As much as you try to prevent it, infertility can grow to be all-consuming. It’s easy to develop habits in order to get through the experience (otherwise known as survival mode). But when you’re trying to get pregnant, these habits may not be healthy and are certainly not going to help you in the long run.
Here are 7 things you should stop doing while experiencing infertility, simply because you deserve better.
1. Thinking It's Your Fault
It’s easy to go back and think of all the things we shouldn’t have done: waited too long to have kids, drank out of too many plastic bottles, consumed too much alcohol or too many carbs. Stop thinking that there is something you could have done to prevent this because it ’s going to drive you crazy. It also won't help. At all. The truth is, there isn't anything that most of us could have done to prevent it. You can do everything by the book and still end up in the same situation.
2. Sitting Back And Waiting
Life is happening now. You don't need to wait until you get pregnant to actually live your life. Don't be afraid to define what a full life looks like to you right now and to prioritize what needs to be done to get you there. It might not be easy, but those family traditions can start now. You don't need to put the rest of your life on hold while trying to get pregnant.
3. Defining Your Life by Negative Pregnancy Tests
I’m a failure.
It’s never going to happen.
How often do we think these thoughts each month while staring down at that single pink line? When we’re experiencing infertility, it’s easy to break our life down into monthly cycles. Your negative pregnancy tests don’t mean that you yourself have failed.
4. Letting Infertility Define Your Worth as a Woman
In our society, we tend to conflate womanhood and motherhood. We’ve seen the memes floating around social media that you don’t know true love until you become a mother. Whether you become a mother to a child or not, you still matter as a person, as a woman, as a wife or sister or daughter. Having a baby doesn’t change that.
5. Comparing Yourself to Others
Someone you know did seven IVF cycles before they finally got pregnant. A close friend did intrauterine insemination (IUI) three different times and she has three children. It’s so hard not to compare and either be jealous of someone else’s luck or terrified the same reality that hit someone will happen to you. Your story is your own. Not anyone else’s.
6. Using "What Ifs"
What if we did one more round of IUI before trying IVF? What if we waited too long and missed our chance at a baby? It’s never-ending. When you go through infertility treatments you will always wonder if you’re doing the right thing. You will always wonder if one more of the same treatment will be the one that works. You’re never going to feel 100% about a treatment decision because there will always be some sort of doubt. The best case scenario (besides the obvious) is to come out of infertility knowing you did all you could, financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. And that looks different to everyone.
7. Thinking You Can do it Alone
Women are strong, we are determined, and we are notorious for taking it all on. But trying to navigate infertility alone is likely to end up with nothing but intense isolation—maybe even shame and embarrassment. Finding a fertility support group online or in person, or connecting in real life with someone you know who is also struggling can make all the difference. Find someone to commiserate with, to bounce ideas or questions off of, or to share your highs and lows.
It's probably realistic to assume that you'll find yourself doing one or all of these things at one point or another, and that's OK. Having an awareness of what isn't helping your experience can be beneficial too. It's might not be easy, but this mindset can help you persist and perhaps even come out the other end stronger.