Weight Gain, Isolation and Other Joys of IVF
You are not alone.
I know the feeling of wondering if you’ll ever get pregnant.
I know the sense of despair when your doctor calls with bad news.
I know the high when your doctor calls with good news.
I know others will try hard to understand why you’re so excited or so devastated from that phone call, but they haven’t been through IVF, so they can’t quiet understand.
I know the overwhelm that comes when you no longer fit into your favorite pair of jeans, but there is no baby in your belly.
I know the feeling of wondering if it’s OK to buy maternity jeans when you’re not actually pregnant, just super swollen from your hormone shots.
I know a part of you wants to explain to people that you’re not gaining weight because you’re eating bonbons all day. #iswear
I know the pressure you’re putting on yourself.
I know you might feel like this is all your fault. Like something is wrong with you.
I know you might feel like it’s going to be your fault if it doesn’t work, even feel like a failure.
I know the feeling you get when you hear comments from people that you just don’t need to hear…
- My cousin/sister/friend tried IVF SIX TIMES and it didn’t work!
- You don’t believe in miracles if you’re doing IVF.
- Did you see that (insert most recent celebrity) had a baby at 49?!
- I just have no idea what it’s like to struggle with fertility (said the woman who had babies when she was 21 in 1978).
My friend got pregnant at 41. If you want to talk to her about what she ate, let me know! (Side note: if someone tells you they’re doing IVF, trust they’ve done tests that support the decision, and have explored other avenues already, including diet. It’s not always about kale.)
I know what it feels like when your friend tells you she’s pregnant. And it was her first month trying.
I know what it feels like when your butt feels so raw and angry from those shots that you flinch in pain when the lightweight fabric of your shirt touches your skin.
I know what it’s like to wonder if you had done something differently in your past maybe your present fertility journey would be different.
I know the doubts you have.
I know the fear you feel.
I know the money you’re investing.
I know the feeling of wondering if it’ll all be worth it.
I know the feeling of wondering if it’s worth it to continue.
I know that even if your husband, partner or wife is the most amazing person, they still won’t truly understand what you’re going through.
I know that some of your friends and family won’t show up for you in the way that you want them to. I know that some of them will, and you’ll be extra grateful for them.
I know that others will appear out of nowhere and hold you up in the moments you feel deflated.
I know there are a ton of women experiencing, or have experienced, exactly what you are experiencing. You even know some of them. You just don’t know this chapter of their story.
I know we don’t talk about it enough.
I know there are celebrities pretending to get naturally pregnant at 50. I also know that is BS.
I know you can’t compare your journey to others, but it’s hard not to sometimes.
I know it doesn’t seem fair sometimes.
I know life expects you to show up the same way, even though the hormone injections and the emotional rollercoaster of the IVF process have drained you of your energy, spirit and motivation.
I know that you might disengage from some of your favorite activities because they just don’t feel the same, even though you miss them.
I know what it’s like to feel like a stranger inside of yourself because of the emotional and physical side effects you’re experiencing from the fertility drugs.
I know I am not a victim of the experiences I describe above. I know I want to share them as openly as I can because I know other women are experiencing them right now, who might be feeling alone.
I know all of the above because I experienced it. And my fertility journey was “easy” compared to many others.
I know you’re stronger than you think, even if you feel like a mess inside.
I also know it’s safe to give yourself permission to respond however you need to in your IVF journey.
If you need to narrow your circle, narrow it.
If you need to expand your circle, expand it.
If you need to give 85% to something you normally give 100% to, give 85% and trust it’s more than enough.
If you need to release some responsibility at this point in time, release it.
If you need more support from someone, or a different kind of support, ask for it.
If you need to change yoga studios, because your stomach is swollen from hormones, and could be mistaken for a pregnancy by those who know you, change studios.
If you want to buy baby clothes even though your baby isn’t in your belly yet, buy them (I did). Do whatever you need to stay hopeful.
If you need to buy clothes that fit, and you feel great in, go buy them. Even if they’re for a temporary period of time.
If you need to be alone, be alone.
If you need to talk about it, talk to someone supportive.
If you need space, give yourself space.
If you need an energy healer, a therapist, a coach, or any other kind of support, hire them.
I wrote this blog to simply to honor the space you’re in and the reality of what you’re experiencing in a real and raw way, without sharing war stories or focusing on negative outcomes.
In most of my blogs I share an insight or an ah-ha, but not in this one. This is simply to honor you, exactly where you’re at in your IVF fertility journey. I know there are a lot of ways to cope with what your feeling, and below are some links that you can explore if you’d like. But for this blog, I simply want to share that I’m with you. I know how you feel. You’re not alone, even if you feel like you are at moments in this IVF journey.
If you’d like to share something you “know” from your own fertility journey, that you think might help others, please share in the comments below…
If you’d like to read more on how I coped with my IVF experiences and feelings, here are some blogs that you might find helpful…
Molly Hamill, MA, is a certified life coach, Kundalini yogini and mediation enthusiast. She works with people around the country helping them lose their stress and feel their best. After recovering from her own health journey (Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis, Adrenal Fatigue, and Leaky Gut), she is especially passionate about helping others establish mindsets and habits that support their health and happiness. For more information about Molly, get her weekly emails (sign up in green bar below), follow her on her Instagram and Facebook page, or chat with her in her private Facebook group, where she posts daily to help keep you connected with truth, dreams and desires. Prior to breaking free of the 9-5 life, she was an award-winning human resources executive for a national healthcare company.