It is my heart’s desire to be there for those battling IF, IVF, and RPL. Prior to us starting this blog and finding this amazing community, I remember plenty of sleepless nights feeling like there was no one out there who could understand our situation. In turn, we felt so isolated, depressed, and stressed. Before we knew it, trying to get pregnant had completely taken over our lives. When I say it took over our lives, I mean we stopped doing pretty much anything and everything that didn’t have to do directly with aiding our fertility. No dates, no hobbies, no gatherings, no traveling, no anything.
It wasn’t until a few months after IVF loss #3 that we decided it was time to start getting our lives back. It was time to remember why we fell in love in the first place 15 years ago. We needed to see that although we didn’t have kids, there were still plenty of things on this Earth for us to be appreciative of.
All this being said, I wanted to share with you some tips that have helped make surviving IF, IVF, and RPL less stressful.
- Exercise. Whether it’s it walking, running, going to the gym, swimming, or joining a class. Getting your blood flowing and breaking a sweat produces endorphin’s. Endorphin’s make you happy! Just think it is like an all natural happy pill with no side effects like all those fertility drugs you are used to. I have finally started walking and swimming again. I have also renewed my yoga/barre membership. It feels great!
- Get away. OK, I know most undergoing fertility treatments don’t have all of this extra money lying around for extravagant trips. But that’s the thing, the trips don’t have to be extravagant. It could even be just a 1 night get-a-away. I tried to think of it this way when I would miscarry–If I was still pregnant, I would be ordering more medications this week which would cost me X amount of dollars. The money was already supposed to be spent in our eyes, so why not treat ourselves to a night away with it? This same frame of mind could apply to failed treatment cycles too…if it would have worked, you would be spending more money on meds, or baby “stuff” or maternity “stuff.” Trust me, just go for the getaway, you deserve it!
- Date nights. If you can’t afford to stay away for the night, at least be sure to go on date nights with your partner. It’s hard not to focus on IF talk, but try your best. I am the biggest culprit of doing this when hubby & I go to dinner. Try to pick a romantic place and you might be less apt to talk about it. For some reason, I have noticed I don’t think about it as much when we are at a more romantic setting than not. Focus on each other and cherish your time out of the house together. Just think-if you had kids at home, the two of you wouldn’t be able to pick up and do something like this so easily! This being said, try not to take it for granted.
- Go to the spa. And while you are there, get a pedicure, manicure, (couples) massage, facial, whatever your little heart desires! I know what you are thinking…$$$$ again! Here is an idea that has worked for me–try asking people in your family for these type of relaxing gifts for your birthday or Christmas, and then hold on to them until you need them. Following our last miscarriage, I had a pedicure and a manicure once I could actually get myself out of the house again. It was one of the first things I did. Thankfully, these services were paid for by gift cards family had gotten me earlier in the year. I saved them because I knew there might (unfortunately) be a time where I didn’t have the funds, but needed to pamper myself desperately.
- Go out with a girlfriend and laugh. Get dressed up, do your hair, make-up, the works. Pick a nice place for dinner. Drink good cocktails and enjoy the atmosphere. Get off your chest what you need to, but don’t focus on it all night. I am so blessed that I have what I like to call my “go-to-girlfriend” for this relaxing night whenever I have need it. Going out with her and laughing has helped me before each cycle, after each loss, and even in-between!
- Indulge in some type of retail therapy. Other than diamonds, shopping is a girls best friend. And at some point after every miscarriage, I have eventually broken down and hit the mall. I know, I know…dollar signs! However, if you sign up for coupons at your favorite stores, and look for the sales once you get to them, you can easily walk out with a few nice items without spending a fortune. The bottom line is, having that pair of shoes or pair of jeans just made me feel a little bit better!
- Find a hobby. Because you certainly can’t spend all your time at spas and malls! You will quickly go broke (even broker than you already are from dishing out all that $$ for all those meds). Some hobbies that do not cost much of anything that I enjoy are coloring, reading, & of course, blogging!! I plan to start taking pictures every day for my “95 Happy Days of Summer” posts that are coming up, too. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it brings out the best in you and is soothing to you.
- Plant something. I am not saying you have to do a full-blown garden, but at least plant something. It could be a tree, flowers, herbs. Planting became close to my heart after our losses because it yielded life. I was so tired of seeing death over and over again. Planting was a breath of fresh air (literally!), along with watching our greenery blossom and thrive. It’s hard work, but I think the end result is worth it! Sounds familiar, right?
- Adopt a pet. If you can of course. After our 2nd miscarriage we got our 2nd dog about 2 weeks later. Warning, this might be TMI–but I remember on the way to get him I was still bleeding so badly we had to stop a few times so I could use the restroom. We already knew we wanted another dog after Nacho passed, but we just weren’t sure when. After the miscarriage, we had no doubt it was the right time. Getting the dog brought new love into our home and that is just what we needed.
- Reach out to someone in need. One of the most fulfilling things I have done throughout all of this is help someone else when I have been hurting. It doesn’t even have to be someone in a similar situation that you help—they could be battling their own demon that is completely unrelated to yours. I can’t exactly put my finger on or describe the feeling that comes from doing this, but it is a wonderful one. Try it.
- Write! This is a great way to get all those insane, up and down, hormonal feelings out that your partner can’t always help you with. Let’s face it, they can only take so much of the same talk again and again! Your writing doesn’t have to be a blog that everyone knows about, it could be an anonymous one. Or no blog at all! For IVF 1 and 2, I kept only a journal for my feelings and it did wonders. I would write and sketch out pictures that went along with my feelings.
- Take bubble baths. Before each IVF cycle, once I started stims but before transfer, I had a nightly routine of taking a Chamomile and Lavender bubble bath. I would take my glass of red wine in with me, dim the lights, and light the candles. Voila! My own private retreat. Well, I ended up seeing just how much this relaxed me, and I am still doing it to this day..cycle or not!
Fellow TTC’er, I hope this list can spark an idea for you! Please feel free to share any tips you might have as well!