So here we are at the fourth and final post in my special blog series. You may be surprised at today’s S: structure. It isn’t as ‘touchy feely’ as stress, support and strength, and you know that I’m all about the emotional side of infertility, so where does such a practical subject fit in?
Let me explain.
Yes I truly believe that dealing with stress and negative emotions, building a great support network, and uncovering your inner strength are all essential to overcoming infertility. Without these elements you may find your journey to parenthood is a real struggle, and you may even feel like giving up on it. That’s the last thing I want for you, so I encourage you to take the need for stress management, support and inner strength seriously. However they are only part of the picture – the preparation, you could say, for the journey ahead.
Once you feel strong, you can ask yourself how you are going to overcome infertility and create your family. We’re talking about formulating and then following a plan – the STRUCTURE of your fertility journey.
Think of it like building a house. You wouldn’t go into a project like that without first drawing up your plans, having them checked by a structural engineer, and then setting to work by building good solid foundations. Along the way as you build you may need to make adjustments to the plan if you find something that doesn’t work, or you decide to change the layout. You’ll do this alongside the architect and the structural engineer, and all the while you’ll keep building upwards keeping the end goal of your house in mind.
So you can start by drawing up your own plan with your partner. Note what you already know about your fertility, what you may still need to investigate, and the possible treatments or therapies you would consider. Just as when you build a house you can do this while consulting with experts such as fertility doctors, to check your plans are realistic and include everything you need to consider.
Then as with any project, as you put your plan into action, accept that there may be some changes to it along the way. In fact, expect them! Have back up plans and contingencies in place ready to deal with every outcome. This is where you might want to consider what options would be acceptable to you – would you look at IVF, donor eggs or sperm, surrogacy, adoption? Having thought through all the options could make your fertility journey run much more smoothly.
Of course trying to bring some structure and planning into your fertility can feel like a daunting task, and you may be much happier taking it day by day and not thinking about the ‘what ifs’. If you feel very resistant to talking about options, seeing doctors, and making a plan this could be a sign that you need to feel emotionally stronger before you can do this. In which case, looking after the first 3 S’s would be key for you to do first.
I know that without some structure in my fertility journey I’d be very unlikely to be a mum to my little boy. A clear plan of research, doctors’ appointments, therapies and treatments helped me to uncover the real reasons I wasn’t conceiving and find the right solutions for us. If I had stuck with the first doctor who said he couldn’t help me, and only read the first book on fertility, I would be no further on. Yes it does take strength to keep going, but the end results can be so worth it.