, you just need a break - a break from all the medicine, shots, charting, appointments, timed intercourse, and emotions. It's ok to sit a month out. Give your body (and mind) a break if you are a at a breaking point - especially if there are other things going on in your life (with work, relationships, etc.) that are putting more stress on you. I took a break in August and September of last year because I had just had surgery and was getting ready to start back school. I was at a point where I was a little discouraged, and I knew that the start of a new school year would bring enough stress in itself. So we took a break, and it was nice to have a few months of "fertility issues" not controlling me and my day to day life.

9. Pray, pray, and pray some more.
How many times have you heard this one - just pray about it, or have you prayed about it? Sometimes I want to scream at people that tell me or ask me that because I'm like, "Really?! Yes I've prayed about it! DUH!!" But in all honesty, this is people's way of showing they care. I recently sat back and asked myself this question: Have I really (like really really) prayed about it? Like in depth, on my knees, recognizing who I am talking to and the power He has to answer this prayer?? The answer was no. Sure, I had done the whole "please bless Chris and I with a baby if it is your will," (just going through the motions) but now I try to make my prayers as open and honest as they can be. I recognize that I am completely dependent on Him, and these prayers never get old to God - they are never too late to answer, so don't stop praying.

10. Let go and let God.
This is the hard one. I am a control freak by nature. You all know that I love a plan, or a list - it's just who I am. But this is something I cannot control. It is something the doctors can't even control. There is only one person who make me pregnant right now - God. I'm not going to lie - that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. It's not that I don't have faith that He can make it happen for us, because I have all the faith in the world that He can and that He will, but it's hard to accept sometimes that we are not in control. No matter how bad we want it right now, for some reason God is saying no. I am learning that I just have to accept this and let go. The closer I get to letting go and letting God - the more at peace I feel. I'm being honest with you in saying that I'm not all the way there right now - I catch myself some days making a plan or timeline of what we should do next, and this doctor said that, and what if it doesn't happen this month, what will we do now - instead I should be turning all of that over to HIM. Letting it go in prayer and trusting His plan. I'm not saying that doctors aren't needed and that you don't have to discuss what to do next, but I do think it's important to include Him in every decision and to let Him take control, because in the end, He is the only one who grant you what you're hoping and wishing for.

I hope some of these will help you "cope" with your struggles right now! If you're going through infertility, I would love to hear from you! How are you doing?? Let's talk about it! Have a great Tuesday, friends, and thanks for stopping by!