Here's what I'll say whenever I find myself struggling with IVF:
I'm allowed to acknowledge that IVF is tough and physically training and emotionally rollercoastery – because it is. And I'm allowed to find it unfair that I have to go through this process – because it is.
But then I'm going to grab those thoughts by the scruff of the, err, neck, and throw them out the window. Because they're not going to help me get in the right frame of mind to approach this process or conceive.
True: not everyone has to go through IVF. But everyone has to deal with at least some shit in their lives, and this is one of mine.
That doesn't mean I need to put up with people's stupid invasive questions like “When are you going to have a baby?” or comments about how “The clock’s ticking, you know”. And it doesn’t mean I can’t have the odd cry, sob, or all-out hiccupy wail.
But it means I can't get into a downward spiral of focusing on the hassle or unfairness of it all – or decide to seethe with rage because a teenager I know got knocked up on a night out recently. No one has it totally easy – and that teenager's life isn't exactly going to be a walk in the park now, either.
For the next few months (at least), IVF is the new normal for me. It's like a packed train or a boring meeting: a bit annoying and a bit bleurgh, but perfectly manageable.
Weekly (or even daily) visits to the hospital, jabs and “dildocams” up my vag were not, admittedly, on my bucket list, but I'll be pleasantly surprised by how quickly it all feels so ordinary – if I allow it to, that is.
As for my partner… he may not have to go through all the hospital visits and injections and hormone-induced mood swings like I do, but he also doesn't get to grow a human inside himself for nine months and feel like a superhuman warrior mother-naturey amazing woman huzzaaaaah as a result. So you know, swings and roundabouts.
I'll try to treat my partner with respect and love. IVF isn't as hard on him as it is on me, but it's still hard. And anyway, this isn't a competition about who's suffering the most.
So unless he's being an utter knobend (in which case, maybe I should rethink having a baby with him at all), I have to make the decision not to take this out on him. We need to be a team, we need to support each other, and we need to experience this weird, sometimes hilarious, process together.
I summary: I'm going to be strong, I'm going to be positive, and I'm going to try to take IVF in my stride.
I'll also find ways to make the not-so-fun bits more enjoyable: I'll listen to excellent podcasts on my trips to each appointment, for example. And I'll allow myself a celebratory KitKat after every blood test. And, who knows – maybe I'll make use of a real dildo after every encounter with the doctors' follicle-counting version.
But most of all, I'm going to remember that IVF is the new normal for me – and it's fine. At the very least, I'll have some great stories to tell the grandkids.