IVF is soul sucking. It’s the absolute worst. Yes, EVEN IF you get a baby at the end, the emotional and physical toll is beyond exhausting. Despite keeping positive focus on the end goals, the journey to get there is a rocky, rocky road.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s a lot of things that are draining during this time and self care is as important as ever. Since most, if not all, of those drains are beyond our control, here’s a few small ways to fill yourself up and build a soft little cushion of protection around your heart.
Binge Watch Something Scary or Funny
Skip anything sad, or emotional, or even “feel good.” “Feel good” quickly becomes “feel bad” when it’s centered around a heartwarming family story. I don’t want to watch 5 seasons of a beautiful family. I want to watch someone being chased by a werewolf, cursed by a witch, or drained by a sexy vampire. Nothing with babies.
Exceptions will be made for Labyrinth because the sex appeal of David Bowie vastly outweighs the appearance of that dumb baby. Jareth the Goblin King ALWAYS gets a pass.
Indulge in Your Favourite Snacks
Come on. We know that you didn’t come to IVF lightly and amongst the many, MANY things that you tried included all the “fertility diets.” So, after the gluten free, the keto, the low sugar, the high protein, and no alcohol, go ahead and indulge a little. This process is rough. Eat the cupcake. Drink the wine.
Enjoy the Company of Strangers
There is some great content online produced by folks who are living the IVF life along with you right now. I find it oddly satisfying to read or listed to their experiences, which often include the EXACT same complaints and frustrations that we all have. It’s true that misery loves company but it’s even MORE accurate to say that with commiserating comes clarity and comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in this struggle.
I particularly enjoy Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure and have been binge-listening for the last year. I love how open they are with describing the process and I find myself nodding along as they describe the annoyances, the low points, and how frustrating it all is.
Only Share What & When You Want
You don’t owe answers to anyone. Whether it’s good news or bad, you’re not obligated to provide updates to friends or acquaintances. Nobody needs to know that your hormones are out of control or that you literally want to punch the next pharmacy rep who phones to ask for a review of their service. By the same token, use your support network. Let them know if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed so they can take something off your plate. And let them know when you’re feeling optimistic and energized too – but only if that’s truly how you’re feeling.
Social Media Detox
It’s just not possible to effectively mute and unfollow every pregnant couple or every baby-related social media post. Instead of wishing away every baby picture in your feed or trying to filter through your network, just take a break.
Post a note on your networks so it doesn’t look like you vanished without a trace and then peace out for a few days.
Leave a comment with your other tips for self care during IVF!