Wednesday, February 3, 2016

COPING STRATEGIES FOR THE TWO WEEK WAIT

Stay active. Force yourself to stay busy to keep your mind off your body and your fertility. If you stop your life, you’ll end up focusing on the clock, the calendar, and every twitch or sensation in your body. If your work isn’t too stressful, keep working. If it is, take time off and do other things that will help you keep your mind occupied. Get creative: read trashy novels, watch movies that you enjoy and don’t depress you, go shopping, cook an elaborate meal, or do calming visualizations – whatever distracts you from worrying and helps pass the time.

Just breathe. When you’re anxious and stressed, slow, calming breaths can help you feel better physiologically and emotionally. Mind/body techniques can increase your sense of control and decrease symptoms of stress related to infertility. Check out a very practical Guided Meditation video  is at http://meditatevisualizeforfertility.blogspot.com.ng/2015/03/increase-fertility-hypnosis-guided.html


. Simple techniques such as paying attention to and slowing down your breathing can calm your nerves and help you cope with the intensity of the waiting period.

Be kind to yourself.
Pamper yourself with indulgences such as manicures, pedicures, facials, fancy dinners, or sweet treats. This isn’t the time to be worried about your weight or to be self-critical. After months or years of dealing with infertility and medical treatment, you’re likely not feeling very good about your body – so think about using this time to nurture it. After all, if treatment is successful, your body will be carrying and nurturing your child. Do some light exercise such as walking or yoga, try to eat well and get enough sleep, even if that means napping during the day.

Practice forgiveness
.  You need to forgive yourself for acting or thinking in ways you said or hoped you wouldn’t. The same applies to your partner who isn’t perfect either – who may not seem bothered by the wait or who says something completely insensitive that reduces you to a puddle of tears. You can’t expect to be 100 percent supportive of each other all the time. Remember that you’re in this together and you’re both invested in the outcome – so you need to try to be more tolerant during this very challenging time.

Maintain your boundaries
. If it is too painful, give yourself permission to stay away at this time from people who ask too many questions, upset or may upset you, expect too much from you, are pregnant, or have babies or young children. Think of it as having a doctor’s note relieving you from attending any baby- or child-related events.

Reach out for support. Identify your sources of support and reach out to them (partner, friend, sister, minister). You may find it useful to contact other Trying To C
onceive women through support groups or online blogs (e.g. Nicole the fertile chick or the fertility discussion board on Nairaland). Some women even have “cycle buddies or sisters” who help through the ups and downs of treatment cycles.

Do volunteer work
. It can be useful at this time for example, to join a group in your local church;. Be sure however that it is not too physically demanding as e.g, Ushering. Some people find that the best way to distract themselves from their own concerns is to do something for someone else Ideally, any activities that involve young children or babies should be avoided because they can be painful reminders of your current situation. If volunteering isn’t your thing – that’s fine too. It just may be too hard to muster the energy to give of your time to others when you’re feeling like your resources are already depleted.

Rely on faith/prayer/spirituality. Whatever your beliefs , nurture this aspect of your life. You may do this through prayer, spiritual or inspirational literature, spending time in nature, or attending spiritual/religious gatherings. It is not unusual to find oneself making promises in exchange for a successful treatment outcome, as in the case of the following woman during her 2WW: “I'm not a religious person, nor do I have a strong belief in God, but I find myself asking the universe to give this to me and in exchange I will try very hard to give them back a really great human being.”

Have a Plan “B”.  If you and your partner need to know that you are committed to pursuing other options if this treatment cycle isn’t successful, then by all means make a plan “B” before you begin the 2WW. This might include another treatment cycle, third party reproduction, or adoption. Having a back-up plan may take some of the pressure off the current cycle and give you some comfort in knowing that, one way or another, you are committed to becoming parents. However, some people find they cannot entertain other options if this cycle fails for fear that they will “jinx” it, and that’s OK too.

Cultivate humour. When faced with such a life-altering outcome and after the distress of fertility investigations and treatment, it can be difficult to find anything to be happy about or to see the humour in anything. However, humour can be great therapy. A recent study conducted in Israel by Shevach Friedler and colleagues suggests a bit of humour may even improve pregnancy rates after IVF.

 Make a point of doing things that make you laugh and bring you joy such as watching funny movies or watching tapes of your favourite comedian. Whatever tickles your funny bone, laughter can lighten your mood and serve as a good distraction from your thoughts.

Seek professional help if you need it
. If you are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or negative thoughts, don’t struggle in isolation. Professionals can help by lending a listening ear, validating and normalizing your concerns, and helping you to develop coping strategies. Many fertility clinics have trained counsellors that you can talk to. Also try to maintain friendly relations with the staff of the fertility clinic you are attending; they can often be veritable sources of strength and wisdom on how to cope.

Celebrate your successes
. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to fast-forward two weeks into the future. Accept the fact that you will be riding on a roller coaster of emotions. That’s to be expected. The stakes are high. So do what you can to stay sane and grounded and celebrate your small successes (“I got through the day without crying or without googling my symptoms!”). During the dreaded two-week wait, fill your thimble of hope with one certainty – eventually you will have your answers.


Source: ‘Thimble of Hope’ By Judith Daniluk Phd & Emily Koert M.A

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