At the time I am typing up this post, there have been 10 confirmed deaths while Hurricane Sandy (now super storm) crosses over land...there is talk about generators at a hospital failing and they are evacuating PICU and NICU patients down 9 flights of stairs...
So, this got me thinking...whenever there is a hurricane or severe storm possible, there is usually some type of warning for people to have time to prepare. That might mean they evacuate and hunker down for the long hall. The area that I live in is known as Tornado Valley and we are prone to them twice a year. While we can be told there is a risk of tornadoes or severe weather, it is very difficult to have warning of one hitting.
What do people do to prepare for the storms...advanced warning or not? What are priorities? If they evacuate, what do they take with them? After the storm, what do they look for...family, friends, survivors, food, water, clothing, shelter...they check to see what type of damage it all caused.
Infertility is a storm. Sometimes it comes in quietly and slowly, building to an intensity that none can withstand. Other times is comes in loud and forceful, destroying things in its wake.
What does one do to prepare for it? I know that whenever I was first starting out on the journey, I was obsessive with checking out chat rooms, searching the internet for knowledge, and trying to educate myself on what to expect. However, is it truly possible for someone to be completely prepared? I know I sure wasn't. I didn't know how much of a toll it would take on my emotions, my faith, my relationships, my self-esteem. All you can do is not be afraid to ask questions, talk to people who've been there, done that, or specialize in it. Be your own advocate.
What should the priorities be? YOU. Yes, that might sound selfish to some, but it is so very important to take care of you. The hormones, tests, appointments are all things that will take a toll on you. Make sure you are taking time to re-energize. That being said...there are always other things to keep close as well...remember that while you are hurting, so is the person you are trying to conceive with. They might not vocalize it, but maybe they don't know how to. After them comes your family and friends...even your furbabies. Love the ones you're around...even if they don't get it. Even if they say the wrong thing. They love you and you will want them to be there when the storm passes. You'll want them to be survivors as well.
How do you approach the infertility storm? Do you run from it or hunker down? Everyone is different. Each person/couple has to decide what is best for them. Sometimes hiding from the reality of the devastation is a needed coping mechanism. There are those whose stubbornness comes out and they are determined to go at it head on. Just remember that if this is your choice, you may end up enduring more than you prepared for. You may not realize the height or depth the water can go. If you feel you are going to drown...like the saying, turn around. It's okay to say it's hard. It's alright to decide that you've had enough. There is another choice, of course. You can decide that this storm is just not for you...You can move from that "area," so to say. You may choose that, for one reason or another, you are done with the treatments, will not pursue adoption...childless not by choice. And THAT is okay, too.
What it comes down to is this:
1) Be as prepared as you can. Educate yourself. Be your own advocate. Ask questions.
2) Remember to take time for yourself. Take time to not make infertility the only thing you are. You are NOT infertility. You are so much more. There is a whole world around you so don't let IF swallow you in its waves.
3) Make decisions that are right for you. It's okay to not make the same decisions as someone else. It's okay to walk away. It's also okay to keep hoping and trying.
Here at Bloggers for Hope, we all have been in similar shoes at one point or another. We understand what it's like to try and navigate the storm that is infertility while trying to balance the rest of life.
When you feel you are drowning in the waves....lost out in the storm....you may feel scared, helpless, hopeless, and alone. However, there are people reaching out a hand to hold on to. There are reasons to keep going. Someone is out there, willing to do whatever it takes to get you through.
**It's your turn: Where are you right now in the infertility journey? What are you struggling with? What are you looking for? If you've gotten through the storm, what can you offer to someone who's still trying to get through it all?**