Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Seven Habits of Highly Infertile People

I've spent a lot of time in waiting rooms. Not real ones with magazines and the standard greenish-blue carpet and matching chairs. Not the one with the mall or Jimmy Johns on the other side of the glass.

I've spent my time in the proverbial ones. Ones with a calendar or clock constantly in your face. One with timelines that never get respected. One with my future on the other side of the glass.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, my inbox is increasing with questions about infertility. One of the main questions is "how did you get through the wait month to month?"

Having paid my dues in both the fertility and adoption waiting rooms, there's some differences. This post is focusing on the waiting room with fallopian tube posters on the wall. I also pulled up a panel of attractive other ladies who've sat in this same place and the patterns were pretty evident. That leads me to numero uno:

1. Have people on your team. Besides your hubs. There's a gazillion online communities you can join for support. Find at least one friend who's either going through it at the same time or has gone through it. God was gracious enough to give me Lisa. We even went to the same doctor. She was honest and vulnerable with me and I with her. We also found mutual hobbies to distract us. Which leads me to...

2. Get a life. Fertility stuff can be so absolutely consuming, you have to have something to distract you. As Lisa says, "I am not my uterus." Lisa and I took up running, even trained for a half marathon. Which was a total win/win since we were distracting ourselves as well as getting supa hot healthy. For me, distraction was key. Unlike adoption, there's a limited number of days you have to be distracted until you know the conclusion. Find an addictive tv show (Friday Night Lights, LOST, One Tree Hill, whatevs.) Read silly memoirs or great fiction. Start a new workout program. Lisa took classes toward her masters. Clean out your basement. Take up photography. Get involved volunteering somewhere. Something, anything that has NOTHING to do with children/pregnancy/parenting. What is that hobby you always wanted to try? Go start it.

3. Hide. The general rule for anyone going through infertility treatments is that YOU WILL BE SURROUNDED by the most fertile people ever. It will be a constant stream of "I can't believe I'm pregnant AGAIN! We weren't even trying!" and "Don't drink the water at that church!" And honestly, people don't mean to punch you in the ovaries with their lack of understanding. But all of that means a constant stream of baby showers. Buying cute little soft things for friends can accentuate the lack of it in your world. My advice? Hide when you need to. Pull back and recluse when it's just simply too much to handle. Don't stay there though, you need community but IT IS OKAY TO SKIP STUFF. I didn't do this enough. I was too worried about hurting people's feelings and wasn't protecting my own.

4. Date your husband. Fertility is so hard. It can either strengthen your marriage or it can drain it. Sometimes both. Make sure that you're not only creating hobbies for yourself but that you and the hubs have things going on TOGETHER that have nothing to do with hormone levels and sperm counts. And speaking of? Make sure you're having sex just for fun and not just during "the homework" 3 days. For reals.

**Knowing this a monthly roller coaster and you're getting pumped with horomones, some months or days you want to do the opposite, to lean into it. In that case:

5. Journal. For obvious reasons, it's just a great outlet.

6. Meet with mentors. Especially if you don't know anyone currently going through it, find someone who has experience that can meet when you need/want to talk to someone other than your hubs.

7. Be honest. First of all, with God. If you're angry or confused, He can handle it. He's not so happy about infertility either. Question Him, His sovereignty, His goodness. Push back on His promises. They will prove themselves.

Secondly, be honest with family and close friends. You need people in your court. You need community. I'm not saying you should post details of your treatments as your facebook status (PLEASE DON'T) but we've always been blessed, not burdened, by people knowing our story. Be honest with them about how to love you, which sometimes means leaving you alone and other times means girls night. I'm reminded of this scene:

You need friends, fertile or infertile, that won't run from your honesty.

Thirdly, be honest with yourself. If you're angry, be angry. If you're pretending you have control and have mental timelines, quit it. If you're putting on a happy face but dying inside, stop it. If you want to cry, do it. If you want to take a month off because your body is all jacked up on hormones and your emotions are out of whack, do it. You're not going to miss THE ONE MONTH GOD WAS GOING TO BLESS YOU because you needed a break. I'm pretty sure God doesn't work like that.

No matter if you've been TTC for 3 months or 5 years, it sucks. It is a hard road unlike many others. Please feel comfortable emailing me with questions or just to vent.


amy said...

thanks for you honest post. so many people have been or are going thru this and it helps to have encouragement AND feelings validated.

I have been on the one-who-was-a-jerk to my friend side (lisa can attest to that) and it reminds me not to be so utterly self-centered and insensitive.

JustJess said...

I love this...for different reasons today I needed this EXACT line "If you're pretending you have control and have mental timelines, quit it." God hates our timelines. I am so convinced. I am also convinced they rob life of the joy that comes with the present timeline, His timeline. And this has been a huge struggle for me in life--though this post isn't about my struggle, that line so was. Thanks for blessing me today.

mdenckhoff said...

Well said!