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...if you could feel that life is not on hold

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who has a "no kidding" life after painful infertility experiences involving many miscarriages. So the conversation started out with us chatting idly about a gym I had recommended to her and she was super excited about it. I had gone to this gym myself but pulled out of my membership because it turned out most of the classes were heated and those that weren't were hard-core cardio. I just knew that it was not going to be consistent with trying to conceive. I know that this is a very "first world" problem of me to have, but I had a bit of a whinge about how it sucks that lots of decisions you make just have to be put on hold while you're trying to conceive. The reason I recall this otherwise pretty trivial conversation was her response... she said to me...  if you could figure that out, how to "not be on hold" then you've just about solved the suffering of infertility.  
Her argument was based on her experience.. that it was impossible for her not to feel this way through it. She said she sometimes wanted to do something like plan an overseas trip some months down the track and wouldn't do so as she would wonder - what if I'm pregnant? what if it's a high risk pregnancy that needs monitoring?   She really wanted to go scuba diving, but couldn't for the same reasons (and by the way, does this all the time now). 
It did get me thinking. 
I thought... There are many more reasons that infertility sucks... what about repeated disappointments...  grief....  loss... and what about being different from social norms and expectations? and what about the taboo nature of the topic that at its most benign makes it awkward to bring up, and at its worst, leads to discrimination... there are lots of other reasons the experience is painful.
I did wonder though if maybe that is basically it, that if you could go through infertility issues without that "life suspended" feeling the whole time, it would make all the difference and it could be much more bearable?
Well, I think she's right that it's not all that possible... but it's certainly something I'm working on... through mindfulness and appreciating and allowing myself to fully enjoy life.


  1. The thing with "life on hold" is that it never goes away....the temptation to put things off or alter plans is always present and affects everything. I have no answers as it definitely has affected my life, though I think we had pretty good quality of life throughout ttc. My only insight is that life changing events are always possible, and that maybe one has to come to an awareness that preparing for them can be rather a waste of time. I'm not advocating for irresponsibilty but thinking more about the "what if what if" mindset and whether or not it is truly useful. The quality to be cultivated is perhaps confidence in ones resilience: a belief that if X happens, I will find a way, make the sacrifices I have to, learn the skills I need to. Life is about change and growth and that's OK. When I've found a way to accept that I've always felt more pleasure in the present.

  2. I agree that life on hold isn't always part of IF, but it does make a difference.

  3. Before I faced infertility, my life was frequently put on hold. I was travelling internationally for work, and couldn't book events in advance. Could I go to that concert or event in two months? Better not to buy the tickets, because what if I was going to have to be away? It was frustrating. It also made ttc problematic!

    So I guess the uncertainty of infertility wasn't new to me. We learned to be a but more spontaneous. Between IVFs, we booked and took a trip quickly, to fill the frustrating waiting period. Or we'd go out for dinner when we knew I could drink, and a special event made the sadness a little easier. Still, it was tough. The feeling of being in limbo is never easy, particularly for those of us who like a degree of certainty in our lives, and I've heard many people say it is one of the most difficult parts of infertility. If you could figure out how not to put your life on hold, I don't think it would singlehandedly "solve the suffering of infertility," but it would make it easier.

  4. Yes absolutely. If you could actually live your life without thinking about trying to get pregnant it would be wonderful! But the truth is it's not easy. Maybe you choose not to drink during the two week wait or at least limit your drinking(though I know some women who just drank whatever but it's a choice). If you need to take any meds such as painkillers you need to make sure they wouldn't potentially cause brain damage or something if you were pregnant and didn't know! Plus yeah being hesitant to plan flights or partake in certain sports. It is definitely limiting and hard to forget when you are TTCing.


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