Saturday, April 14, 2012

Some Tips on Coping with Infertility

I can say with certainty and experience that fertility struggles are no fun.

Our family is not where we thought it would be at this time in our life.  I would love to have a child turning one with plans and dreams for a second baby.  I find myself asking many questions about what our future will look like and wondering if we could've done anything differently. 

As I reflect on some of the lowest moments over these last 22 months of fertility struggles, I ask sometimes how Josh and I are still standing so firm in our love and commitment?  How do we still have faith?  hope?  How do we still laugh?  have fun?

I want to offer some tips at how we've been able to cope with all the things that come with an infertility struggle: the millions of doctors appointments that end up running your whole life even when you try your hardest for that not to happen, the injections, the bad news, the set backs, the loss of hope, the crushing of dreams, and for us even, the loss of two babies.

Tip #1: Have faith, faith, faith
My mom (an RNICU nurse at Sparrow) told me a quote that a women that she met in the NICU said as she visiting her very sick premature son.  In tragedy or struggle you can choose to "Run to God or run away from God."  We, like her and her husband, have chosen to run to God.  It is not always easy to have the faith and hope necessary, but I try to have it each and every day.  I know my relationship with God and my faith has gotten stronger since this process has started.  I have all the normal human doubts and go through my stages of being frustrated and downright angry with God, but I know He's taking care of us, I know He has a plan for me.  Someone like me who is a Type A planner/control freak can have a difficult time surrendering to God, but I've worked very very hard to do just that.

Tip #2: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
People in our situation could have an attitude full of doom and gloom because, let's be real, most of pieces of infertility are negative and the news is usually bad. 

Josh and I have tried very hard through lots of prayer, reflection, and lots of conversations to change our thinking about this in two ways. 

First, we know that God has a plan for us and that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes I have to say this to myself twenty times a day, but I know in my heart it's true.  God is taking care of us.  It helps.

Second, we continue to look at this time as an opportunity for us to get more time together just him and I.  We have no idea what the future might hold for us and so we both try to take advantage of this time in a positive way.  I'm a lucky gal to have had the pleasure of this man's company for 4.5 years so far all to myself.  I know that when we do become parents, the time we'll have had alone together (however long that may be) will just help us.

Try though the tears and heartaches to take advantage of this time alone with your spouse.  So many people do not get this opportunity. (notice even the word I'm choosing to use, opportunity?)

Tip #3: Have things to look forward to
I've found that this has been vital in Josh and I being able to survive all that we've been through.  We consistently make plans and goals during this time for fun  and enjoyable things we can do together.  It could be as small as planning some really nice dates, or as large as some big travel plans and anything and everything in between.

For Josh and I, we have chosen to always be planning our next vacation to cope with our struggles in infertility.  We are consistently saving for vacation or baby.  We know that a baby is far and away the number 1 thing to be planning or and saving for, but a trip to Cancun, Las Vegas, California, Niagara Falls, Disney, or Europe is a pretty good second place. 

It really really does help you heal and continue on in life having things to look forward to.

After we lost our first baby, we began planning our second trip to Cancun.  After the miscarriage we have just went through, we have planned and booked a trip to Italy and Paris for the summer.

These trips are things Josh and I would've gladly not experienced if our family was currently growing, but we are thankful to have the means and the time to be able to do a little bit of world traveling while we wait for our greatest gift and experience: being parents.  Here are some pictures of where we've been since we've been trying to have a baby...

Josh and I at the Bellaggio Fountains, Las Vegas: August 2010  

Playing in the Pacific Ocean at Newport Beach, CA: August 2010

Disneyland: August 2010

Disney World: December 2010

Chichen Itza, Mexico: April 2011

Niagara Falls: July 2011

Cancun, Mexico: December 2011

Tip #4: Do NOT isolate yourself
I will admit honestly that this tip has been one of the hardest things for me to be able to do personally.  It is SO easy and maybe even tempting to struggle with infertility by yourself, but that can be toxic to your well being.  Babies and pregnany are EVERYWHERE especially, it seems, when your dealing with a loss or set back that can come with fertility struggles.  I have NOT answered the phone, NOT been on facebook, NOT eaten with others at weekly breakfasts at work, NOT gone to get togethers during this 22 months of difficulty.  Having those behaviors is bad, bad, bad.

Thankfully, I have so many friends and family that have refused to allow me to do this to myself.

Everything has been better for me since I was open and honest with what Josh and I were dealing with.  I feel like the real me is out in the open again and it feels liberating and great.

Please, go out to dinner with friends, go visit with family, make a drive to go spend time with important people, share your story with people you work with, reach out and ask for help, and please please, make sure you are taking care of you and your marriage.  All of this is hard enough by itself let alone trying to cope with everything all by yourself.   

I am hopeful these tips teach, heal, and connect...

1 comment:

  1. Kristin- I am so impressed with your blog and proud of you for having the strength and courage to do it. I believe your stories and advice can be helpful for people dealing with a variety of life's difficulties. You are an amazing woman. Love you and Josh and miss you a lot!