It took six FRIGGIN’ months from the moment I selected the donor to eventually have the donorsperm vials shipped AND ARRIVE to the clinic in Kyiv in early September. At one point the patient care coordinator I was working with at the time asked me for a confirmation and reference number on the shipment. WUUUUUTT? I tried not to think about the shipment getting mislplaced! C’est pas vrai! I ordered the sperm vials in March, and by August, I was still supplying the sperm bank the name of the clinic for final shipping information. Disheartening and stressful? At times…absolutely! I was trying to schedule-up my IVF treatmentpost-pandemic and was losing valuable time in my overall fertility window due to my age.
All sorts of thoughts ran through my head:I felt like I was alone in the journey. I was using a type of donor that apparently requires permits in some countries to be able to use. I want to keep this post’s to the mindset hacks that I curated at that time and hope to share a whole hell of a lot more about the donor conception in another future post!
It was a moment for me when I realized that I needed to find some tools to deal with and to work through what was going on at that time. I didn’t really like the fact that I was forcing myself to come up with what was wrong and sometimes punish myself during that strange time of just waiting waiting waiting. I think that those with experience in the TTC community are very familiar with the dreaded waiting. While it wasn’t the “two week” wait it was a long time to be able to rethink thoughts over and over and I realized if I was replaying some thoughts that weren’t exactly healthy and good for me…? Well, I was of course the one most likely to suffer. It was so hard to try and stop looking at what was wrong at that time. In fact, it was absolutely destroying any positive mindset around fertility I was trying to muster. I kept wanting to blame myself, “What am I doing wrong?” Also, as I said, that self blame became very isolating. I was making the clinic, the spermbank, but most importantly me…wrong. I still work with the spermbank.
Upleveling the Mindset
The Fertility Odyssey gave me a chance to re-evaluate what I wanted – really wanted – and for what reasons. I realized then that I wanted to know if it were possible to NOT have infertility completely consume my life? I was headed down a path in life and thought no, I don’t want this to suck for me. Uncomfortable is cool but outright suck? What else is possible?
6 Fertility Mindset Rituals
Guided Meditations and Breathwork
Having a self-guided meditation practice and breathwork invites your mind to take a pause from any narrative your mind may be running…regarding anything. There’s a lot of great videos on YouTube for this! Really good ones! While this may not be the higher purpose of meditation (there are some great ones that I love for putting me right to sleep). The goal is to overide any potential limiting beliefs that are causing misery in your journey.
It sounds so unoriginal doesn’t it? However, there really is something to it because I notice when I don’t do it. My writing tends to get a lot more…how shall we say…bitchy! Journaling lets me get out the thoughts I’m stuck on…to move it out of my body so that I don’t have to rethink it 86 more times within the next hour. Then again, if you ask me what I’m doing next Tuesday at 10 am…I would definitely have to look at my calendar (the kind with the spirals) beforehand because I wrote it out and that’s how I think, or rather, don’t have to because I wrote it down (and with a planner in place where I can find it). Of course, you may not have time to journal pages everyday, so when I don’t have time I love to simply journal ‘little wins.’ For example, writing down 3-5 things that went well today. Did you receive a compliment? Did you like how you handled something? Did you finally wrap up something or took an additional step in your fertility journey? Be creative! Did you grow some good tomatoes this year? Add that to the list!
Staying on the Path
I realized that this was something that I needed to look at as it was coming up for me. Because I was dealing with fertility clinics located in central European time, I had so little time to mentally prepare myself for ups and downs within the journey as I knew they were going to be waiting for me when I got up. Is there anything in the IVF process that needs to be attended to immediately? Notice any resistance with it but be kind to yourself in the process. I recently read “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. Yes this is 100 % a business book at first glance but what is absolutely applicable to the fertility journey is his goal-setting ‘roadmapping to now’ technique where you apply the most important thing you could do today to bring you to your goal this year, in two years and then the next five years. Absolutely love it for how that technique could be applied to the fertility journey.
Be Comfortable in the Unknown
Choosing to live in the question. Active tense. Part of this fertility journey is being okay with the unknown. I didn’t, and still don’t know, if becoming a mother is in the cards for me. Or! I could instead ask myself…How is becoming and being a mother in the cards for me? Two totally different feels! Being tormented by this unknown is a choice, but who wakes up thinking, “Wow, I would love to mindF@#k myself today! Let me count the ways!” So what can I do when I catch myself thinking these mindf’ng kind thoughts? Personally I work with boundary setting, changing my prejudgements, and filtering out any and all unnecessary negativity in my life became paramount. I found this immensely freeing, to be able to make some choices around what I was going to let bother me. Please share what works for you?
You’ve got to be able to celebrate along the way. I tried to celebrate who I was becoming in the process – someone who advocated more for herself than ever before, someone who put herself out there with all the other warriors in the TTC journey. I also tried to celebrate with acupuncture and massages when I could! On some days it’s being able to celebrate taking one good deep breath. Can you have compassion for where you are in the journey?
Daily Routine: Mirror Exercises
Develop a routine before you start your day. I’m a big fan of what I call the two minute subconscious hacks. I got these exercises from Patti Hano who has a facebook group called Empowered Fertility Mindset. She also offers coaching in a group setting. She has a great style and really walks her talk. Her fertility story journey is incredible-I’ve asked her to guest write a piece for challengestrugglevictory. I will be sure in Instagram when that happens!
Tell yourself when you see yourself looking at yourself in a mirror, “I love you, I really love you.” Out loud is best! Feeling a bit foolish? I can hear Patti now, “Journal it!” You may forget at first, it’s a new habit and we’re most likely seeing a mirror after going to the bathroom unconsciously. So it’s nice to have a Post It note up to remind yourself. For me it was sooooo awkward at first. Keep it up! It’s amazing how much cultivated self-compassion can do! I’m pretty sure Patti would remind me to journal on what differences I saw after a week or so of doing it!
Knowing I had my own back, I realized that doing the mindset work, I came around to learning to love myself more and to be okay with either outcome at the end of my fertility journey. It’s really amazing how for me, how so much came down to self-worth issues. Every setback that I had toward the beginning really made me question my value as a woman who was interested in becoming a mother. This short list of mindset exercises helped tremendously in navigating the Fertility Odyssey.
I hope that this was of some help to you! If you like this post please let me know and be sure to get my What Impacts Fertility Checklist to start your family planning!