From time to time, I would feel stuck during our drive on the couple’s infertility road. I would feel frozen, incapable of any movement and of making any decisions in regards to where to go next. I would feel as if I have traveled for miles and miles and, facing a wall or crossroads, would not know where to go. I would feel with no map or GPS, being left there standing still, immobile, waiting for someone or something to tell me what to do, where to go.
Not a very nice feeling, I should say, as I also felt weak. I felt discouraged by the long journey on that bumpy road that, instead of directing me to the so wanted destination, led me to yet another stumble. But, over time, I understood that it was Ok to feel that way. That it was not a problem to feel tired. That it was normal to lose steam from time to time. Ultimately, I learned that it was Ok to stop and take a break.
And thankfully, breaks we had throughout our infertility journey!
Our breaks were great to regain physical stamina, emotional energy and, of course, financial balance. Initially, our breaks would be long and could last weeks, even months. We would use the time necessary between procedures to focus on other things like our families, our house or our jobs. We would finally buy that piece of furniture that was going to make all the difference on our living room. We would treat ourselves with a summer of enjoyment at home, simply taking pleasure in the company of family and friends on endless barbecues. We would treat ourselves with that true vacation we were planning for such a long time, but always postponed it because of the many treatments we had undergone. Yes, big breaks were awesome!
Was it always simple and easy to take such breaks? No, of course not. The fear of “being losing time” was always there, but the emotional sanity taking a time-off gave my wife and I pretty much tipped the scale to our favor, as I am sure it gave me some extra mental energy that allowed me to continue on this journey for as long as I have been.
But I have also found out that, even though the big breaks were tremendously important, the small ones were equally relevant. By “small break” I mean that one thing I could do for myself that would make me rest… And that could be going to the gym and literally sweat-off all those heavy thoughts that were populating my brain; it could be going out for no reason to that little restaurant my wife read about or simply pay-per-view a movie with the dog on my feet, my wife in my arms and a perfect treat in our hands. Yes, that could do wonders in making me relax and not think about any roadblocks. Most importantly, the small breaks allowed me not to think too much about what I would do next.
Don’t get me wrong as I was never able to “forget” about the path we were in, about infertility. But the breaks, big or small, helped me cope with it and actually enjoy life. And I think this was the biggest learning of it all: that I was not taking time to forget or ignore it. Rather, I was making time to deal with it. Couple’s infertility is certainly one of the biggest challenges I had to deal with in my life up until now but, in essence, it is really not that different than any other obstacle I have faced before. A challenge is a challenge and I could choose to be defined and defeated by it, or I could learn from it to shape my better self. Thankfully, I have chosen the later.
Now, do I still feel tired and discouraged every time I see that wall or crossroads in our way? You bet I do! But the realization that it was OK to feel tired, pull over and take a break made me much more capable to deal with the obstacles, looking at the horizon while stretching my legs and not focusing too much to that rough road still ahead.