How do you keep your sanity during this stressful time? I am a single mother by choice, past the Trying to Conceive (TTC) stage, so I say this with some perspective.
Some of it is simply that who you are is changing. The version of you who could afford this vacation, and that fancy dinner, and whatever else – – that woman is changing. She is planning for her future differently. So if you were saving for a down payment on a house, or saving vacation time so you could go spend a month in Australia next year, or other major investments of time and/or money, who we are and how we allocate our resources changes. You may be looking at your social life, realizing that all those dinners out are pretty expensive, and choosing to eat out less to save money. That can happen for lots of reasons, not just TTC. It happens with married people, not just singles. It happens at different stages of life, and for many of us, these changes happen more than once in life. So you haven’t actually lost who you are. You are simply focusing on different financial objectives at the moment.
For planning, some of it falls under the same reasoning as above. It might be time or money. If you were helping a sick family member you might hesitate to plan vacations because you had promised rides to physical therapy, or chemo treatments, or whatever. Looking at TTC as a health project, in this case yours, may give you better perspective on the decisions you’re making. If you usually vacation with certain friends, and you are not sharing your TTC plans, you just need a simple answer. It might be “I have some health things going on right now that have made my schedule less predictable. I don’t really want to talk about it, but it’s not life-threatening, so please don’t worry about me. It just means I can’t plan a trip for August in April.”
But if you haven’t actually started TTC, you really don’t know how long or hard the journey will be. You do know that you are more than a womb. You are a person who is valuable in her own right. You are a friend, and a daughter, maybe a sister and an aunt. And there may very well be times when there is something else that is actually more important than TTC. So you take a month off, because it is more important to be there for your brother’s wedding, or your grandmother’s funeral, or your best friend’s _______, than to be home for an insemination that month. And that is 100% a valid, and often life affirming, choice.
In some ways, this may be the hardest part. The times when you are pulled in 2 directions over how to allocate your time or financial resources. And while yes, TTC can get expensive, and you may be smart to not be too cavalier spending money on vacations, this is where sometimes, especially on a longer journey, it’s key to go back and remind yourself, again, that you are more than a womb. More than a mommy-to-be. You are a person who is valuable in her own right. And yes, if you are facing injectible IUIs out-of-pocket, or IVF, or more, your financial resources may be tight. But if you are facing some of those expenses you probably also need the reminder of your own value more than someone with a shorter, less expensive journey. So don’t discount the value of spending some of your resources on something other than TTC.
The longer it takes, the more it feels like it takes over your life. And of course, your personality will be a factor in that as well. But you are heading into this aware that it can take over your head. And that also means you know you may need to step back at times to remind yourself of who you are.