Speak to anyone on their fertility journey, and most will tell you what they did to build resilience to keep going as well as what they would have done differently.
You can never know how long you are going to be on this journey. Science is not yet perfect and many factors can come into play. Whether you are embarking on IVF, Egg Donation, Surrogacy or going through adoption, the journey can take more months than expected. The emotional and physical toll can be debilitating.
Here are my personal top tips that can help you survive IVF:
- Eat healthy, light exercise for a physical outlet and to release natural endorphins to help you feel good.
- Be kind to yourself. Don't forget to find time for pampering.
- Choose who to tell. You don't need a cheering squad waiting with you for your result - or pity if it doesn't work out.
- Choose a friend other than your partner to confide in whether in real life or virtual from a support forum. I can't stress this enough. Some just don't know what to say when things are emotionally effecting us. We need outside support. Sadly, I've seen relationships fall apart from the pressures of IVF.
- Keep a Journal. Write down your feelings.
- Meditate. Daily 5- 10 minutes. It's proven to reduce stress which in turn has a positive affect on fertility. It doesn't have to be 'sitting' still all the time. Meditation is a form of mindfulness of being present in the now. Walking and saying repetitive affirmations to overcome the self talk can be a form of meditation. So is engaging in your desired activity or sport. More on techniques in a coming blog.
- Visualise. Yes! See the end result in your mind. Try and feel what it feels like to be holding your baby in your arms. Psychology Today (2019) reports visualisation is practiced by many top athletes. It helps build resilience. Visualisation and meditation are the tools I believe helped me cope through multiple cycles.
- Organise your paper work and ask your Fertility Specialist questions! Use a Planner, calendar and keep your IVF schedule handy at all times. List clinic numbers, note down times, dates, egg pick up results, transfer numbers, medication amounts etc.
- Talk to someone who has been through a similar journey.
- Ask questions to the Drs, take control of your journey by reading, trust your intuition but most of all....
Stay positive, keep the faith and keep living. It is in the times of surrendering to the process where miracles can happen.