Finding peace in the midst of infertility… is it even possible?
Posted on 11.5.15
By Anya Sizer
Even when times are tough, there is always a place for happiness when you’re experiencing the highs and lows of fertility treatment. I'm currently reading a wonderful book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and loving it, truly loving it.
The premise is that the author having read, researched and investigated the numerous theories related to happiness, decides to commit a year of her life to the pursuit of it. The book tells of the reality of finding happiness amid the stresses and strains of everyday life.
I have only read about one third of the book but am already finding so much that I completely agree with. Namely that happiness is a mixture of genetics at 50%, life circumstances at around 20%, and our thoughts and actions taking up the remaining 30%.
This leaves quite a large aspect of happiness that is controllable and surely picks up on what Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, called ‘the last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.’
Infertility is one of the hardest life challenges a person will face.
But how can this apply to someone facing fertility issues? How can you say to someone who has just faced a miscarriage or a failed IVF cycle that happiness is still possible?
In some ways we can’t. Infertility is one of the hardest life challenges a person will face. It is sad, frustrating, annoying, unfair and at times boring. I remember my own six-year fertility journey and how bored I got of feeling low. I felt as though I was permanently carrying around a small black cloud.
…the path to finding at least some happiness during infertility lies in acknowledging that it’s going to be hard and it’s going to hurt.
People telling those going through infertility to 'think positive' still annoys me – ‘it will be ok’, ‘don’t worry so much’, ‘take a holiday’ – if only their advice really was like a magic wand!
Ironically, the path to finding at least some happiness during infertility lies in acknowledging that it’s going to be hard and it’s going to hurt.
And that’s OK.
But, from here, it’s important to be proactive on every level to seek out happiness, comfort and peace however and whenever you can. To realise when you are at your happiest and to make sure those aspects are included in your life.
- Who makes you happy?
- What makes you happy?
- What are the things (unrelated to fertility) that squash your happiness?
For me they are a bit of a mad mixture of things. My faith and my relationship with my husband and some key friends make me happy and content. But I also find happiness in spending time by myself, doing not very much at all, or in simple things like tidying my wardrobe! I feel happy when I can get a bit of time and perspective in all the rush of life, or when something makes me laugh on the telly. I even admit wandering round a Cath Kidston store or looking through a Boden catalogue makes me happy.
Choosing to include these things in my life and perhaps, most importantly, choosing that my life is worth putting these things into, just helps.
Infertility can’t be imagined away, no life crisis can. But even in the toughest of times there are ways to seek out happiness and to push onwards.”
The LWC patient co-ordinators provide additional support to patients going through treatment. If you’d like to find out more about Anya’s patient support co-ordinator role at the London Women’s Clinic click here.
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