Getting ready for IVF
If you’ve read my previous two blogs, you’ll know that prior to starting IVF my mindset was not at its best and, with the benefit of hindsight, I can tell I was throwing myself into work as a way to detract from the pain of what we were going through. I was not giving myself the time or care that is so necessary when going through fertility struggles. Thankfully I’d come to realise I couldn’t continue that way. Knowing that we were starting IVF soon meant that I could re-prioritise and there was a sense of giving myself permission to make ME my project of the moment. It’s a shame I hadn’t done this previously but at least I was starting to see the light.
In this blog post I want to share some things that massively helped me in the lead up to IVF so here we go…
A 10-day mindset shift course with Alice Rose
Thankfully there is a lot of fertility support online and on social media and it’s important to find voices that resonate with you. Alice Rose does just that for me. We are very much on the same page and although much of what she speaks about I know myself and the tools she shares are things that I have been incorporating into my life for years, I’d got to the point where I felt I needed some handholding. That’s exactly what the course did for me and more than anything it allowed me to feel I had someone on my side, someone who got it and someone who shared a similar ethos to me. The course is £20 so very affordable and dipping into it each day helped me to connect back to myself. You can buy the course here or if you’re not familiar with Alice then check out her Instagram, she’s amazing!
Mindful IVF App
I’ve consistently meditated for years and practising mindfulness has helped me in so many ways but in the midst of trying to conceive and fertility treatment, taking a mindful approach can, at times, feel really hard. Guided meditations can be really helpful to focus the mind and help keep that monkey mind in check. The mindful IVF app is so targeted to each stage of the IVF journey that I found it a really helpful source of comfort because it was so specific to my current experience. Simple guided mindfulness meditations still had a place in my meditation practise but after months of pushing away the layers and complexities of my current situation I needed something that was going to encourage me to be present with the feelings rather than trying to run away and this app helped me do just that.
I’d heard Barbara Scott interviewed by Natalie on the brilliant Fertility Podcast about the benefits of reproductive reflexology and I was very intrigued. I was then delighted to find a reflexologist who’d been trained by Barbara not too far away from me and I’m so glad I gave it a go! I did not go into it thinking that the reflexology would cure me from whatever the issues were that were stopping me get pregnant. Instead, I went into it thinking that if this could give me an hour every couple of weeks to have some time out for me, whilst hopefully balancing my body and mind in some way, then it can only be a positive thing.
The sessions with Hilary were fantastic. I would fall asleep each session without fail and could feel the tension and stress melting away. It was a purposeful decision to give myself time to relax and not feel any guilt for that. I felt I was doing something positive for me which, in turn, could potentially help me conceive.
This will sound a bit ‘out there’, but I felt like my mind, body and soul were becoming more in-tune and when I compare this to how ‘off’ my energy felt just weeks before, it did make me realise that I was taking steps which would hopefully give me a better shot at creating a healthy and fertile environment ahead of the IVF.
I’ve spoken about my love of visualisation before in blog posts and in a YouTube video and it was a very important pillar in the work I did with brides approaching their wedding days. I know first-hand how incredibly effective and powerful it can be and I knew I had to tap back into this ahead of IVF.
Marisa Peer’s book, ‘Trying to Get Pregnant (and Succeeding)’ is a book which I found quite fascinating but as I read it I was also very aware many people trying to conceive would do a huge eye roll at some of the things Marisa was saying and yes, some of it does perhaps need to be taken with a pinch of salt but similarly I am a very strong believer that our minds are insanely powerful and in many ways can shape our reality.
After reading the book, I downloaded an audio of Marisa guiding a visualisation in which you imagine your body becoming the perfect environment to create new life. She talks about each stage of IVF and encourages you to imagine your body producing amazing quality eggs and then creating the perfect environment to grow a baby. I listened to this every day in the lead up to IVF and then created some of my own recordings throughout the cycle. Who knows if any of it made a difference, but I will discuss this in a future post when I talk about that first cycle as there is a part of me that really wants to believe I visualised my eggs into existence!! Maybe I sound mad but even if I didn’t, I know that practising those visualisations focused my energy and attention and I’m grateful for that.
Marisa has some incredible success stories so I recommend you delve in and check it all out if you’re intrigued. It does put a new spin on things and sometimes it’s nice to read things that aren’t just all about the science and the success rates etc. Well, that’s the view I took anyway. I guess it allowed me some space to dream, which felt good.
All of the above really did help me get into a better zone ahead of the IVF. Yes, I was still feeling anxious and trying to adapt my approach to work and other areas of my life that I’d been throwing far too much frantic energy towards but, on the whole, I was starting to feel more at ease. All these things were making me feel I had some element of control of the situation. Of course, the reality is that there really isn’t any true control when it comes to a fertility journey (the same can be said for life in general) but I had a greater sense I was doing things that were helping my mind feel healthier and that was vital, not to the outcome necessarily, but to my own wellbeing and peace of mind.