By Kari Bengtson
It has just occurred to me that being on this fertility journey has inadvertently altered the course of the life that my husband and I lead, and it’s not necessarily a good thing.
We’ve been together for nearly 9 years, married for nearly 7 years, and have been working on starting our family for the last 6 years. In that time, we’ve refused to plan vacations for fear of What If…:
- What if we’re finally pregnant by then and we have to cancel our plans?
- What if we can’t afford to go because of treatments?
- What if we need those vacation days for treatments or for leave?
I’ve given up drinking the coffee which used to be my morning ritual. I’ve (mostly) given up drinking the wine I’m so fond of. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on a medicine cabinet full of vitamins, creams, powders, potions, and every “miracle cure” known to man; most of which are still half-full and are nearing their expiration. We’re working with our third and final fertility clinic. I’ve done 2+ years of fertility acupuncture and 3+ years of personal training. I’ve grown to have a fear of soy or anything that our RE has warned could potentially cause a hormonal imbalance. The constant headache of I can’t do that… or We can’t plan that… has really taken its toll on my body, and on our marriage.
And that has to stop. Now.
Life is much too short to keep putting everything on hold for the fear of What If. We can’t keep preventing ourselves from making plans or from occasionally indulging in things we love, because of What If. There will always be excuses or reasons not to take that long-overdue vacation to the beach, reasons not to go on that cruise, or to make use of time off. But we can’t let those excuses continue to call the shots. We’ve got to remember that life is best LIVED!
If you’re on this fertility roller-coaster, it’s important to keep in balance with it all. It’s imperative that you not lose sight of yourself, of your relationship with your spouse/partner or friends and family. Plan that vacation; have an occasional cup of coffee if that’s what you enjoy; take time off – both physically and emotionally – from all things fertility once in a while. Rediscover old talents – or explore new ones! Take up journaling, buy a coloring book (there are lots of “mindfulness” coloring books geared toward adults online!), take a pottery class, or learn how to do yoga. Gather some girlfriends for a night out with wine, paintbrushes, and sappy movies. Whatever the activity, let yourself go, and allow yourself to truly enjoy it. Stop putting your life on hold for that What If. The truth is, that baby will come when it’s time, and no amount of worrying, no “perfect” diet, or anything else you do to try to force your baby’s arrival will make it happen. So in the meantime, relax, enjoy life, and stop living in fear of What If!
I recently rediscovered an old blog post I wrote once upon a time. I can’t help but be struck by the depth of truth within those words, as I now sit nursing and rocking my little girl, who was conceived naturally after our last attempt at IVF (at clinic #4, in another state) failed.
Seeing the boldly colored line on the pregnancy test before I’d even set it on the counter was the biggest shock of my life. After all was said and done, we’d spent 9 years, 8 losses, and tens of thousands of dollars doing all the “right” things, never getting anywhere, and finally we were surprised with a natural conception which we had been told was medically impossible.
I wish that I had taken a bit of my own advice sooner. After being together for nearly 14 years, we still have yet to take a real vacation or do any real traveling, and now with a toddler and only one income (I left my job to stay home with our kiddo), the priority of any such would-be adventures has shifted. We would have loved to take a cruise around the Caribbean or to have jet-set off to Europe but kept putting it off for that ever-elusive What If.
We’ve now traded personal training sessions for chasing the baby around the playground, novels for Dr. Seuss books, and expensive dinners out for quiet meals at home with vegetables from our garden. But I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Life is too short – and often has too many surprises in store – to continuously live in the future, worried about What If’s. All we have is this moment, here and now. It is our job to embrace the gifts we’re given in the present moment. The rest will fall into place if we learn to trust and just allow it to happen.
As Lynsi says, “you can’t left-brain a baby,” “balance of intention and surrender is key,” and “your baby is coming in just the right time and in just the right way.” As I can personally attest, she is absolutely right.