I’ve just found this blog post in my unsent archive – I wrote it in November, a mere 3 months before finding out I was pregnant with the baby I’m currently carrying. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish this post at the time; maybe I needed more time to process it or wanted to wait for a happier moment but today feels like the right day, and the one thing I’ll take from this is that life never stands still. One month you can be disappointed and the next, elated… x
Keep calm and carry on!
I actually hate this overused saying but it does seem to reflect accurately the topic of today’s post; I’d like to talk about how we find the strength to continue on our fertility journeys after setbacks and failures. (repeat as necessary!)
After 3.5 years of trying to conceive, I feel like Lee and I have really experienced every emotion under the sun and every treatment going, although I know that isn’t the case as many people have a lot worse diagnoses than us but it’s so hard to gain any perspective when you’re stuck in the middle of yet another setback or failure.
A few weeks ago we found out that our 3rdIVF transfer was unsuccessful. This time, to my surprise, I didn’t really cry much; I went to work, made plans and carried on. This is very unlike me – ordinarily, I would have taken time to reflect and mourn the loss of our embryo and would have needed some time to adjust to a new path.
I’m not totally sure why I seemed to manage to cope a lot better this time; maybe I’m now conditioned to IVF not working, maybe I didn’t let myself believe it could happen this time to protect myself from failure or maybe I just really wholeheartedly believe that next time will be different and I’m focusing my energy on that instead of the pain of right now.
People’s reactions are always quite interesting when you talk about infertility or failed cycles. So many people seemed surprised you can get up in the morning never mind hold down a job, socialise, have a smile on your face and look half decent! The perception of how you should feel after a failed cycle or setback can sometimes be more dramatic than the reality.
On the other hand, I’m fully aware that there are also times when people have no clue of the impact that something like this has on you and can be quite flippant “better luck next time!” kind of attitude which doesn’t help either….
5 things that I think have helped keep me sane this time are:
- Surrounding myself with the people that make me happy
- Keep planning
- Belief and hope
- Treating ourselves to the things we couldn’t do if we were pregnant
This list might not work for everyone, but I’m sure if you dig deep you will find your 5 things that will help you overcome and stay hopeful.
“unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievance sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past and not enough presence. Eckhart Tolle.
This quote resonates with me as I know keeping myself in the present and keeping to the facts is hard to do as the spiral of assumptions that often flood my brain and cloud sane judgement and reality tend to take over!
Generally, people fall into the camp of either dwelling on the past or on the future. I’m definitely all about the future – I don’t often reflect on the past at all, I’m always onto the next thing and planning tends to get me back into a sense of normality. I know I should try and sit in the present more though as I do find I experience “unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry” as Tolle describes.
Ways to stay in and accept the present
- Know that it won’t always be this way. Everything changes
- Find 10 minutes to just sit/lie with your favourite song close your eyes and think about how much you love it and how happy it makes you feel.
- You can do the same thing looking at a photo you love. Take 2 minutes to REALLY appreciate it, really look at it and think about how it makes you feel, why you love it so much
- Write down a list of FACTS. Things that are actually real or actually happen and don’t let your list be tainted with anything other cold hard fact. You might find life a bit easier to deal with when you look at that list!
Whatever challenge you’re facing, however you need to build yourself back up again and find the strength to carry on, you will do it. We are all stronger than we think – I never thought I’d be in a position where I would feel strong again after 2 miscarriages and 2 IVF cycles under my belt; but I do, and now in a weird way I feel even stronger for it.
Are you coping/struggling to cope with failed treatment? What’s helping you get through it? I’d love to hear from you wherever you are on your journey.
This post is also available in: Arabic