Fertility Hope & Infertility Disappointments – Finding Balance?
Why, in the middle of a great IVF cycle, with outstanding results, every step of the way, are we despondent?
Why when our bodies respond exactly as they should with fertility medication stimulation, are we hesitant to embrace the possibility of success or even of success of the cycle so far?
We know why.
We know that the only result that we care about, really care about, is the positive pregnancy test. Unless there is a pregnancy at the end of a fertility treatment cycle, whether it be IVF or IUI or ovulation induction, we call it a failure. For some of us, even the positive pregnancy test isn’t quite it either. We’ve had losses. We know that not every pregnancy results in a baby.
We really haven’t succeeded at fertility treatment until there is a baby in our arms.
Shying Away From Hope During Fertility Treatment
Here’s a silly question.
Why not? Why not enjoy the little successes as we go along? Letting them build to the bigger successes and then the biggest success of all. Why do we shy away from that while we’re simultaneously working diligently towards it?
Loss aversion is why.
We don’t want to hope. Because then we won’t hurt as bad when the outcome is not what we want.
In other words?
When we don’t hope and we don’t become pregnant, we have protected ourselves.
When we don’t want something too much, too big, too authentically, then it won’t hurt when we don’t get it.
When we deny to ourselves the magnitude of our desire, we are striving for the disappointment that accompanies failure to be equal in size. Small. Tiny. Miniscule. Hope tiny = disappointment tiny.
All the same thing.
Loss Aversion During Fertility Treatment
We don’t want to feel something and we will do an awful lot to avoid feeling it. We will sacrifice pleasure to avoid pain. We will sacrifice hope for numbness, almost anything to avoid disappointment.
The loss is perceived as bigger than the possible gain?
No way do we truly believe that or we would NOT enter or stay in fertility treatment. The losses do not exceed the possible gains.
Simply put the “failed” fertility treatment cycles and even the miscarriages do not outweigh the possibility of success- having a baby. If they did, we would not be in a fertility program, continuing to try to become and stay pregnant.
We do this. We do this purposely. Hope, less. Disappointment, less.
Does it work?
And I have to wonder. At what cost?
How much joy do we deprive ourselves of to avoid the disappointment?
A Fertility Hope Challenge
I will offer you a challenge. A gentle, loving challenge. Not a boot camp style challenge.
Can you fan that ember of hope that really does exist, even underneath layers of protection, into a slightly bigger flame?
Can you try with your next cycle to let a little more joy in?
If you are willing, please email me at FertileYoga@gmail.com to let me know how it goes. Or to ask for support.
That’s our commitment here at RMACT.
You do not have to do this alone.
We’re hoping along with you.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.