Infertility Diagnosis: Now What?
You’ve been diagnosed with infertility. You’re scared, anxious and confused. I get it. You feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. Who wouldn’t? Take a deep breath, buckle up and remember that you are in the driver’s seat, even though it may not always feel that way. No, this is not a life circumstance that you have welcomed but there are many decisions to me made by you and only you. It’s up to you what comes next and it’s entirely your call how you choose to respond to what’s coming your way. While my husband and I experienced quite a learning curve on our own journey, my hope and intention is that by giving you a heads up before you enter this brave new world, our experiences can provide you with some sanity and stability on an otherwise bumpy ride. You play a bigger role than you realize in how this phase of your life will play out.
Take a Step Back
Although it is a natural reaction to go into panic mode and allow yourself to crumble under the weight of this seemingly final diagnosis, don’t. First and foremost, seek a second and even third opinion. Although test results are generally consistent across the board regardless of where you go for treatment, every doctor’s interpretation and course of treatment for your particular diagnosis will vary. I know this firsthand as our journey took us to many different reproductive endocrinologists and clinics, some of whom swore that we would never have children and guess what? We are blessed with twin daughters, so please, don’t let an infertility diagnosis seal your fate. Remain as calm as is possible, do your research and don’t rush into anything until you know your facts. Once you have taken some time to assess all the new information, you are better suited to make significant, well thought out decisions.
Hold On to Yourself
Becoming a patient of infertility is certainly a full-time job. Doctor’s appointments, phone calls, and demanding treatment schedules, coupled with managing personal and professional responsibilities make it easy to lose yourself in the mix. Remember who you were before infertility came into your life. Do not allow your diagnosis to define you as a person and rob you of all the gifts and blessings in your life. As often as possible, engage in the activities that bring you joy and commit to finding new activities that provide you with comfort and release. I blindly lost myself at the beginning of my journey and had to eventually go to great lengths to reemerge authentically. Finally understanding that it was vital to make myself a priority and finding new ways to reconnect with myself helped me to find my way back. Don’t lose yourself. Now more than ever you need to hold on to those qualities that are unique to only you. Nurture, love and honor yourself through this challenging ride.
Support Someone Else
I am a firm believer in the benefits and beauty of helping and supporting others in times of personal strife. There is a beautiful quote by Aung San Suu Kyi that teaches “If you are feeling helpless, help someone.” In the midst of your own difficult journey, find your own unique way of bringing support, comfort and peace to somebody else. Whether you are volunteering your time, devoting yourself to a altruistic project or providing for a friend or family member in need, stepping outside of your pain, is eye opening and will gift you with clarity of vision. Creating an infertility support group as well as spending quality time with a family friend who was ill at the time, renewed my sense of purpose and gave me a dose of reality when I needed it the most. Step out of your current state. Help someone in need and witness the gratification, pride and clarity of vision that come forth.
Trust your Intuition
As you navigate your way through this new sphere of knowledge, there will be an abundance of different paths that will present themselves to you. Stay open to the possibilities and know in your heart that if your intention is to be a parent, one way or another you will be one. In making weighted decisions and tough calls, rely in your own inner wisdom to lead the way. Your intuition knows what the next right action is. In times like this, check in with yourself to know if your decisions are being made from a fear-based position or from a perspective of love. When you take action based on the loving voice, no matter what the outcome is, it will be one that will ultimately serve your highest good. Looking back, my husband and I made many decisions out of fear; fear that we were running out of time, fear that our dream would not be realized and fear of ultimate failure. It was not until we relied on our own internal navigation system that was based in love, that we were finally headed in the direction that lead us to a path, designed only for us.
Remain as grounded as possible on this journey and know that as you find your own unique path to parenthood, you are growing and evolving in significant ways that will ultimately elevate all of your experiences, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
Written for the Huffington Post. See the original article here.