Almost no one has the luxury (if you could call it that) of undergoing fertility testing and treatments without having to continue meeting all kinds of other commitments and obligations. Which means you have to fit your appointments and your blood tests and your procedures around the rest of your busy life.
And if you haven’t told your work colleagues about what you are going through, it can be very stressful to keep asking for time off at the last minute to accommodate your numerous medical procedures. By the same token, if you already have a child, it can be equally hard to find baby sitters to cover for you at a moment’s notice.
The guilt factor also adds to the stress. You want to keep performing at your job at the level that other people expect, and/or you want to continue to be a diligent and responsive parent -no matter what.
But nobody can do this for long, without getting overwhelmed and exhausted. And you can’t keep putting on your happy face and pretending everything is just fine forever either.
So here are some ideas on how to cope:
- Acknowledge that fertility treatments are like another part-time (if not full-time) job, and reduce your expectations for how well you can perform in your other jobs for the time being.
- Remember that this is a temporary period of time (hopefully) and give yourself the permission to not be perfect.
- Consider taking some time off work, arrange for more childcare help and ask for more help during this time.
- If you have not confided in work colleagues about your fertility issues and you really don’t want to, at least let them know that you have some medical issues you’re dealing with that you don’t want to discuss at the moment. Let them know you appreciate their help in letting you do what you need to.
- Give yourself permission to take short-cuts: pick up take-out meals or ask family members to cook meals, clean your house or do other chores.
- Schedule more “me” time. Instead of pushing yourself to do more, give yourself more breaks—take walks, get massages, meditate.
- Confide in someone—your partner or a close friend who does know what’s going on—about how you are really feeling. Holding it all inside and trying to keep up a good front is exhausting!
- Give guilt a rest. You can’t do everything for everyone. Your focus now should be on supporting yourself in getting through this process healthy and whole.