Struggling to conceive and going through treatment often leaves people feeling very overwhelmed and out of control. They feel that there is nothing they can do to help get a positive outcome, that no matter how hard they work at it they can’t guarantee they will get a baby, no one can, and they don’t know how long it could take, which leaves them feeling in limbo and out of control.
There are lots of things you can do to help with the feelings of overwhelm, to take back some control and look after yourself emotionally. It's important to remember that it is really normal, you are not alone and TTC doesn't define you.
Breathe – breathing techniques can be really good in helping you regain control of your emotions when you are feeling overwhelmed and triggered by one of the many upsetting things when you are TTC. They are great in helping you clear your head of the fuzzy feeling so you can think clearly.
Talk to someone – There are lots of people that can support you and will help you see that you are not alone, that its normal to feel overwhelmed, and scared and uncertain. There are also fertility professionals that can help you if you are struggling emotionally so reach out to have a chat, even of you just have one session to see if it’s right for you.
Get Support – Support groups are great for talking about how you are feeling with people who really get it, who can support you and offer advice in coping through TTC and treatment.
Write a list - Write down all the things you are worrying about, what is making you feel overwhelmed - is it doing things in a certain amount of time, the cost, the idea of treatment, the feelings of grief. Then think about if there is anything you can do to make yourself feel better about them, what can you take action on, what you delegate to your partner (e.g research, finances), what can you find out more information on, what can you cross off your list because its not really important.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about treatment - Write a list of all your questions and how you can find out the information from a reputable source - ask your clinic, speak to a counsellor, visit a reputable fertility website.
Take control of the things that you can do to help you feel that you have some say in the process and that you have control over your life. For example your lifestyle (foods you eat and avoid, plenty of rest, vitamins), mindset (taking care of yourself emotionally in whatever way that is) and practical (planning appointments, organising time off work).
Take some time out for self-care and focus back on you rather than what you are going through – create a list of things that help you relax and make you feel good (exercise, beauty treatments, acupuncture, reflexology).
Go for a walk - The fresh air and time out can be very calming and can take you away from your situation for a little while to give you some peace and space to clear your head.
Write down how you are feeling in a journal - You don’t need to show anyone so you can write down whatever you want, get it all out so your head feels lighter and it could help you organise your thoughts a bit more.
Talk to your partner about how you are feeling and how you can support each other.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like more support, I run a free Facebook support group called TTC Support UK that you are more than welcome to join for peer support, advice and comfort from me and lots of lovely people who completely understand.
This article covers lots of feedback I have heard from patients, in the hope that it will help doctors and nurses understand how patients really feel, and also help everyone that is going through IVF know they are not alone.