Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster & Pressing a Pause Button
There's a reason that infertility is compared to a roller coaster. First there's the bad news, and down you go. Then you get some good test results, and up, up and away.
And so on and so forth.
Infertility can be a wild ride and when you're on it, it's all you can do to hold on for dear life.
The upsides are rather easy. You feel good when you hear good news and good results. Good news creates hope for the next result and for the ultimate answer- a positive pregnancy test and a baby.
The disappointments are much harder. What do you do about the bad news? The negative results?
Infertility Bad News
Dealing with the frustrating bad news with infertility is as personal as any other emotional response. As unique as we are though, there are also things that are universal.
When we're disappointed, we get upset. Truth.
When we get frustrated, it's appropriate to feel fear. This one's a possibility, not a truth. Frustration can also forge determination. A lot of us waver between the two- fear and determination. The fear is about going further downhill. That this bad news will lead to more bad news. And those feelings tend to come when we're tired. And overdone. And maybe even need a good cry. The determination is about picking ourselves up and pushing back with everything that we've got. We get to determination, often, after we've had our reaction, our sad, our good cry.
When we're sad, sometimes we cry. Sometimes we talk about it. Sometimes we have a drink or eat. Sometimes we go take a long walk or soak in a hot bath. Sometimes we open up to our friends, sometimes we shut down.
Disappointing news when it comes to infertility can feel bigger than it really is, as if it's the downside of a roller coaster and we can't see the next turn, carrying us up.
And I think the hardest thing when we're riding the roller coaster is remembering that it will stop. That's the nightmarish aspect of infertility- that the roller coaster never stops. That we are stuck on it forever. And that the highs and lows are relentless.
How to Move On From Infertility Bad News
There are so many wonderful tools to take advantage of when you're on this ride and feeling out of control. Here are a few, with more to come through out this month.
- Accepting that bad news feels bad. It does. It feels bad. Accepting it doesn't mean clutching it to you and holding on for dear life. It's acknowledging that disappointment is real, frustration is real and sadness is not only real but a reasonable response when something that you've been striving for hasn't succeeded.
- Experiencing the feeling. Breathing deeply. Sitting quietly. Letting your heart and mind examine what this is for you.
- Sharing the experience, when you're ready. Talking to your partner, friend, or family member that you trust. Telling them what you need. If it's to listen without responding, then tell them that. If it's to hold you while you cry, then tell them that. If it's to hold your hand and have them tell you everything is going to be ok, then tell them that.
- Moving your body. A ten-mile run isn't necessary, but a walk can help. If the gym is a happy place, go have fun. Take a yoga class. Stretch in the privacy of your own home.
Feeling our feelings is the first step to releasing feelings. Even our most challenging feelings serve a purpose and when that purpose is realized, the feeling often shifts.
Acknowledging our feelings is like pressing a pause button on the roller coaster. And that pause can be all the time that we need to feel how we feel and then recover and move on.
Take advantage of that pause and come join us in Ladies Night In or Ladies Night Online. These are places to find support, help and cheerleading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about either of these programs.
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.