Infertility is stressful, going at it alone makes it a billion times harder.
You have your partner, but even they sometimes don’t “get” what you are going through! We all know men and women think VERY differently!
Men can “compartmentalize” feelings, “opening one box and closing another” - if that analogy makes sense.
Women tend to carry things with them throughout tasks and have a hard time separating from their stressors.
[more about Gender and Stress]
I remember the time I was most frustrated with my husband while going through infertility treatments. I had just received my box of meds for our first IVF cycle. The box was huge, filled with tons of needles, meds, all in all it was extremely overwhelming and scary to think about.
I remember telling my husband, “I just don’t know if I can do this.” He seemed a little taken aback, and said, “You know if I could do it, I would.”
I thought, now that isn’t fair. You CAN’T! So to say that is ridiculous.
It made me feel angry, sad, and hurt.
Angry at him because how dare you claim you would when it’s impossible for you, you can’t begin to imagine what it’s going to be like for me to be taking all these meds, have my body not feel like my own, be poked and prodded…
Sad with myself because I felt weak, I felt like I had given up on myself, on us, the desire to be a mom, how could this box make we question everything…
And hurt because all I really wanted him to say was “I am sorry, it sucks that you have to go through this, but know that I am here every step of the way.”
I don’t want you all to think my husband is a a-hole – he’s actually quite the opposite. He was an amazing support system throughout our journey and now into the next challenge of parenthood. But at that time he just wasn’t supporting me as I needed.
What I need to realize was two things - first, we handle stress differently, at that moment I just wanted him to "feel for me", not try to "fix the problem"; and second, I needed to connect with women who were going through the same thing I was, so we could "share" [or in other words bitch] to each other.
So I get to the subject of this post - I can’t stress how important a good support team is [and not just for when going through infertility treatments, but ANY time life hits you with a rough patch]. What is a support team? The people you can count on when times get tough, to help pick you up, give you a pep talk, and guide you on you way. They are the ones with the shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen [and they know which you need when].
Your fertility support team starts you and your partner, and can also include a support group, your mom [you all know personally whether that is a good idea or not], a couple friends who have maybe walked down this path before you, a therapist; it includes your doctor and nurse and staff.
You need to feel like your team “has your back”.
Some of the responsibility however is on you too! It’s just as important to tell your “team” what you need.
Maybe you are close with your mom and tell her the challenges you are facing, you cry, she tells you it will all be ok, and then she calls you EVERY day (or so it seems) to check-in, or for updates. If this is too much, you have to explain that while you appreciate her concern, it doesn’t help you to be reminded of all you have on your plate daily. Tell her you promise you will call if you need her, and with any important updates.
Be selfish. Take time for YOU. You are the first line of defense in supporting yourself and what you need. Find an activity that is a stress-reliever for you, and do it as often as you need to – maintain your sane :)
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