In the previous interview, Ashley talked about her story of getting pregnant after diagnosed with PCOS. In the second part of the interview, she is going to share her experience in handling her mental health during TTC and her top 4 tips. Check out her advice and hope it is helpful for you.
4. Who or what inspired you the most during your TTC.
When I would drive to the clinic, I would play a set of songs to get me excited. "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was always what I ended on. I felt like I was going into battle so I would listen to it to kind of get my blood going. Fertility treatments can feel like you're going into battle. You're fighting your doctors, the insurance company, your body, sometimes your spouse, and doubt. You fight the darkness that tries to consume you and your doubts. "Inspires" is a hard word. Nothing really inspired me, I think I just tried to focus on whatever the next step was and find ways to deal with that step right then. Small victories.
5. Can you give 3 tips for couples who are fighting against infertility? They could be an inspirational quote, a remedy, or anything you think is helpful.
1. Research. Be your own advocate, be your own champion, be your own warrior. Doctors treat you differently when you seem knowledgeable about what you're doing. Start with the science of how a pregnancy happens, learn all the terms and ask questions. Research treatments. If a doctor dismisses the treatment you question, ask him to explain why. You are paying THEM for THEIR TIME and THEIR expertise, you have a right to be informed about your care. Take notes, keep a binder, study. Also, your best friends in the clinic aren't the doctors, they're the nurses and the folks who run the front desk. I had more miracles happen because of them than Mr. Doctor Fancy Pants. Joke with them, learn their names and be cheerful, friendly and polite. My husband works in healthcare and I promise you, nurses run the place, not the doctors.
2. Know your limits. It's okay to need to take a break. Unless your doctor tells you not to take a break, taking a month where you don't think about it, don't inject yourself, don't take pills... let the marks on your arms from the blood draws heal. One month will not result in your one missed opportunity. I promise. Your emotional health is so important in all of this, take care of yourself. If baby-showers hurt, send a gift with a friend and say "I have this thing that I really don't want the mommy to be to get," nobody will think you're a bad person for not going. If you want to close the door on your nursery and not look, do it. If you want to take a hammer to that frigging negative pregnancy test, Home Depot sells pink ones, please use safety goggles because they WILL laugh at you in the ER if you show up with shards of First Response in your eye. But know your limits, know when to say when. It's not quitting, it's breathing.
3. A lot of people like to keep their struggles private. I can respect that. I blogged about my experiences and was pretty open about what I was going through, but one of my best friends started trying to get pregnant the year our daughter was born and her first child was born last May. I had no idea she was struggling until she told me right around the time I was getting my ducks in a row to get pregnant with my youngest. We had a treatment at the same time. I got pregnant. She didn't. She had other people to talk to about her struggles but it was still hard.
The point I'm getting at; even if you don't want the world to know, tell SOMEONE. You need help. You need someone to know why you're hurting, why you're stressed, why you cry each time you see a Pampers commercial. When I told my friends we were going to adopt, I remember the silence then a friend screeched, "You're going to be a mommy!" These same friends asked me questions so they could better understand what I was going through, they brought me cookies and flowers. When I lost my second pregnancy, I went to go pick up my daughter from my friend's house and managed to choke out "I lost the baby" and what touched me most about that day was that my friend cried with me. As alone as I felt through it all, my friend sat with me and felt my loss with me.
We feel so alone going through all of this. It's humiliating, it's expensive, it's invasive ("Yes, Mrs. R, I'm calling to remind you to have intercourse with your husband tonight and tomorrow..." oh the stories I could tell) and it's hard, especially if you don't know what to do next. You don't have to be alone, and you shouldn't be alone. Tell someone you trust who won't make it gossip. Husbands and partners are awesome, but they're in the middle of it too. Open up to someone and don't let yourself get sucked in to being alone.
4. Yes I know you said "3," but this one is crucial; laugh. Find reasons to laugh. Laugh about how you should get pins for the amount of blood you've had drawn, laugh while you ask if you can get J.J. Abrams to direct your hysteroscopy, laugh when you comment "I never thought I'd get knocked up in a room full of people by another woman," laugh when the woman next to you in the clinic tells her husband to use the porn she provided not that filth in the room, laugh at your husband's face when he actually has to do something for ONCE ("Fill this cup please," ... 'with WHAT?!") and laugh at how absolutely stupid the whole thing is. I promise, it's great practice for when your little monster's school called because they informed the entire class they drink beer all the time or dropped their pants in church to show off their erection. By the way, she meant "root beer" and he did that in Sunday School. True story.
Ashley is a 31 year-old girl who owns a fertility blog - Feigning Fertility. She and her husband have been married since 2004. After diagnosed with PCOS in 2005, she had been trying to conceive and dealing with infertility for many years. In 2008, they adopted a lovely girl; in 2010 and 2013, Ashley gave birth to her biological son and daughter. Now she’s a great mom to 3 beautiful children. In her free time, she loves reading, knitting and taking photos.