There is nothing worse in life than not being able to control the outcome of situations. Especially when you are the type of person who likes to grab the bull by the horns and take control.
I am that type of person. I need to be in control.
However the one thing I have never been able to control is my own fertility.
I worried about my ability to have children from a young age. You see my Mother had suffered 9 losses during my childhood, so I often worried that I would follow down the same path of struggling to get pregnant or getting pregnant and being faced with a loss.
At the age of 24, I conceived my first child within 8 months of trying. My second pregnancy came as a surprise and ended in a late miscarriage, but I then conceived my second child several months after my loss.
My worries and fears about struggling with loss and infertility were slowly being put to bed. I was ok with how my own journey was panning out.
When my son turned 1, my husband and I made the decision to try to conceive again. We had always had our hearts set on having a large family. We knew before starting the journey to conceive again that it could take some time again. After all, it took 8 months to conceive our first child. What we weren’t prepared for was the heartache that would follow month after month, negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test.
For some reason I had gotten it in my head that with this new journey to conceive that I would be one of the lucky ones. You know the ones who get pregnant on a whim without even really having to try. Boy – was I far off base.
I would chart my cycles, take my basal body temperature religiously, and use ovulation kits to try to monitor a prime time to get to baby dancing. The baby dancing happened a lot. To the point that it was becoming more like a chore than doing it out of love. Ovulation? It just wasn’t happening. I would experience anovulatory cycle after anovulatory cycle.
While I felt so blessed with the life I had, and so thankful for my beautiful children – I had a hard time coming to grips with the reality that I may not get to have another child.
Eventually we hit the one year mark. It felt like an eternity. I had become yet another statistic. I was the one in six Canadian couples who struggle with infertility. We were dealing with secondary infertility, which happens when couples who already have a child fail to conceive or carry another child to term after a year of trying. It was at that time when my doctor decided to refer me to a fertility specialist. The kicker? I had to wait 9 months for my initial consult.
I remember feeling so numb, so jealous. I started to avoid social outings. I had it chalked up in my head that if I just kept to myself it would all just somehow be ok. It wasn’t. I knew I had to make a change. There are so many factors that can influence egg health – stress being a big factor. I was becoming my own worst enemy.
To help me better manage my stress, I came up with 4 ways to find inner power through my journey with secondary infertility…
Build Your Relationship with your Husband. I started dating my husband again. We took trying for a baby completely out of the equation. We enjoyed just being in each other’s company. Being present as opposed to scheduling in sex. Sex may have happened less often, but when it did it was more meaningful and less like a chore. We were falling in love with one another again.
Plan Mental Escapes. Whatever this means to you. Book last minute weekend getaways, go for a massage. Take an art class. Go for a drive alone with your favourite tunes cranked. Do whatever makes you happy and frees your mind of any stress!
Learn to Let Go. As someone who likes to be in control of her life, letting go was the hardest step for me. However there are many things in life you can’t control. Your ability to get pregnant is one of them. I had spent so much time letting infertility beat me up causing my mind and body to split. At least it felt that way. Rather than continuing to downward spiral and fall apart emotionally, I had to learn to “let go and let God.” I did this through meditation. It was a very vulnerable time for me, but it allowed me to breathe, be in the present and taught me that I don’t always need to try to solve the problem.
Join Support Groups. Something I didn’t realize was that there were many women in my life who were suffering from infertility silently as well. It wasn’t until I started chatting about my journey that I sought comfort and support through other women who were going through the exact same thing. I was able to ration and calm my mind more just by being able to share how I was feeling and knowing I had someone listening. There is a new campaign that would’ve been a wonderful support platform during my infertility journey – it’s called My Inner Power and the goal is to celebrate women tapping into their own strength when facing infertility, empower them to share their unique stories, and reinforce that infertility is an experience shared with many other women. I’m going to share my story as a sign of solidarity and if you’ve dealt with fertility issues too, I encourage you to share your own My Inner Power story, video, photo, or artwork representing your infertility journey at http://www.egghealth.com/myinnerpower.
It wasn’t until I found my inner power and took it by the reigns that I was able to be ok with our struggles, and not being in control. I was calmer, and my husband and I were finally in a good place again.
Days before my initial consult with a fertility specialist, I wound up taking a pregnancy test. It had been the one month that I decided to give up on charting and the use of ovulation tests. There was no point to purchasing them anyway… I wasn’t ovulating. Wouldn’t you know it 19 months into our journey with secondary infertility and the month I officially let go – I finally got pregnant!