Jeanne and I went through four year of trying to fall pregnant. Like many, we started naturally – having more sex and trying to have it at the right time. After a good many months of this, and not being pregnant, we looked around for other options. We went to naturopaths and homeopaths, drank Chinese medicine and meditated. We changed our diets and our thought patterns. When these options didn’t work either, we took the step to look at medical options. Tests, scans and an operation or two later we still had no luck, and started IVF. After a few rounds of IVF we shifted again, this time doing IVF using donor eggs.
Looking back now, those were a very long four years filled with intense emotion, stress and obsession. Going through the process Jeanne and I had one focus – falling pregnant and having a baby. And yet with hindsight I now realise that we got a lot of other things out of those four years.
My relationship with Jeanne and understanding of her grew in ways that would never have occurred if we had not gone through the process together. My connection to my broader family and friends was deepened as I chose to open up to them, and asked them to step up in terms of supporting us. I gained huge insight into the way I work- my thinking habits and way of processing situations. I learnt things about my body and how to work with it.
So while the fertility process was about falling pregnant, I can now see that it impacted on other areas of my life. At the time these other aspects were not things I was consciously focused on or working with, and certainly not consciously acknowledging and being grateful for – all my focus was purely on falling pregnant. If I had been more aware of these other aspects I am sure I could have created even more value for myself, and have kept more energised and positive through the four years.
And we were lucky. At the time both Jeanne and I were engaged in training as coaches or body therapists that gave us structured opportunities to work through our own issues and our issues as a couple. Without those processes in place, it is far more likely that those four years would have put far more stress on us and our relationship. It is possible that like many couples, a long fertility process would have wreaked havoc and lead to break ups. Our connection to our families could have been reduced as we withdrew into our shells. Physically the stress and anxiety could have led to ill health or sickness.
With the benefit of hindsight I now know that if I ever had to go through a process like that again, I would be far more aware. The Instead of having a singular goal – falling pregnant – I would be sure to consciously choose and work on other positive goals. For me I would choose to focus on how I could use the experience to deepen my relationship with Jeanne, share more deeply with my friends and family, develop better mechanisms to deal with stress and put in place lifestyle habits that support a healthier life. And the possibility is great that by focusing and working on these other aspects deliberately, with awareness and focus, our fertility would have benefited hugely.