Coping With IVF
If you've arrived at the decision to embark on a course of IVF treatment, it's a safe bet you've been dealing with the pain, sorrow, and expense of infertility at length. IVF is often a couple's last hope for having biological children. The process is a roller coaster ride of emotions, physical difficulty, and financial setback. But you can smooth the way by considering the issues well in advance.
One practical consideration well within the bounds of your ability is clearing your calendar. This is a simple step that helps lift the burden from your shoulders of any outside commitments when you already feel overcommitted to IVF. Clearing your calendar is a means toward simplifying your life as much as you can. Apply this idea to other areas where you can make things easier to get through this time: don't make important lifestyle, relationship, or career changes during IVF.
While you don't want to endanger your upward climb on the career ladder, you may want to avoid taking on new projects at work which may increase the stress you're already experiencing. Think about other types of stresses you experience on a daily basis relating to home, family, and friends. Try to identify stress-producing aspects of your life and see if there's an alternative way to deal with these situations.
For instance, you may consider enlisting the help of friends, neighbors, or relatives in coping with these issues. Even if it's just about having a neighbor take out your garbage or water your plants, you've taken a proactive step toward ensuring your IVF procedures go as smooth as possible. You will also need to be firm about saying "no" to demands on your time and talents. Your focus must be on IVF for now. All of these steps minimize outside stressors, giving you firmer footing in navigating the trials and tribulations of your IVF treatment.
Aside from these practical steps, you know yourself better than anyone. You know what makes you tick and what helps you cope. Use your advanced knowledge of yourself to get through the stress of IVF. Think about what has helped you and your partner get through other stressful times in the past and consider how you might use these techniques to tackle this new test.
As an example of coping techniques, consider that women may prefer to talk about their issues, while men would rather get busy with a hobby or a sporting activity to cope with their stress. You might apply these ideas by having the female half of the equation join a support group where she can talk with and listen to other women detail their IVF experiences, or have the male partner schedule a weekly racquetball game with a good buddy. Realizing that your style of coping may be different than that of your partner's will also prevent any resentment incurred by wrong impressions. For instance, a man's unwillingness to participate in a support group doesn't mean he doesn't have deep feelings about the IVF procedure. It helps a partner to know and understand how the other partner deals with his or her feelings.