Finding some peace amidst Covid-19
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
We are living in a world where every decision includes a discussion around Covid-19 and its impacts. It feels like even going to the grocery store is something worth debating, so it is no surprise that the infertility landscape has completely changed in the last several weeks, too.
Some states have already established a ban on initiating new fertility treatments and many clinics are suggesting a postponement of any planning until the virus is under control. Now, I am not a doctor and am not claiming by any stretch that there is a RIGHT decision. However, I would love to offer my story and how I am coping during these trying times for anyone who wants to hear it.
We had our first round of IUI (intrauterine insemination) at the end of February and about a week after the insemination I spiked a fever of 103 degrees. I had a nasty cough and went to the walk in clinic and was tested for the flu (there was not a Covid test available yet at my clinic). Once the test came back negative, I was told to rest up and take Tylenol to break my fever. The cough lasted a couple more days, but by the next week I was feeling like my old self. However to my sincere devastation, I started my period the following week. I was honestly pretty heartbroken that it didn't work the first time. I know that generally it takes several rounds, but with everything aligning so well in all of my scans and blood work, my hope was at an all time high.
We chose to skip the month of March because I had a girls trip to Palm Springs planned and quite frankly my heart needed to heal. As you can assume, that trip was cancelled. And with the rest of the world our focused shifted on finding a way to cope with this new normal.
Shortly after cancelling my trip, we got word that our infertility clinic is not offering services unless you are in the middle of a fertility treatment. So although that is the decision we made, it would not be an option even if we wanted to proceed right now.
After realizing that I have no control over the world or our infertility journey currently, I started brainstorming ways to occupy my mind and not allow myself to slide all the way back down the infertility hole. I am no coping Covid expert, but here are a few ways I am keeping busy and attempting to maintain my sanity during this uncertain time:
1. Living on a schedule.
For me living on a schedule right now looks like waking up with an alarm, having designated tasks throughout the day and limiting my television consumption to outside of "work hours."
This may not work for everyone, but for me it is the way I function. I live for structure and the absence of it, especially in highly anxious situations can leave me reeling. Find a schedule that works for you and start living by it. The weeks will feel more normal and the weekends
will be something to look forward to.
2. Prioritize your mental and physical health.
Part of my schedule is to carve out some time in the morning to get active. This doesn't have to be a two hour HIIT workout (or it totally can) but for me it is a mindful walk. Somedays the mindfulness is listening to a podcast on the science of happiness and others it is a headphone free walk where I notice all the sounds and sights around me. Creating space for both my physical and mental wellbeing is quickly becoming my favorite ritual.
3. Create a work-like environment
Working on a computer, on this blog for example, has given me both a creative outlet and some semblance of normalcy. I am not working from home right now, but I still I set up an area of the house as my office where I can spend my days being creative. My husband is currently working from home, so my office is the dining room table. It has tons of natural light, is close to my beloved sweet tea and feels like MY space. For you it might be your craft room, or the patio, or even a cozy corner of your couch. Just make sure it feels like a place that is yours. Give yourself some semblance of a routine by creating a space you enjoy going each day.
4. Reach out to your community.
Download Marco Polo, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Google Duo, whatever you are inclined to use. In the last two weeks I have downloaded ALL OF THEM. Now let me add that I am a textbook extrovert. But regardless, I think that at least creating some sense of community during this time is crucial. Even if all you do is check in with each other once a week to ensure that you have indeed showered this week, it will be a worthwhile venture. Find the people that make you feel safe and seen and stick with them. Here is a picture of those people for me.
5. Let yourself feel it.
Like most of you right now, I have way too much time on my hands. More time than I have ever had to ruminate on our infertility journey. My emotions change by the minute, and I know I am not alone in feeling anxiety around every corner. One moment I am so thankful that I'm not pregnant during these uncertain times. Just imagining the anxiety is debilitating. On my walk this morning I found myself overcome with gratitude for this time to focus on myself. Infertility has a way of occupying so many corners of your life, it's easy to lose track of yourself at times. There are parts of these days that I am extraordinarily thankful for this moment. And then I'm not. It's sticky and complicated like that.
Not even an hour later, I let myself literally sob in the shower as I let the anger creep in. The anger that the world up and changed all my plans just when we were starting to make some real progress. There is grief for the time lost and that's ok. There is sadness and uncertainty about the world and the future and that's ok, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's necessary.
You see even before Covid my biggest takeaway from the infertility journey is allowing a whole fun house of emotions to exist together. There will be moments of pure joy and seconds where the anxiety will literally bring you to your knees. They both have a place. And sometimes they even hold hands, in the exact same moment.