While we should all be taking care of our mental health every day, trust me, I understand that it’s not always that simple. I’m sure we’d all love to press pause on time just so we can sit for a little while and decompress, but sometimes we don’t get that chance in each and every one of our days.
This is true for all of us, but especially true for those going through a tough time in their lives — like dealing with infertility. As you probably already know, I can tell you first hand just how difficult dealing with issues TTC can be. We went through IVF, miscarriage, and now surrogacy. While I can’t say it’s been an easy road, it’s been one that has taught me how to get through hard times — even if it’s just a small struggle in my day.
In observance of World Mental Health Day today, I wanted to share some tips that I learned while going through my infertility journey.
With all these thoughts in your head, sometimes it just takes putting it down on paper to properly process them and get it off your chest. I recommend journaling about both the good and the bad — this way, you’re able to look back at the good things when you’re having a bad day for a little pick-me-up.
2. Seeking out a therapist
Whether it’s digitally or in-person, speaking with a therapist was one of the best decisions I could have made for my mental health while going through our infertility journey. Not only did I personally speak with a therapist, but Kyle and I also met with a couples counselor so that we could have a designated time to get it all out on the table and learn about each other’s emotions. Not only is infertility tough on you as a person, but it can also effect your relationships, so it’s important to constantly work on those as well.
3. Tap into the community
The most important thing to remember while going through your infertility journey is that you are not alone — far from it, in fact. What helped me most was to seek out other women who share similar experiences. It’s great because it makes you feel like you can speak openly, learn from their stories, feel validated, and feel heard. Whether there’s a local group that you can join in-person or somewhere on the web (my favorites are Peanut, 1in4 App, Fertility Rally, and RESOLVE), speaking with others who are dealing with similar issues as you are can be incredibly helpful.
4. Communicate with your partner
You’re already dealing with something incredibly difficult, so adding on another layer of relationship issues definitely won’t help things and can add on stress that you absolutely don’t need. Make sure to tell your partner how you’re really feeling (they may be feeling very similar things, too), but don’t let it take over your lives. We learned setting a time limit helped us to say what we needed to say but not to drag on and lead to more fights.
5. Take up a new hobby
Spending all your time inside your head thinking about your struggles will only bring on constant stress and worry. I found that having a new hobby or project like a workout class, painting, or a house DIY project helped me focus on other things that just what was happening with my reproductive system. Even if it’s just an hour or two in your day, trust me, it will help to be distracted even if it’s just for small periods of time.
Sometimes I think “why the heck did I get chosen to go through infertility? Why couldn’t I just have a dang baby like everyone else?,” and in those moments, I realize that God wanted me to use this experience to help other women. That’s exactly what I wrote a book about my experience. Fighting Infertility will be releasing March 30th, 2021. I poured my heart into this book, and I truly can’t wait for you to dive into it and realize that we probably have much more in common than you think.