Top Ten Tips for Facing Infertility
Dealing with infertility is a psychological challenge. But it gets easier when you have expert advise you can trust.
One of the most amusing books I have read on infertility is : A Few Good Eggs : Two Chicks Dish on Overcoming the Insanity of Infertility by Julie Vargo and Maureen Regan.
The book is targetted towards infertile women living in the US, and is written in the currently fashionable "chick-lit" style. It's amusingly written; and is a breath of fresh air , if you are the sort of person who finds a sense of humour helps you cope better with infertility.
The book has lots of Top-10 lists, and here's their list of Top Ten Tips for Facing Infertility.
10 Tips for Facing Infertility
- Keep reminding yourself that you are not alone.
- Realize that dealing with infertility is an all-consuming process.
- Stay calm.
- Remind yourself you are not a failure if a procedure doesn't work.
- Have a sense of humor about this - even if it doesn't seem at all funny right now.
- Do your research. Then do some more.
- Listen to your body and your inner self. If you really listen you will learn those two are rarely wrong.
- Don't rule anything out - from antibiotics to acupuncture and from yoga headstands to standing on your head during sex.
- Find the right doctor.
- Don't get angry at your partner for not nurturing you - he is hurting and confused, too.
Here are my comments about this list.
- Keep reminding yourself that you are not alone. One of the major problems with infertility is the social and emotional isolation it causes. It seems that everyone around you is having babies and you are the only one who cannot have them ! Moreover, there is little social support , and people can be thoughtless and unkind. However, remember that you are in this together with your partner - and you can love and support each other. Millions of other couples are also fighting the same battle - and you can support each other.
- Realize that dealing with infertility is an all-consuming process. Many infertile couples are amazed when they find how obsessed they become with tracking their fertility - and how their desire to have a baby seems to become the central focus of their life.
- Stay calm. This can be hard to do , especially at certain times : for example, when your period had just started; your friend has just told you she's pregnant again; the latest treatment which seemed to be going so well has failed; and it seems that your partner does not care or understand. Don't make a bad situation worse by losing your calm. If you can weather this, you will emerge a much stronger and better person !
- Remind yourself you are not a failure if a procedure doesn't work. The failure of a procedure does NOT mean you are a failure ! When the embryos transferred during an IVF cycle fail to implant, many women feel that their uterus is defective and has "rejected" the embryos. Remember that Nature is not efficient at making babies - and the odds are always going to be against you in each month, so you need to be patient. Have realistic expectations, and treat this as a war , not just a battle. Even if the procedure fails, you have peace of mind you tried your best - and failed procedures also provide the doctor with useful information which he can use to fine-tune your next treatment cycle, bringing you closer to your goal.
- Have a sense of humor about this - even if it doesn't seem at all funny right now. A sense of humour is often the only thing which help you keep your sanity ! Hang on to this - it will help you cope with whatever trials and tribulations you may have to deal with !
- Do your research. Then do some more. You can never know too much. While the endpoint is not to become an IVF specialist ( though you will find that you often know much more about infertility than your GP or family physician, many of whom are quite clueless about infertility), you need to become an expert on your problem, so you have peace of mind you did your best, and didn't leave any stone unturned.
- Listen to your body and your inner self. If you really listen you will learn - those two are rarely wrong. This is good advise, whether you are infertile or not ! However, be careful not to fall into the trap of listening only to your body - and not listening to your doctor ! Find the right balance between the inner wisdom of the body and the outer wisdom of medical science.
- Don't rule anything out - from antibiotics to acupuncture and from yoga headstands to standing on your head during sex. Keeping an open mind is a good idea - but it shouldn't be so open that everything in it falls out either ! It's fine to use yourself as a guinea pig, if that's what you want to do. Take an objective approach, and treat your experiences as a scientific experiment ( on yourself). Document all your results, so that you can learn from them.
- Find the right doctor. While everyone knows how important it is to find Dr Right, it can be extremely hard to do this in real life ! Often you are trapped by the healthcare system you find yourself in - or you don't know how to judge your doctor's competence and abilities.
- Don't get angry at your partner for not nurturing you - he is hurting and confused, too. Don't make a bad situation worse by using your partner as a punching bag. Being infertile is bad enough - but as long as you can love and support each other, you'll find it much easier to deal with. Love divides the misery, and any couple who can weather the crisis of infertility will find that their marriage is much more resilient than the ordinary marriage. It is true that all Men are from Mars , not just your husband ! The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be for both of you. From his point of view, his priority is to work so that he can earn the money you need to be able to afford infertility treatment ! Providing emotional support comes a distant second in his brain, so please be charitable !