We spent eight years trying for a baby with four losses along with way – it was one of the most challenging times of our lives.
As anyone who has been through this knows the stress is relentless and it seems to impact on every aspect of your life.
Completely out of the blue, aged 43 I fell pregnant this summer. I’ve blogged about our journey here.
There are a few things I wish I’d known before we started which may have made this difficult journey that bit easier.
I had lots of counselling throughout our journey and found it invaluable. Don’t underestimate the gravity of what you are going through. It really does have an impact on all aspects of your life. It can be particularly hard to speak to family, friends and even your partner about fertility and miscarriage so having someone to talk to not connected to the situation, was for me, a lifesaver.
Find a passion
I found I absolutely needed a way to escape from the constant rounds of ovulation testing, two week waits and the devastation of my period arriving yet again. Or worse still a miscarriage.
I threw myself into triathlon, slightly extreme I know, and I’m not advocating this is for everyone, but finding something away from baby making acts as a distraction and just takes the pressure off a bit.
You are going through enormous stress and the first thing that tends to be forgotten is taking care of yourself.
There are a million things you can do, I opted for a monthly back massage. It helped with the stress, was something to look forward to and just made me feel better.
It may be the last thing on your mind but we all know exercise does amazing things for your mental health and ability to cope with stressful situations.
I chose running as it was something I had done previously and it was an absolute life-line along with swimming, again something which provided me with stress relief and those all-important endorphins.
It is well worth spending some time with those in your social circle who do not have children. I have friends who had chosen that path and others who were in a similar boat to me.
With the best will in the world I really struggled to be around those with new babies and it was just something I had to accept.
Be careful with social media
Initially I spent a good deal of time on fertility forums and groups, for the most of it I found it hugely helpful to have a community of people to share my frustrations and pain.
Occasionally though it was worth stepping back from as sometimes it was just too much.
I also struggled with social media because as we know this is where everyone puts pregnancy announcements. I’m not ashamed to say that for my own mental health I simply muted those announcing their news until I was in a better place to be able to handle it.
It starts to feel like nothing exists in your world other than trying to have a baby. One thing we did was make some big plans to throw ourselves into. Booking a big holiday, house renovation anything to provide a different focus – for a while at least.
Not for everyone I know but we got our first dog after our third miscarriage and it helped enormously.
She provided an outlet for us to pour some love into, was a huge distraction and also brought some much-needed fun and laughter into our house.
It is of course a huge responsibility so not something that should be done lightly.
And there it is, some ways to make this difficult journey a bit easier. If you take one thing away from this blog it has to be the fact you absolutely have to focus on self care.
There are lots of organisation out there to help if you are really struggling I’ve put a few below.