I’ve been thinking a lot about how we get through this journey we call infertility. The tyrant we call infertility, the one we wage a personal war with on a daily basis.
For each and everyone of us running this gauntlet, we have a different approach and get through in our own unique way. But there are a few approaches which I have noticed out there… There are those of us who use the “Denial” approach, there are those of us who use the “Einstein/Socrates” approach, there are those of us who use the “If I just stay calm I can control this” approach and there are those of us who use the “Super support” approach.
Denial approach is to me the least effective of all, while it helps keep the baying wolves of depression at bay for a short while, it really is not the approach for those of us in this journey for the long haul albeit unwillingly. This is where you know suspect you have a problem, but you become an ostrich and pretend that all is OK. You pretend that if you “just relax” you will fall pregnant and you will be “normal” and live the happy picket fence dream with Labradors gamboling in the garden and butterflies fluttering above your gorgeous kids heads… In my opinion, this approach is futile, the sooner you seek help to combat infertility the better. The infertility arsenal is extremely comprehensive and if one seeks help sooner the dream of picket fence living is realised that much sooner. I wasted a year on this approach, so take it from me, ostrich style is NOT the way to go. But that is my humble opinion…
The “Einstein/Socrates” approach definitely has it’s merits. This approach comes into play once you have taken the step from denial into the assisted reproduction world. This approach has many tools which come in handy – the biggest being the Internet. Yes, Dr Google comes highly recommended when one uses this approach, and even though his diagnosis’s (diagnoseese?) are sometimes highly contradictory, “he” continues to get many patients coming to his rooms. Once one embarks on this approach, it is very difficult to remember that fertility specialists DID study for over 7 years to gain their knowledge and no matter how much this approach empowers the patient and makes them feel like they could be a fertility specialist in their own right, that really the only properly qualified ones are those with the appropriate diploma’s on their walls… Tough one to swallow I know, but true none the less. *shaking head, wishing I could be a FS -well not really but you know what I mean*
The “If I just stay calm I can control this” approach is also highly popular…I think it is rather strangefunny (har har) how many infertiles who are classed as time urgent perfectionists LOVE this approach. *Huge blinking sign flashes over my own head at this point of the narrative* This approach combines a dash of the denial approach and a good measure of the scientific know it all approach. In my experience this approach involved a lot of anal retentiveness combined with highly honed analytical and organisational skills… Infertiles who use this approach firmly believe that they have this war under control… they believe that by organising and planning and joining all the dots that they can conquer this tyrant… News flash : if there is ONE thing I have personally learnt in the last four (crikey moses it hurts to state it out loud each time) years is that NOBODY has this tyrant under control. We learn to live with it, we learn to read it and learn to decipher it’s Morse code, but control it? Never in a million years!
Lastly we have the “Super Support” approach, again highly popular. This approach is taken by those of us who need to know that we have everyone behind us every step of the way. The infertile who takes this approach is generally very open about her infertility, and more often than not (sadly) has most likely suffered several set backs or losses during her journey. Support is found in many areas, from family to non stupid comment making real life friends to on line friends. This infertile shares her story in the hope that she can help someone else make the right decision sooner rather than later, and helps so many newbies on each level get through their own struggles. They do guard their hearts though, and once they let someone past the hard outer shell, that heart consumes them with light.
Personally I have got the T-shirt (and have worn it to foam parties or burnt it) for each and every approach I have mentioned, and am now in a state of metamorphosis between the “Einstein/Socrates” and “Super Support”. I read up, ask questions, empower myself on this journey, and I lean on people more.
I have learnt not to try and control it all the time, I have learnt to trust others to be there for me. I am expecting God to honor His promise to me that I will be a fruitful vine… and I have friends who are there for me in more ways than I ever expected. From quite time with my Saviour, to early morning text messages from a real life friend (Marce this is you) cheering me on at each step of the process (even when she does not 100% understand what she is cheering for), to my online friends at Fertilicare, to my husband (who probably deserves a medal for helping me get through this war -but shhhh, don’t tell him, he’ll expect brownie points), to my Mom and sister who are the best friends I could hope for and to each and everyone of you who read my inane ramblings and comment on this blog. I could not have got to this stage in my first (and please God last) IVF without the “Super Support” you give.
You mean more to me than you will ever know – Thank You!