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Life out of control? 5 ways to get it back

habits & routines infertility tips Nov 16, 2021
Infertility tips

A common side effect of infertility is the lack of control. We can’t control when our cycle starts (or as we say in our house, “when the Duchess arrives.”) We can’t control when our clinic does their retrievals or transfers, we can’t control how our body responds to the meds, we can’t control the number of eggs retrieved, the maturity of the eggs, the fertilization report, or the day 5 report.

We can’t control when the retrieval will be, or how much the meds are, when the clinic calls us back and what is or isn’t included in our insurance coverage. (Please know I hope you’re luckier than I was and do have some coverage as we were 100% out of pocket).

I see so many women who fall into the trap of then thinking and saying they have no control over anything. And while there may be moments when it feels true, a sweeping statement like that is just not accurate. 

What is happening though, is a focus on seeing where control has been taken away. And then it’s like we are wearing those blinders that limit us from seeing anything outside of what’s right in front.

Studies have shown that if you feel like your life is out of your control, taking back just 5% can make all the difference. And that’s good news because you can absolutely take back 5% control of your life - even while in the thick of IVF treatments.

Here are 5 ways to get back 5% control of your life:

1. Educate yourself - You’re here. You’re reading this. So you already have a great head start! A couple other resources I recommend are reputable websites, instagram accounts of your IVF clinic and infertility specialists, some books and podcasts. There are so many resources out there but I’ll share a few favorites; partly to get you started, and partly to keep you off Google as the rabbit hole of misinformation is real.

2. Make Plans for Fun. Schedule, plan and count on doing one fun activity per day. This can be with your partner, friends or even alone. It’s easy to be consumed with by only thing on your calendar being related to your infertility. Whether that’s monitoring appointments, or taking meds or procedures. Making plans for fun to happen around the infertility appointments helps you stay focused on the life that’s happening outside baby making. 

For some impromptu and free fun think of silly dance parties in the bathroom before your shots, listening to music you love on loud in the car, calling a friend that makes you laugh, coloring books or paint by numbers. Fun is not limited to trips or things that cost a lot of money. So mix it up, and keep fun at the top of your to-do list next to taking a pre-natal vitamin and scheduling your ultrasound appointments. On my calendar, I put a smiley face on the days I do something fun so when I look back I can remember that there was fun had along the way. We ALL have access to a calendar in our world right now and we’re capable of tracking everything, so track this too! It doesn’t have to be big, just do one fun thing everyday. 

3. Random Acts of Kindness - Do something kind for someone else. It could be writing a letter to a friend, checking in on someone you haven’t talked to in awhile, bringing/sending someone a gift or baking something yummy and doing a porch drop. The person you’re doing something for will feel good because of it, but what’s interesting is that YOU will feel even better than they do. It’s a win-win so make this a regular occurring to do list item.

4. Establish routines and habits. Establishing one habit daily gives you such a big sense of control. It can be something you do every morning, like reading, listening to music, even just when you take your vitamins or supplements in the morning you can recognize that you’re doing something good (ie: feeding your body the nutrients it needs to help you on this journey). 

We all know that feeling of exhaustion that can come at the end of the day, so maybe try one morning habit that will ease your end-of-day, like emptying the dishwasher in the morning so it’s not waiting for you, or making your bed right when you get up!

An end of workday habit is another great option, especially if you work from home. Shut down your computer and go on a walk to establish that you are done with the work day and are checking back into your personal life. 

By doing these habits over 21 days in a row they become routines that you don’t even have to think about. It’s just assumed you will do it. And then you can add another habit. You will be making and keeping promises to yourself day in and day out which is good for your heart and for your emotions. It will get you out of the depths of your funk on a bad day. Plus, these good habits will carry into your pregnancy as well as into being a good mom, so why not start now?

5. Take time to focus on your partner. This is a challenging time for both of you and you have to constantly remind yourself that the two of you are the foundation of your family. When you do become parents, you’ll need that foundation to be stronger than ever. Proactively make time and plans to have fun with each other and talk about something other than your infertility. This doesn’t mean take the topic off of the table forever, but maybe have a set time limit (15 mins), or location (at home after dinner) for when you do talk infertility. If you haven’t already, check out the 5 Love Languages book and proactively do something for your partner every day.

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