Anyone who has done an IVF cycle knows the emotional torture that is the “two week wait”. In IVF this comes after a period of much intervention and attention; so much to do, going to clinic, looking at the growing follicles, injecting yourself, egg collection etc. There are many things to do and to keep you busy. But when it all stops and you are left to your own devices it can be quite a stressful time.
Every sign, twinge, thought takes on new meaning as your emotions swing like a pendulum between hope and despair. One of the reasons that the two week wait is such a challenge is that our lives have become full of 'doing' and this is especially true during IVF. I really urge you to practice the gentle art of just being and accepting where things are in this moment. ACUPUNCTURE Acupuncture helps keep a gentle blood flow and a calm mind. Most of the research on acupuncture and IVF has been around pre and post embryo transfer, but I like to focus on different stages of the IVF cycle depending on the individual case. Having acupuncture during the two week wait helps support women and alleviate the anxiety of waiting. Implantation is a complex series of events and it helping the woman relax is very important. We are only just beginning to understand the impact of stress on fertility and pregnancy outcomes. 'Observing and Feeling' Exercise Instead of letting your mind continually wander to wanting a baby, set aside five minutes of the day to be completely alone and look inwardly. I want you to pay attention to subtle details. Perhaps note how you are breathing, how does your body feel, do you ache? How do you feel emotionally? Are you hot or cold, how do your abdomen and your breasts feel? Note all of these things and then let them go. Don’t look for meaning in them – this is simply about being aware and in the moment. See this as a practice, in other words something that the more you do, the better you will get. Perhaps through the process of being quiet, emotions may come up that you would like to address or that dissolve naturally just by being allowed to come to the surface. THINGS THAT MAY COME UP FOR YOU Beliefs A belief is really just a static or stuck thought, our beliefs become the filter through which we experience life and the world around us either consciously or unconsciously. Many people have beliefs around having children; “I am not good enough”, “I always knew this would be hard”, “I am being punished for X or Y”, “I wont cope”. Each time a negative belief comes up for you, replace it with a positive CHOICE, for example, “Even though I have always believed this would be hard, I choose for this to be easy now” Fear This is an ever present emotion in those longing to have a baby; “I’m afraid I will never be a mother”, “I am afraid I am too old”, “I am afraid that this won't work”. At the root of fear is the conflict regarding getting something that you want will mean losing something else. When we are fearful we are living in the past and not moving forward with our life. Maybe something bad happened in the past that you are fearful will happen in your future. The best way to deal with fear is to realize the many ways in your life that you are loved and supported. The exercise below may help you. Letter of thanks This is a great way to give thanks for all the good things in your life and to focus on appreciation. Many of us get stuck in the ‘have not’ or feel we are lacking in someway, when really we have many excellent qualities and many things to be grateful for in life. Writing them down in a letter is a way of refocusing our attention to the positive, to help celebrate the good in your life rather than being self-critical or always seeing what you do not have. Try not to think about it too much and remember that no one is marking this and no one need ever see this letter. You can of course send it to the person you write about and indeed to yourself, but equally no one need ever see it. Forgiveness and compassion are an important part of this process and help with the feelings of fear; write these letters from the most compassionate part of yourself, the part that is without judgement or criticism, the purest part. When I use the word ‘pure’, what I really mean is your higher self, the part of you that speaks the truth and not the one that has been indoctrinated by other people. Sometimes this voice can be hard to find, particularly if you had parents who reinforced negative feelings. Accepting things about yourself and others is also very healing; there are some things about ourselves that we can change and there are others that we can’t. Accepting the parts we cannot change is an important part of any healing process.