Fertility treatments can feel like a job in itself when you first begin the process. It can be very overwhelming and can seem like it will be a full time job just to administer medications and attend all of the upcoming doctor appointments. Some people can afford to take some time off from work to help make the load a little easier, but what happens if you are already a parent and have little ones to take care of during your treatments?
Being a parent is an amazing job that never stops. So you can not simply take time off to focus on your fertility treatments. Instead there steps that you can take to try and help the new addition of medication, treatments, and appointments a little less stressful. These steps and tips will help you to balance your parenting duties and your fertility treatments without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
What to Expect from Fertility Treatments
When you are undergoing fertility treatments for the first time you can expect to receive a calendar or schedule from your doctor of what is to come. This should include times to take your shots or medications, dosages, and upcoming blood tests and appointments. Depending on the fertility treatment that you are doing, you may have to go to your doctor’s office every day to every few days for monitoring. You should anticipate your fertility treatments making a large change to your daily schedule and accept that your doctor knows best in this case. While it may be very inconvenient for the time period, following the directions laid out by your specialist will work to provide you with optimum results.
Many treatments include timed shots. These shots can be administered by yourself, your spouse, a trusted friend, or a healthcare professional. Many of these shots require an exact time period to maintain. So you can expect your daily life schedule to alter in order to fit these shots in. Many women want to be in a comfortable environment when doing their shots to help ease the pain and stress, but they can be done on the move as well with the right preparation.
How to Balance Parenting and Your Treatments
It can be quite difficult to balance both parenting, work, and treatment especially while coping with side effects of the drugs and treatments. By making a plan and anticipating what is to come, you can be better prepared and more calm for the road ahead.
- Reduce your expectations. While you may be super mom or dad on a daily basis, that will probably not be the case during fertility treatments. That is OKAY, sometimes it is hard as parents to put yourself first and realize that you are a human too. By lowering your expectations of being able to conquer your daily tasks PLUS your new part-time, if not even full-time, job of undergoing treatments and protocols, you will allow yourself room for error. There will be days that you will not feel well physically and will need to rest more than usual. There will be days were you may not be able to drive around to your usual drop offs because of an appointment or medication that needs to be given. By planning for your schedule to become off track and accepting it now, it will help when things pop up last minute.
- Ask for help. It is absolutely okay to ask for help during this time of your life. Your spouse or partner should be an equal during this time period and try to help make the transition easier. While they may not be involved with the treatments or appointments they can help to pick up the slack at home or with the kids. If your spouse or partner is unable to help you, reach out to a close friend or family member that you trust to help ease the transition and time period along for the whole family. Knowing that you have people around that you can count on will mean the world.
- Acknowledge that this is just a temporary period of time. Even though no one enjoys having their daily schedule altered, especially children, if you accept that this is not a forever change that will help with the process. It is alright for your life to not be so “picture perfect” during this time period as you truly do have a lot going on. Accept the messy changes and look towards the bigger picture of hopefully adding to your family.
- Have someone to talk to. This may be your spouse or partner, or it may be a close friend, but having someone to talk to during this time will help immensely. Your body will be going through so many changes in such a short amount of time with fertility treatments. Sometimes it is just relaxing to be able to have someone who understands what you are going through, or who cares about you enough to listen to how it all makes you feel. This will help you to let things out and to avoid keeping your emotions bottled up, which can be even more exhausting and stressful.
- Avoid feeling guilty. You may truly want to and enjoy being there for everyone else all of the time. But now is the time to put yourself first and that is nothing to feel guilty about. You are putting your body through numerous medications, treatments, blood draws, and appointments in hopes of bringing another little one into the world. That is not a selfish thing by any means, it is what being a parent is truly about. Do not feel guilty for saying no to those around you, or for needing some extra time to yourself to handle the side effects or exhaustion you may be feeling. Guilt is a very stressful factor, especially when we feel that we are not doing our best, now is the time to accept your limits and understand you can be super mom or dad again after the treatments have ceased and you are feeling more like yourself again.
- Talk to your children. Depending on the age of your children, they may or may not understand what you are going through. But by being open with them and letting them know that things are going to be a little different for a while because Mommy or Daddy have a new doctor regime will help them to understand the transition a little better. If your children are older, it will hopefully allow for them to step up and help you out around the house or with other children as well.
- Try to find some “me” time. It can be very easy to lose yourself as a parent, especially when undergoing fertility treatments. Try to find some time to relax and do something that you enjoy doing. Fertility treatments can be stressful without children, but adding children and parenting can make it even harder. By finding the time to reset and unwind for yourself this will help to better prepare you for what is to come. You will feel more rested and ready to tackle the new adventure you have coming your way.
Balancing parenting and fertility treatments can be difficult, but by being prepared for what is ahead and having a game plan for it you can do both easily. Try to accept that things will not go perfectly, but as long as you are trying your best that is all that matters!