4.26.2013

Quick Takes: Advice for New Infertiles Style


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.

17 comments:

  1. These are all great pieces of advice! I struggle with where I fit in in the IF community, having experienced secondary infertility and recurrent miscarriage. I think one thing that helped me (and continues to help me) was not being afraid to feel it. Feel it all, really feel the lows, so you can really feel the highs. Experience the range of emotions on the IF road, but don't get stuck on any one emotion.

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  2. Rebecca, these are excellent! I can't even pick a favorite because they're all so good. Maybe one to add is nurture your marriage and realize there are always ways to be fruitful even if you're not blessed with a child - there's always someone around us who needs love. That's something that helps me anyway. Thank you for these! !!

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  3. I agree with TCSG about expereincing the emotional aspect. I would add to try and keep yourself busy during the 2WW by extra adoration time, a new craft project, trying out new recipes every night, etc. Great advice Rebecca! No matter how long we have been on this road these are great reminders.

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  4. Great advice! Getting to a place of thankfulness has really helped in the healing area. Also, striving in holiness despite suffering or spiritual dryness has made all the difference.

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  5. I love your number 5! I have also found it to be both incredibly painful and very cathartic to interact with pregnant friends and the babies after they have been born. Intentionally being happy for them despite my pain has helped me to grow as a person, and hopefully to grow past jealousy.

    My advice: Motherhood isn't just biological. If you've got that longing in your soul to be a mother, it's because God has put it there for a reason. He may not be giving you a baby to mother yet, but there may be someone else in your life who He has in mind as a recipient of that maternal love, care, and wisdom that is in you. Look at the people around you (adults as well as children), and be generous with your spiritual motherhood. Focusing on this can help take the focus off your personal pain, and also help soothe that pressure build-up that comes from unreleased maternal love.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your advice for new IF'ers...gosh...I can say I am not new down this road at all. I guess I would add that if parenthood is not in God's plans for you...life will be just as purposeful and fulfilling. During my IF journey I felt like my life was nothing if I didn't have that baby I so desperately wanted...it took years to realize...my life is good and I can be happy without children. God is good and if you cling to Jesus...everything will be okay...and everyone else will eventually be too busy with their children to notice what is going on or not going on in your own life. The questioning, etc do end. :)

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  7. Great advice! And yes, I will indulge in wine and exercise and I don't care what part of my cycle it is!

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  8. I think the reminder to live your life is great! I may be more stubborn or crazy than you; I went a whole year trying to live as if I were pregnant, though I still exercised. Even now, after 2 years TTC, I still restrict caffeine and alcohol. What was hardest for me to give up, and what I am only starting to do again, was take baths. Long soaks in hot bath were always my go-to de-stress method, but learning that they could affect fertility put me off them for a long time.

    I would also add that having a pet (or more than one) can be incredibly comforting and healing. They want and need love and attention, just as a child would. And hearing that purr or seeing that tail wag is great reminder that you are not alone, you are important. Plus, adopting a pet saves a life (albeit a non-human one).

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  9. Wonderful advice, Rebecca! I celebrated the end of a hard week last night by going out with co-workers and having the most wonderful Bloody Mary (the tomato juice was fresh made and the cocktail included chile powder and thyme). Because it's my 2WW, I made a concession refrained from having another, and another. It was that good.

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  10. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!
    I love Casey's comment that "Motherhood isn't always biological". There was a photo floating around on FB (I can't find it), but I think JBTC shared it ... it was about how Motherhood isn't always biological, but it included those who desired in their heart to be mothers. I loved it!

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  11. This is awesome. I love it! You have so much wisdom and grace.

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  12. These are great. I stopped running long distance for over year when we first started TTC. I've recently started running regularly again and it has been life changing! Good luck with your first marathon!

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  13. Awesome post!!! Each point is great, but #3 really resonated with me today. I can make myself crazy during the 2ww trying to be careful.

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  14. Thank you. Great advice. Sometimes over thinking everything can cause stress, and un-do the good. Thank you for bringing about more awareness.

    Robin, FertilityAuthority.com

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