By: Katie O’Connor, Founder, Shine: A Light On Fertility
We’ve all heard it, “Take care of yourself.” But when going through infertility treatments it couldn’t be more important to take those four little words to heart.
But what does take care of yourself really mean???
To me it meant not being selfish but thinking about me, my feelings, and how my body felt.
Infertility is invasive, on both the mind and the body. You have to be strong going into it.
I took a hard look at my nutrition, I started opting out of foods that had ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, I stopped worrying so much about “fat free” and “sugar free” and choose clean, all natural foods. It also meant cutting down on caffeine – a hard one for me – a self admitting coffeeaholic. I had to be creative, half caffs, Americano this and that, I couldn’t 100% give up my number one favorite thing.
It meant not feeling guilty getting a massage every now and then (and a pedicure, and ya maybe even throw in the manicure too!).
The hardest part for me was slowing down. I am an avid runner, I love doing marathons, and running for me is therapy! I obviously had to stop training at such a rigorous pace, and had to turn to walking instead. I also started training to be an instructor at a barre studio where I was currently a member. I wanted to still be strong, and chose workouts that were gentle enough to do while on my fertility journey.
Also it was saying “no”. I’m not good at saying no, I love helping friends. But sometimes you have to just listen to your gut and say no, especially when it comes to events that you know are going to pull at your heart strings, like anything baby related. Your family/friends should understand if attending something baby related is going to put you over the edge, that while you’d love to be there, for your own mental sanity, you will have to pass.
I also chose to share what I was going through with my family and friends. I know there are a lot of women that do not share their story, either by choice, or they feel they can’t either due to how their families may react, their employer, or just the feeling that others won’t understand.
For me sharing my story had two parts.
One it was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders to have the rest of the world (or at least my world) know what I was going through. If I was a little off it was the hormones, a little bloated looking, also the hormones (ha ha), but the people around me knew the reason I was off, versus blaming this or that, they knew.
Two it was a platform to get infertility out in the open. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed of my struggle, it was the card I was dealt, I knew it wasn’t something I did (or didn’t do). As I opened up about what I was going through a whole underground world opened up too, women coming out of the woodwork sharing their struggle and also their success! It was comforting to know I wasn’t alone and also to hear the stories of overcoming infertility. It gave me hope and let me know there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
My advice for anyone starting their journey – listen, to YOURSELF, not the millions who will want to offer their advice, while they mean well, they aren’t you, and only YOU know yourself the best!
And trust you are stronger than you think, and there is a happy ending, you just have to believe!
About the author:
Katie O’Connor is the founder of Shine: a Light on Fertility, a unique fertility support community. She is a wife, mom, only child, marathon runner, fitness instructor, and fertility advocate! Check out my blog, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and explore my Pinterest!