So during our little shopping expedition on Sunday I picked up a new book on Infertility “Trying to Conceive: True Stories of How Couples Overcame Infertility” – it was on sale and because it was the end of the sale half the sale price – can you believe I only paid R29 for it (under $4)?!? I hadn’t even read the back of the book before deciding to buy it, but at that price why be fussy?
Anyway when the SNAIF set in I decided to start reading it on Sunday night. The principle of the book, is that we have internal barriers to getting pregnant or emotional resistance to becoming parents and until we deal with these things we may continue to fail to conceive. It is a whole series of short stories, stories of couples who tried alternative methods to get pregnant. Not to say they didn’t follow the usual ART route too, but that they used these alternative holistic approaches alongside ART e.g. seeing a psychologist, having acupuncture, taking a break from work (if only), eating organic etc.
Now I’ve heard some of these theories before and I have to say I’m a little sceptical. It smacks a little of the ‘just relax’ school of thought. Obviously getting over my psychological issues and the baggage I carry from my childhood isn’t going to get us better quality sperm. I’m more of a science kind of gal. Which I guess is pretty strange for someone who once studied psychology for a bit? But now that we have had a failed cycle using good quality embryos it seems to me that maybe just maybe my own issues are now a factor. You know the science has overcome the physical stuff and maybe I need to overcome the mental stuff. And when I think about how I repressed my feelings about the cycle and about the deaths of some of the mother figures that I’ve had, maybe I need to get this out.
I guess with the scattering of my Mom’s ashes looming I am being forced to revisit so many of the conflicted feelings I have towards my mother and my relationship to my mother and hence motherhood. I actually said to DefTTC a couple of weeks ago, that perhaps I should write a letter to my mom, put it all down, burn it and scatter the ashes of the letter with her. You know a symbolic letting go of the baggage. Lay to rest the resentment, disappointment, anger etc. I like the way it feels, it feels like if I do this I will only have the rose tinted memories of my Mom’s smile and hugs and love. Of course I won’t only have those memories, the others will never go away, but maybe they will hurt less. Actually I have been wanting to write this letter for years and been putting it off and putting it off and … yup the time has come! Now to actually do it.
The other thing I am doing in preparation for the next cycle is coming up with some routes to relaxation. First off I have finally started exercising again. Last year when I started losing weight for TTC I promised myself I would get the diet on track and only then start exercising, you know do one thing at a time. Well I lost 18kgs and NEVER got to the exercise. Since the beginning of the year I have put on a HUGE part of what I had lost, with even more piling on after the IVF and still I have not done any exercise. During the last cycle I kept thinking that I should have been exercising to get good blood flow and as a means of relaxing and getting some of the tension out my body.
Anyway I am now in my third week of exercise! Yes I finally just did it. I have lots of PVR saved up, Private Practice, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Army Wives and I have promised myself that on every day I go to work (I don’t work every day), I will get on my cross trainer for a minimum of 20 minutes (got to start easy – no point sending my body into shock at this stage) and exercise while watching my favourite shows. And other than one day which I missed last week due to a VERY sore back (more expression of the tension I’m carrying) I have stuck to it. I really am taking it easy. No one who is into exercise would consider what I’m doing a work-out, but it is getting my muscles moving, my heart rate up (a little) and I’m so unfit that I’m even cracking a sweat. And I feel fantastic for it. After yesterday’s session I even did a few of the Yoga poses I learnt from my Yoga classes and can feel the muscles in my back today.
And then last Monday I climbed on the scale and got a HUGE shock. I knew the weight I had lost was creeping back on, I’ve been watching it happen. But in my attempt to be kinder to myself and not push myself too hard and not add any unnecessary stress I have pretty much been ignoring it. Then the scale scared me! Ouch of the 18 kgs I had lost I was now only down less than 5kgs from my starting weight at the beginning of last year! All that effort and healthy eating out the window. Well not all of it! And so I have been trying a little harder. I am still of the opinion that the last thing my body (and mind) needs at this stage is to have the shock of a full on diet. I think that dieting is hard on your system and when you start demanding weight loss from your body the energy doesn’t go into the non-essential systems (like reproduction) anymore. No I’m no dietician, or doctor, just my opinion. So I’m doing this gently too. Last week I started packing myself lunch again. Healthy salads with protein and low fat dressings it guarantees good veggie intake. Other than that I have been eating normally (my weight gaining normal), you know whatever I feel like for dinner (but with veggies), pizza if that is what my body demands and even chocolate. And the scale yesterday was kind I have lost almost a kilo in one week!
I mentioned my very sore back I had last week, basically my one shoulder blade (it’s always been the place I carry my stress) went into spasm and when it hadn’t released after three days, I took myself off to my awesome massage therapist for a session. He gave me some advice on stretches to help with the relaxing of the muscles and then gave me a great tip to relax. He said I should behave like an old lady and come home from work, make myself tea and sit on the stoep (patio) and watch the world go by. And so I am going to do that too. Actually DefTTC and I do this most days that I work. I get home and we have tea to debrief from our days, well mostly that means me talking at him for at least an hour.
And so this is my plan to start prepping for another cycle. Gently get my body healthier again with gentle exercise, healthier eating at least at lunch time. Gently get my mind healthier by putting to rest some of the old stuff and spending more time just sitting and drinking tea.
Who knows maybe we can be one of those stories I am so sceptical of, the one where they fell pregnant on their second IVF cycle and all they did differently was relax! LOL!