I try to stay away from the word 'managing' because in my mind, we don't 'manage' our emotions during our IVF. 'Manage' sounds like we put our emotions neatly away in a filing cabinet and forget about them. For me, it's messier than that.
Any kinds of Instagram posts I've read on managing or controlling our emotions make me want to shout: WHY?
Maybe to be "socially acceptable"? As if it's not okay to allow our emotions to be free.
Isn't it your right to express and release your emotions however you want, when you want?
IVF and any infertility journey can be an emotional roller coaster. It can bring up all kinds of intensely felt, strong emotions, like anger and frustration, that can get stuck.
Bottling all that up can be painful and exhausting.
I want to say to you: you do you
If you feel your emotions boiling over, I encourage you to see them, in honour of what you are going through.
Next, how can you express and release what you're feeling in the moment?
When you're feeling angry and frustrated, sometimes gentle practices like meditation and mindful breathing just don't cut it. Because your thoughts are racing and you can't sit still.
Instead, perhaps you would like to:
Write the words 'I AM MAD!!!' down on paper
Put on loud music and dance
Punch a punching bag
Stomp your feet on the ground
Bang your fists on the table
Rip an old magazine to shreds
Growl like a bear/lion/wolf
Throw your medical files into the garbage (and get them out later, my personal favourite)
These methods may seem unorthodox. But as a fertility coach and as someone who's gone through rounds of IVF, I want to say that sometimes it's what's needed to give a sense of relief, in a safe and effective way.
Only then can we get the energy of anger and frustration moving and out of us.
And perhaps only then can we be in a space where we can think about meditating, deep breathing, sophrology, mindfulness, grounding and other things that do us good.
Clearing out the whirlwind makes room for replenishing you
Finding some kind of relief from intensely felt, strong emotions as you go through IVF is a gift you are offering yourself. So you can redirect your emotional energy toward supporting you.
If you find your emotions boiling over time and time again, that's okay. IVF is one of the toughest things you'll put your mind, body and spirit through. Show yourself compassion and kindness and do what you can to clear out the whirlwind.
And in the spaces in-between, replenish yourself with whatever feels good to you, whatever brings you ease.
Eventually, you'll know which feel-relief and feel-good practices work for you and hopefully make them a part of your IVF journey.
Remember, many people don't ever feel the depth of emotions you are going through. So I encourage you to remind yourself that you are doing an amazing job, you really are.
If you are experiencing feelings of emotional overwhelm, I recognise that these kinds of holistic tips may not be useful to you. If that is your case, I encourage you to reach out to your doctor for help. Please take care.