It's been a while since I participated in 7 Quick Takes, but I had this idea earlier this week and thought I'd go with it. While I've not been on this IF road nearly as long as some of you, in 2 1/2 years there are some things I've learned along the way that I thought I'd share. I'm hoping that some of you will chime in with your thoughts as well!
1. This is your road. No amount of advice or opinions or blog reading can change that. (Yes, I see the irony that this is my #1 piece of advice.) Just as your marriage is yours alone, your road of infertility is yours alone as well. Sure, the advice of others can help you along the way. But it cannot walk the road for you.
2. Be patient with yourself and with your husband. Yes, you are walking the same road, but you've got different shoes on. Your experience and his experience will be the same, but different. Sometimes one of you is going to lag behind the other and other times one of you might get stuck. It's a two-steps forward; one-step backwards process. Sometimes it's even one-step forward, two-steps back.
3. Live your life. This is easier said than done. I know. I often say this is the hardest part of IF. For me, I realized early on what this meant for me on a practical level. Our first few months TTC, I lived and acted as if I was pregnant. No alcohol. Little to no caffeine. Little to no exercise. I analyzed every twinge and symptom in the 2ww that I could possibly analyze - even the ones I made up in my head. And this very nearly broke me. Now, I generally live my life. If I want a glass of wine, I have it. I run. I am training for my first marathon. Regardless of where it is in my cycle.
4. Embrace hope. And by embracing hope, you may also be embracing pain. But, I've found that the hope is what breaths life into my marriage. Into my ability to be there for others. Into my life. The darkest times on this road have been when I refused to acknowledge that there was hope. I have learned that this hope is not always in the hope of a BFP, but on the darkest of CD1s it is in the hope of Christ, of heaven, of true healing from the Father.
5. I learned this one from Faith Makes Things Possible: As much as possible, embrace the new lives around you. While FB can bring pain like no other and I still can't bring myself to go to baby showers of acquaintances or coworkers, I can and do rejoice in the pregnancies of my friends. Whether it's by giving them a prayer book for expectant parents (one of my favorite gifts to do), or by responding to a new mom's request on FB for some company when she and her sweet 3-week old were going to be home alone all day. Those 3 hours spent cuddling that sweet baby were all at once excruciatingly painful and healing. I have never regretted a kindness that I offered to a new mom. I know this isn't an easy one, and it's been a process, but it's been worth it.
6. Set and honor your boundaries as a couple. What, when, and how you share your story is up to you. Quite honestly, you do not owe anyone anything. Not your mom, your MIL, your grandma or your best friend. Share what you are comfortable sharing and let the rest go unsaid.
7. Don't be afraid to take breaks or to change your plan. You are not signing in blood with your NFP provider that you will take your temperature every morning for the rest of your life. You are not promising your doctor that you will take this drug or that drug for the next 5 years. Set reasonable benchmarks and reevaluate your process as needed.
Well, I'm out of takes, so that's what I've got. Anyone have any other pieces of advice that they wish someone had told them at the start of the IF road?
Be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes.
**Updated to close comments on this post because of unusual amounts of spam.