Welcome to possibly the most amazing and confronting adventure of your life.
The IVF journey can take you through some amazing feelings, emotions and ups and downs.
While the journey itself is filled with challenges, preparing to commence IVF can be daunting as well.
I went through IVF five times and I struggled a lot with what was happening to me. While my journey through IVF was ultimately successful, the process was long, wearing and both physically and emotionally painful at times.
Wishing to draw on my own IVF experiences to help others going through this challenging time, I have put together some advice for you that may help you to prepare yourself for the road ahead.
7 things you need to prepare for the IVF journey
Having a strong support, someone who can be there with you through the tough times is something you are going to need to get you through this. For me, this was my husband. Being able to openly talk about your wants, needs, feelings, expectations, and dreams is critical. I believe this is the most important requirement, knowing that you have your partners love, strength and support. For those going it alone, I recommend you have someone you can lean on.
2. A positive mindset
Think positive and be positive and this will up your chances without a doubt. Also, having confidence and remaining positive will make the journey all the more pleasurable; I really believe your outcome is affected by how you think. Learn to speak the positive language of fertility. Surround yourself with people that will boost your confidence and support and lift your thoughts to a higher level of thinking. For me, hypnosis was a fantastic treatment for freeing the mind and opening up to all the wonderful opportunities.
3. A willingness to share your emotions
Be aware that when undertaking IVF you may experience a whole new scope of mixed feelings. Therefore, before commencing, I believe you need to give yourself permission to being open to whatever you might experience. Ready yourself for going with the flow, and be prepared to share your feelings with loved ones, friends and health professionals. Great excitement can quickly turn to stony defeat and going from such extreme highs to terrible lows can be very confusing. I found talking about my feelings, my expectations and my outcomes to friends and loved ones really helped me because it gave others an insight and understanding as to my often uncharacteristic behaviors. Also, keep your expectations real; it’s great to aim high, but keep in mind that the higher you aim the bigger the fall can be – ouch!
4. Good physical health
Preparing your body for IVF starts with following a basic healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle. I found that by eating correctly, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep helped me to feel healthy and balanced most of the time. Regular visits to my acupuncturist for the year prior to starting treatment also helped to support and balance me physically and energetically. Finally, yoga and light exercise were on my list as well; feeling strong in your body has such a profound effect on your physical and mental health in so many ways. With this approach I was very healthy, and I honestly believe that if you are in great health before starting the journey you can take confidence in knowing that you have done everything within your power to become pregnant!
If you don’t already have a hobby, consider joining a group or find something that can take your mind off what you’re about to do. Have some fun and don’t let it all just be about making a baby! Meeting new people or doing something you wouldn’t normally do can also give you the courage, strength and confidence that you will need for your journey that lies ahead. It may also help to give you more perspective in your life; don’t get me wrong, keeping your life simple is important but don’t let the whole IVF thing consume you.
6. Flexibility in your work / life / study
Keep in mind that you will need some flexibility in your daily routine once the journey commences; taking time off here and there will become a regular occurrence. Make sure that with wherever you spend most of your day you will be able access your fertility clinic with minimal fuss. The IVF journey alone can create a lot of problems, so having deadlines from both ends can really escalate stress levels.
For many who undergo this journey IVF is costly, especially if it becomes an ongoing process. So make sure you have thought about how much you are willing to spend; if you have to go over your budget it can become very stressful and possibly hinder your results. Having private health insurance, and in particular the right level of insurance, will significantly lower your costs towards IVF. If time allows and you think you might one day find yourself having to walk this path, my advice would be to set some money aside to minimise any of the financial worries, allowing you to get on and enjoy the experience.
Whatever your plans for the journey may be, try to balance your life as much as possible. Keep things simple, dare to DREAM BIG but be prepared to stumble. I wish you all great success through your IVF journeys.
For more articles, information, tools and support visit the Bub Hub’s Conception and Fertility Information Hub.