Fertility Treatment and the F Word
In fertility treatment, there is one word that no one wants to hear: failure.
As hard as the topic of failed treatments is to think about, they do happen and it is best to be prepared for that possibility, than pretend it won’t happen to you.
Here is everything you need to know about preparing yourself for this unthinkable scenario, what to do if it happens to you, and where to get support.
Preparing for the possibility of losses
It takes a leap of faith to embark on any fertility treatment. However, there is a fine line between being positive and setting your hopes too high.
Here are a few tips to help keep yourself measured, before and during your treatment
Hope to be one of the lucky ones, where the treatment works smoothly from the first time, but know the statistics of the treatment you are about to embark on. Ask questions of the clinic, do your research. Be hopeful but realistic.
Try not to alter your routine too much. Read the news, continue with your hobbies, see your friends, and ensure you talk about their lives as well as yours when you catch up. Fertility treatment often slowly takes over your entire life, and there will probably be times when you won’t be able to keep up your routines. However, as much as you can, for as long as you can, keep up your everyday life, especially before embarking on treatment.
Don’t make plans too far into the future; this is much easier said than done. As much as you can, do not change your long term plans for vacations, trips, marathons, or family events. Try to keep focused on the day you are living and one week ahead.
It is important at this stage to have extra support in place from friends and family, a fertility support group, or a counsellor or therapist. They can help you find the right balance and maintain perspective.
How to cope with loss
The unthinkable has happened, and the fertility cycle has failed, here are a few steps to help you cope…
Whatever feelings come up, do not reject them or try to stifle them. Anger, depression, resentment, numbness, detachment, devastation, hopelessness… whatever they are, expected or not, contradictory or not, give yourself a pass where all feelings are allowed.
When we feel very intense emotions, we might want to act on them, blaming the clinic, or your partner, quitting work, jumping straight into another cycle… but the best thing to do, for a time, is nothing. Wait until the first wave of intense feelings passes, before making any impulsive or major decisions. Take some time to digest the news and to grieve.
As soon as you are able, try to do at least one thing that you might enjoy. Book a weekend away, or go to a spa if that relaxes you or try a new hobby. This will help you in your recovery.
The other side of the coin is to say “No” to one or two things that you do not enjoy, or that are maybe not necessary. These things will put pressure on you, and you will be distracted while doing them. Say no to commitments that you do not feel like doing, or those that feel like too much right now. Turn down your great auntie’s 90th birthday, say no to the extra project at work, postpone that home improvement project for a few weeks, and your friend will understand when you miss her baby shower.
Once more family, friends, and support groups are essential here. Be explicit in what you need and what makes you feel worse! If the loss feels overwhelming, and you want more support with how to cope, book a session with a counsellor or therapist, to help you develop a bigger arsenal of coping techniques that are right for you.
For advice on how to prepare for, and deal with losses, or any other aspect of fertility treatment, call to book a session with one of our therapists on 0207 467 8548.