For sure, it seems nearly impossible to stop obsessing about pregnancy while dealing with infertility. Babies are all around you. You spend countless hours in the doctor’s office checking this, assessing that – all in the hopes of having the sperm meet the egg. Here are some ideas for how to get pregnancy off your mind, or at least deal with it in a more healthy way.
1. Make a list of the positives.
Literally write down everything that you are grateful for. If you can stretch yourself, also write down the things you are able to do now without the added responsibility of a new child. Really try to appreciate your life, just as it is right now. It may sound cliché, but it really does work. So much of our obsession and sadness comes from the belief “if only I had a child, my life would be complete.” Believing your that you life is wonderful and is unfolding exactly as it should can release you from being stuck in thinking life will not go on if you don’t get pregnant. This doesn’t mean that you stop hoping for a child, it just means your life is full of other amazing things that you have the time right now to really focus on and appreciate.
2. Make the day you get your period a celebration!
The day your (or your partner’s) period comes (or is expected to come) plan something amazing for yourself. It can be getting together with your favorite people for dinner or drinks, going to your favorite restaurant, going to see a good movie, getting a massage, whatever makes you HAPPY! Try you best not to discuss the fact that your period came, or if you do, only talk about it in a positive light (i.e. “well my cycle is predictable and right on time!). If you are able to create something else to look forward to on that day, the pain and disappointment will be just a little less.
3. Channel your inner star power.
Find a song that makes you feel empowered and like the most unstoppable person in the world. Put it on every device you have that can play music. Whenever you need it (waking up for morning monitoring, after a shot, result or other milestone) play it, sing it, and dance to it. This may sound and look silly, but if you internalize the words and let truly enjoy yourself, you really will feel better. Just give it a try.
4. Find the words and thoughts that bring you peace.
Whether it’s inspirational quotes, scripture, a poem, or line from a movie or song, find physical words that bring peace to your mind. Print them out or write them down. Mediate, read and internalize them, no less than 3 times a day. Memorize them as best you can. Carry them with you. There is something incredibly powerful about consistently focusing your mind on words and thoughts that help you to feel good.
5. Limit the amount of time you wallow in sadness.
It’s inevitable that you will feel really sad and just want to cry. That’s ok. Feel the emotion and be aware of the thoughts that fill your mind. Mourn the fact that your life is not going how you expected it to. Be angry that you don’t yet have something you really want. Just don’t stay there. When you have your down moments, give yourself no more than 5 minutes at a time to be sad. When the 5 minutes is up (or even before), stop immediately and do something else.
6. Take a break from social media.
If you find yourself sad and upset by the latest posts of your friends’ pregnancy or children, limit your exposure to social media. If you are an avid user, and can’t imagine this reality, then consider adding more control over whose posts appear in your newsfeed. Like or follow pages and people who inspire you and provide tips to help you feel better. Try to remember that your friends growing bump, or smiling baby is only one part of his/her life, just like infertility is only one part of your life.
7. Re-think your shots.
It’s really hard to put infertility out of your mind when you have to take daily hormone shots. Try to find ways to make getting your shots more fun or less of a big deal. Play your favorite song, time them during the commercial break of your favorite shows, talk with one of your best friends right after, etc. The goal is to take your shot and move on quickly to something that you really enjoy.
8. Have sex for the fun of it.
If you have a partner, plan a night of sex that is all about pleasure. Time it just right to not impact the next sample that needs to be provided. In this journey, somewhere along the way, sex evolves to have only one purpose. Try to create intimate experiences that bring the passion and fun back to your sex life. For heterosexual couples, try things where the male does not ejaculate inside of the female. Knowing that you are having sex without the goal of pregnancy reduces the “pressure to perform” and can help you better connect to your partner.
9. Help someone else.
One of the quickest ways to help you stop obsessing over your own challenges is to be of service to someone else. Volunteer at some worthy organization, participate in a fundraiser, do several random acts of kindness, become a mentor, reach out to a friend in need. You have unique gifts, skills and nurturing qualities that can benefit others. Use and develop them now instead of later.
10. Stop taking 1,000 pregnancy tests.
Whether you are undergoing infertility treatment or not, most people trying to conceive have taken a pregnancy test, or two, or three hundred. It’s a very predictable set of experiences. You think you’re having pregnancy symptoms; your period is a couple of hours late, you just want to be sure. It can’t hurt to take the test, right? Right??!!! Well, it does hurt, especially when the result is negative. Sometimes the reality of the negative test can help you feel like you “know for sure” and can help you move on. Other times, it becomes its own obsession that leads you down a road that’s hard to get off of. Many people who have become pregnant will tell you the symptoms are exactly the same as getting a period. Don’t let the symptoms drive you to take the test unnecessarily.
So, what do you think? Please post a comment and share other strategies you have used.