Progesterone, PMT and a love letter to myself.
I started 2018 in a state of frantic energy. I can see that now but at the time I was feeling so driven and ambitious. It was the first few months of last year that really were so hard to read back in my journals. I wanted to give myself a big hug and just say ‘sloowwwww down.’ I couldn’t slow down though as all my career-related goals for the year gave me a sense of control which was so far removed from how I was feeling about the next phase of our fertility journey.
At this point I knew I had low AMH and the private doctor had advised that we shouldn’t wait too long before IVF. Something that I had always felt was a factor in not getting pregnant was that I have a short luteal phase. No doctor I ever mentioned that to seemed to entertain that idea though so who knows if it was a factor or not. Since we were paying, our doctor was happy to give me a prescription of progesterone just in case it did the trick. It did lengthen the luteal phase so that was a boost, but it didn’t result in pregnancy.
In January 2018 I wrote down my goals for the next 5 years. When doing so I’d written that I don’t have control over the family side of things so I had to focus my energy into the career side of things. Looking at everything I had written is laughable really. I don’t know how I thought I’d achieve such things with a full-time job and whilst going through something so draining as trying, and not succeeding, to get pregnant.
The trouble was that as those first few weeks of the year went on I was push, push, pushing in all areas of life. Taking on too much and trying to manage that pressure, most of which was the pressure I was putting on myself, I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere in any area of life. This wasn’t a new feeling. I’d felt this for the last couple of years on and off but it was really heightened in early 2018, probably because I was pushing so hard and evidently not getting to where I wanted to be.
I wrote a few times in my journals that I felt like I had a giant expanse of sea between where I was and where I wanted to be. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t getting there. When people would ask how I’m feeling about the fertility stuff I’d often say that the feeling of being in limbo is the hardest thing and it really is.
My cycle in February was a low point. I was pleased to lengthen my luteal phase for a second month which of course was giving me a glimmer of hope but oh boy when that period arrived didn’t I know about it! Isn’t it cruel that so often the way in which we find out we’re not pregnant for another month is when we’re hit by horrific PMT and all the other delights that come with a period? And of course, when I was at the height of this and feeling like all I wanted was my bed, I’d over committed and had to host an event. I got through it but then when it sunk in the following day that it’s yet another month of not being pregnant I felt pretty low.
Having fertility treatment is so uncertain, in more ways than one, as you just don’t know how you will feel from day to day so when you make commitments you can hope it will be a day when you’re feeling ok but you never really know. One part of me felt like I can’t put my life on hold otherwise I’ll never hit the goals on that 5-year plan of mine but the other side of me wanted to batten down the hatches and retreat. The second option felt like I would be failing and giving into my dreams and ultimately letting the fertility struggles dictate my life and that felt really scary.
At this point though I was starting to feel like I needed to make some changes as I couldn’t go on feeling this way. I was spending a lot of time feeling quite anxious and that was making it hard to think clearly and give myself the time I needed for me and that really is vital. I have never been someone who can be go, go, go all the time but for some reason I was trying to be this person.
All I’ll say at this point is thank god for amazing friends. I was sat in St. Paul’s Square just by where I live with one of my dearest friends and I was sharing with her about this constant tension I was feeling, and we really delved deep! We spoke about the limiting beliefs I have and really questioned why I was doing all I was doing. What was it for? Where was it getting me? Just speaking to her about it felt like a big exhale of breath and I could then start to give myself permission to take the pressure off a bit.
It’s a comforting feeling to be able to start seeing things more clearly and at this point I started to understand that things weren’t right for me energetically. I asked myself the question, ‘Am I in the right place to welcome a baby into my life?’ I knew the answer was no. At this point a wrote myself a letter which is something I do when I feel torn in the sense that I can recognise the error of my ways yet am still stuck in a mindset rut that I don’t quite know how to get out of. When I write these letters, I talk to myself like I would talk to a friend rather than with the punishing tone that had become quite familiar and I think had been driving my addiction to be constantly striving.
This was not a huge epiphany that led me to take the pressure off immediately, but it was a turning point. It took a lot of work to get me to calm the hell down and take a breather and that’s what I’ll speak about in my next post. I had to dig deep and that wasn’t easy, in fact it was really uncomfortable. I was having to break away from my crutch of productivity that had become my biggest distraction from the pain of not getting pregnant.