By Bernadette Andrews, author of How to Stay Sane on the Baby Making Train
One-in-six couples in Australia are going through infertility EVERY MONTH.
That’s sooo many people struggling with infertility, many of which are suffering in silence.
Why are we so afraid to open up about infertility and let people in?
Infertility invades all areas of your life, your relationships, family, friends, work, career, holidays, weekends away, money, decisions about what house or car to buy, types of exercise, foods to eat and not to eat, supplements to take, sleep, oh and the mental mind games with yourself about stress levels…
With all this going on no wonder we don’t know how to cope with it all.
I was on and off the baby making train ride for 16 years and I’ve done all the things.
Here are my top 6 tips to help you stay sane when trying to conceive
1 // LET PEOPLE IN
Don’t suffer in silence and pretend that all is just peachy. There is no need to be hiding your personal infertility struggles in silence or holding shame when you are going through this.
People want to help. If you were diagnosed with a disease or injury, most of us would let everyone know, therefore why does infertility have to be different and kept in the dark?
You haven’t done anything bad and ended up with this thing called infertility, it’s just happening to you so there’s no need to feel ashamed.
Set up your inner circle of supportive friends who you can call or message, just to let all the things swirling around in your head out.
Sharing has this amazing power of release, it clears out the mind games and creates space for the good vibes.
2 // KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO THAT QUESTION
You know the question, what starts off as light chit-chat turns into talk about kids, and they turn to you and ask that question…“So when are you having kids?”
As you hold your breath trying to think of something quick and light-hearted to say, out comes “oh yeah we’ll get around to that one day” with a fake smile on your face.
But in your heart you’re still coming to terms with the gut wrenching feeling of why that last round of IVF didn’t work.
By being prepared for this question you’ll enjoy the gathering more and it comes in handy at other times when put on the spot.
So how do you answer? We hope to have kids soon. Using the word ‘hope’ has a promising tone and is also the truth as you’re really hoping to get that positive test result soon.
3 // COMMUNICATE OPENLY WITH YOUR PARTNER
As a female you will be the one that undergoes the medical invasions from the IVF specialists.
It’s you who is getting the daily injections and growing numerous eggs at once.
It’s you who has to go ‘under’ to get them retrieved and you that the little embryo is inserted in and you who has to stay calm and relaxed in the two week wait afterwards in the hope that you’re finally pregnant.
Let your partner in each day, in the mornings when you wake up let each other know what’s going on in my head and in the evenings let each other know what’s going on in your heart.
By connecting regularly you’ll feel like you’re on the same team and sharing the experience together.
4 // DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO EVERYONE ELSE
A word of warning, infertility can bring out the worst in you, in particular when comparing yourself to others.
Why did they fall pregnant so quickly and not me?
The mental struggle with comparison can be one of the most challenging parts of this journey, however when you stop and go within you’ll find your own peace.
The next time one of your friends surprises you with their happy pregnancy news, stop and take a breath. Breathe out that negative breath of why them and not me, and then take in a fresh breath of love. Smile and let them know you’re happy for them.
Also share with them that you hope to celebrate happy news one day soon, and let them in.
Stay strong and practice love over fear everyday.
5 // HAVE A BABY MAKING MONEY PLAN
Fact, infertility treatment can be expensive! And with numerous rounds of IVF and alternative medicine, having a budget together with your partner is a must.
You’re already going through a very emotional journey, physically and mentally…so having a plan in place will greatly assist and reduce some of the stress.
The last thing you need when going through infertility is waking up in the middle of the night worrying about money.
Therefore discuss with your partner how much you can put aside for IVF and set up a separate bank account just for your treatment.
By having this organised, you and your partner will both sleep better at night.
6 // KEEP THE FUN AND PLAY ALIVE
You were happily going about your life together with your partner, then suddenly you want a baby and you want it now!
But after months of trying, it doesn’t happen so you start googling and the fun of trying goes out the window and is replaced by perfectly timed sex as per the notifications from your cycle tracking app.
When sex becomes a chore you need to stop and really talk to your partner. Acknowledge that all this scheduled baby making has taken the fun away and is hurting your relationship.
Together, set yourself some non-baby related goals or highlights, little things that you can both look forward to like fun weekends away, outings to events or learning new hobbies.
This will bring joy and little things to look forward to.