For those of you who are thinking about starting a treatment or have been already through one, it is very important to start with the right mindset and thinking about ways to better cope with a process that is already quite overwhelming for most people. I don’t think that it will make it necessarily easier but at least it will keep you sane and mentally strong through the whole treatment.
Not so long ago, I was living my life, too busy to think about the future further than 2 months ahead. That has been my attitude for many years since I lost my mother to cancer when I was 21 after a very hard battle of three years. Cancer is a nasty thing to happen to anybody and it changed the way I see life. Mostly, I am thankful for every day that I am healthy, and I feel like living the moment more than I used to.
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with endometriosis, and I had to become aware that many things had to change in my life just to be healthy enough to function. One of the things that they mentioned is the inability to have children with this disease.
They told me that a fertility treatment would be my only option and even then it would be hard. Clearly, this is something that I don’t discard in the future. But I have a few friends that have been through the process and I know that there must be a few of you thinking about going through the same process so I decided to put myself in their shoes and to think what would be the best way to approach something like this. I am a hardcore planner so I hope this information helps you all.
So these are the 11 things that would be on my to-do list:
FIND A HOBBIE THAT REALLY TAKES YOUR MIND OFF THINGS
This is something really recommended. I would find one or two hobbies to do on a weekly basis non-stop. The objective of this is to think about things not related to the process, live life as an individual and not to have only one version of yourself. You can be the version of you going for IVF and then Wednesdays go to Zumba and Sundays to draw with the local group of artist. I have done this in Ireland, even when struggling with endometriosis, and it keeps you grounded when everything around you keeps moving.
Give back and helping others will make you feel useful and filled with love in those moments where you will need to take your mind off things and get focused on somebody else. Even if it is one hour a week it will help you and the people or cause you are helping.
I have friends that have undergone the treatment and it definitely does not seem easy at all. Not only it’s hard as it is but the first weeks they pump you with hormones and injections on a daily basis, so not a walk on the beach, that’s for sure.
★ Ask for a support group at the clinic or online. Have the details before you start in case you need it when it gets hard. It is always better to have this information when you are still you, calm and chill than when you have become Chuckey with all the hormones (If you do feel possessed👹 with periods sometimes like me, expect fireworks💥 with the hormone treatment)
★ Get the number of a psychologist of counselor ahead of time and have a chat with him/her. I will personally choose a psychologist specialized in CBT as it has helped me a lot when I was at my worst with endometriosis. You may think that it is pricey but for me, it was the best invest I have done in my life. The purpose here is to avoid ending up blaming yourself or in a negative spiral to keep you strong.
★ Prepare emotionally (journaling, meditation, yoga, relaxation techniques, Tai-chi, pilates…whatever you like) so your expectations are reasonable and so you don’t get overwhelmed if failure happens. And people out there, sometimes it does happen to many great people so think of it as a gamble because that is what it is. Like tossing a coin. Or at least this is how I have decided to look at all of this, endometriosis included. Otherwise, you may feel a control that is not real, as we can do our best, but the final outcome is not really up to us. We have to be careful with the mindset that we choose when starting any treatment.
★ Prepare mentally for new procedures and situations: Prepare for the injections, the discomfort, prepare ways to cope with different situations so you do them like a robot when it happens. I believe it is important to prepare when you are strong and not to leave it for the moment you are going through it for the first time. Be prepared to impersonal staff and change of doctors.
★ Prepare for social stress: This is the stress that comes with people knowing that you are going through the treatment and having to cope with their expectations and the fear of failure that we all have in certain situations. Take a pen and paper and take note of all the uncomfortable situations you can think of, the comments that you don’t want to hear and write beside each one of them, how you would manage this situation. Most of the times it really comes with setting a boundary or explaining how you see things. So if you don’t want people to constantly ask you about it, then ask them not to. Chances are that they will. Sometimes is about knowing yourself and laying the grounds for a more positive environment for you.
BE AWARE OF THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF THE PROCEDURE
This would depend on what treatment you choose, but for most couples, this is a factor as it costs you one way or another. Plan ahead and ask for support if you need it.
HAVE WEEKLY DATES
With your partner, friends, family, all. Book it and do it. Do not isolate yourself as this will not improve your mood or your situation at all. It will also help to keep alive the person that you were before the treatment. It is important to be consistent in order to protect yourself from the bad days as you will easily remember the recent good moments as well. This will keep you balanced.
KNOW WHAT YOUR LIMIT IS AND BE OPEN TO A PLAN B
I think you can only know your limit once you do the treatment but it is good to have a plan B and a plan C already in place. At least you will have an idea of what will happen if this does not work.A good plan B could be to take a break (like many people do) and spend a few months traveling. And a plan C I guess would be to consider other options like adoption. But again, time and experiences will happen that will change you so you will have to wait to see how you will feel.
BE POSITIVE & BE IN THE PRESENT
And this is my last tip. I am a positive person but I also have bad days like everybody. My advice would be to try very hard to experience this journey one day at a time. It might be the only way to take things easy and to get to a good place.
I hope that you enjoy this list! Have you been through IVF? How did you cope? Let’s continue the conversation! You can do that in the comments below and⬇️⬇️⬇️ on any of my social media!