After three years, multiple IVF cycles, two devastating miscarriages, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.
If you’ve been following my journey — or if you have your own fertility battle you’re fighting — you know how much of a roller coaster this road can be.
In fact, just last week I wrote probably one of the most depressing articles I’ve written — and here I am today talking about positivity. It’s hard to keep up with my emotions, but it’s crucial for me to keep them in check. It’s far too easy to let the moments of doubt, fear, and questioning turn into days, then weeks, and before you know it, you’re in a serious depression.
While I always think it’s a smart idea to feel what you’re feeling — good or bad — it’s important not to let the bad consume you.
Feel it. Cry it out. And go onward.
Even if you have to force the smile to start the ebb of the upswing, do it. And keep doing it for as long as you can.
1. Go outside.
Go for a walk, a hike, anything to get out in nature. There’s something about the fresh air that really does clear your head and helps put things into perspective. Infertility struggles can be so consuming and ugly, that it’s easy to forget the beauty that surrounds us. So go be in that beauty.
2. Talk about it.
I hear from so many women who say they have no one to talk to about their struggles, and it always blows my mind. I don’t know how anyone can get through this alone; I certainly would never be able to. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a friend or a cousin or an aunt or anyone to talk with. This journey is so tough, made only tougher by keeping it all inside. Find your someone.
3. Get inspired in the kitchen.
Experiment with some new recipes. Discover some new flavors. Don’t get stuck in routines. Creating something new works wonders for your psyche, and — at least for me — it helps rebuild some of the confidence that gets demolished from infertility.
4. Spend time with friends.
Give yourself that day or two after a failed cycle, or however long you need after a miscarriage, and then get out of the house for crying out loud. You won’t feel like it, but do it. Call your friends. Go bowling. Take a hike. Sit in the park. Let them be there for you. They want to. I know it’s tough, because they all likely have kids or are pregnant, but don’t withdraw from their lives, and let them support you.
Go do something for someone else and you’ll totally feel less awful about your plight. That might sound like the last reason in the world to volunteer, since it’s a pretty selfish reason. But do it anyway. You’ll end up feeling really good that you helped someone else, and you’ll realize that you’re not the only person who has struggles of their own.
6. Have sex.
I know for a lot of you, sex has become a task — a means to an end. It’s work, perfectly timed and calculated, often to the minute. My situation is a little different than most of you (because the person I’m having sex with isn’t the one getting me pregnant), but anyone who undergoes IVF or other fertility treatments knows what it’s like to be poked and prodded in the privates. So, regardless of how we’re trying to get pregnant, all of us can relate to equating your lady bits with work, with a job. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve come to be a little mad at them for not doing what you want. So sex is one of the last things on your mind. But try to remember that making a baby isn’t your body’s only function. Finding pleasure in sex again can only happen from having non-baby-making sex. Do it, and you’ll begin to gain some of that confidence that’s left you.
7. Write about it.
You don’t have to share it with anyone (though you could) but nevertheless: WRITE it out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to quit, throw in the fertility towel, go hide in a dark place for the rest of my life, and never face the light of day again. But then I wrote. And I wrote it all out of me. The sadness. The pain. The guilt. The worry. The loneliness. It all leaves you when you write. Sure, it comes back. (That’s the nature of the fertility roller coaster.) But it doesn’t stay with you and build and build and build. You manage it. You kick it out with your words. And you feel lighter for doing so.More On