Everyone with fertility challenges, and frankly all women who are beyond the three month mark in trying to get pregnant, knows that there is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. Whether you are trying naturally (or with assistance) and waiting until you can test, or whether you are waiting for a treatment cycle to begin, you are looking for coping strategies to get you through. Here are my top 3, tried and true, after two years of serious trying:
1. Work. If you can work in an environment with other people around so you don't find yourself drifting over to googling anything fertility, all the better. No one I worked with knew what I was going through, so reading anything pregnancy was off-limits at work. Having my assistant come and work IN MY OFFICE right next to me really kept me focused on actual work. Working at home, by myself, is more challenging and requires a lot of self-discipline. My self-discipline tends to be strong in the morning, but deteriorates in the afternoon. Non-work projects can also be good distractions, but they tend to be short-lived. One lady was shopping for a new car - it only occupied a couple of weeks in researching and then test-driving. Then she had her new car and was back to thinking about the baby she hoped to put in it. I'm shopping for a new car, but it only took me a day to do the research, and every day after that the information online is the same, so it isn't enough distraction for me. But I suppose any project you do with others that prevents you from discussing your fertility challenges will keep your mind off it and help pass the time.
2. Movies. You might be able to lose yourself in a good book, and often times I can too, but I found reading never quieted the voices in my head, the ones that spoke fertility non-stop, as well as movies or television. There were things I couldn't watch - every show this spring seemed to be full of unplanned pregnancies, kudos to Grey's Anatomy for at least balancing that one out with an unrealistically quick diagnosis of sorry, no more babies for you. I watched endless pregnancy shows when I was pregnant, but when you're dealing with infertility you want to get as far away from that as possible, so be careful in your selections and keep the tissues nearby incase you're caught off-guard.
3. Exercise. This works in several ways. First, there is the general stress-relief and mood-enhancing benefits of exercise. Second, my hormone levels were all in a better place after a few months of regular exercise. Third, it gives you a project with a longer-term goal. Fourth, when I'm at the gym I like to watch a video, which is a good mental distraction for me, but if all I have available is my iPod and a run outdoors, the music can clear my mind too. I'm not one to sing while running, but I found singing in the car very beneficial, so if you're confident, go ahead and sing while you work out!