How to live in limboland
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
When you make the decision to try for a baby, it’s really exciting. After years of being super cautious on the contraception front, you kind of expect it to happen fairly quickly. This initial excitement starts to wear off after a few months though as anxiety takes its place. What if something’s wrong? What if we’re not able to have a baby?
As more month’s pass, having a baby can start to consume your life. It becomes all you think about, every second, of every moment, of every day, as you try to track your monthly cycle with the utmost precision, take pricey fertility supplements and wait nervously for the results to appear.
You very quickly become stuck in a sort of limboland, as though your life is on hold until you get pregnant and have a baby. This isn’t helped by the fact that you hold off from:
Spending too much money, encase you need to pay for IVF (goodbye fancy dinners)
Booking holidays, encase you’re pregnant and can’t fly (could really do with a holiday to look forward to)
Getting another job as you need your maternity package (goodbye dream opportunity)
Booking your honeymoon (thanks Zika virus for crossing the Caribbean off our list)
Having spa days (what’s the point if we can’t use the jacuzzi, sauna or steam room)
Booking tickets for events or retreats as you’re on the waiting list for IVF (who knows how long we’ll have to wait)
Drinking on nights out with friends and colleagues (if only I could let my hair down)
Your morning coffee (how will I function without my caffeine boost)
Buying clothes, encase in a few months you won’t fit into them (goodbye shopping retail therapy)
Getting highlights (how sexy will I look with all my grey roots)
Doing up the nursery room (don’t want to get ahead of myself, but don’t want it to be used for anything else either)
When you have to hold off on so many things that normally make you feel good at what is an incredibly stressful time in your life, you might find yourself feeling a bit low. Life starts to feel like it’s just passing you by, as you devote all your time and energy to the monumental task of trying for a baby, which could happen this month, next month or in two years’ time for all you know. You hate having such little control over it.
It becomes beyond frustrating as you tick off each month, watch each season pass and head towards yet another birthday to feel down over, as your biological clock rings loud and clear. The only thing that keeps you going is hope and the thought that it’ll all be worth it in the end. Then again, you know there’s no guarantees in life.
Anybody relate? If having a baby is important to you, then it’s likely that unless you make the decision to stop trying, that a part of you will always feel a little bit in limbo, as every month you hang on to the hope of a positive result, no matter whether you're trying naturally or undergoing medical treatment. I think it’s something that we have to accept as being part and parcel of our fertility journey. Having said that, it’s important we still try to mindfully live our life to the full, as much as we possibly can.
One technique I like to use, which helps to remind me of the simple things that bring me joy in life, is to list journal. Ask yourself the following 50 questions and write down your answers in a notebook, as they’ll help to guide you to live a more fulfilling life, whilst you try to conceive. As an example, I've put one of my own answers in brackets, try to list out a few answers for each question though.
1. What or who makes you laugh?
(Karl Pilkington 'An Idiot Abroad')
2. What do you do when no-ones watching?
(Dance around the house to my fav tunes)
3. What do you love going to see?
(Musical theatre in London)
4. Where do you love going to visit?
(Henley-on-Thames for brunch and walks)
5. Who could you connect more with?
(My brother who lives in Berlin, Germany)
6. Who or what inspires you?
7. Who do you like to follow on social media?
8. Which authors do you love to read?
9. What new books are on your wish list?
(Lucinda Riley 'The Moon Sister')
10. What exercise classes do you love?
11. Where do you love to go for a walk?
(Our local woods)
12. What food do you enjoy eating?
13. What healthy eating habits would you like to adopt?
(Less snacking, even though it's healthy snacking)
14. What hobbies do you enjoy?
15. If you could try something new, what would it be?
16. What TV series do you love watching?
(Shooter on Netflix)
17. What are some feel-good films you like to watch?
(The Holiday, especially at Christmas)
18. What films would you like to go and see?
(Mamma Mia 2 – if I'm able to get pregnant again)
19. Which songs do you love to listen to?
(Josh Kelley – Loves you like me)
20. Which new place would you love to visit?
(Beaches in Norfolk)
21. What creative things do you love doing?
22. What/who gives you comfort?
(Cuddles with Zorba, my long-haired furry moggy)
23. Who do you feel supports you in life?
(Steve, my husband – he's my rock)
24. What new course would you like to take?
(Hypnotherapy – starting in a few months!)
25. What projects are you working on?
(Decorating our house)
26. What new project would you like to work on?
(Paint some more art for the house)
27. Where do you escape for some “me time”?
(Local park for a walk)
28. How often do you give yourself “me time”?
(Every day – especially the first hour in the morning)
29. In what ways could you reconnect with nature?
(Go fishing with Steve)
30. Which local places would you like to explore?
31. What recipes would you like to master?
(How to make a great broth)
32. What puts a smile on your face?
(My beautiful nieces putting on performances)
33. What would you like to grow?
(Lots of different herbs)
34. What new things would you like to learn?
35. What makes you feel calm?
36. What would you love to add to your CV?
(Author, I'd love to write a book)
37. What type of crafts would you like to try?
38. What home pursuits do you find relaxing?
(Reading a good book)
39. What gifts could you make?
(Getting ahead of myself, but Christmas tree decorations)
40. Who in your life keeps you grounded?
(Steve, my husband)
41. What do you treasure in life?
42. Where were the last few weekends away you had?
(Calcot Hotel and Spa, Cotswolds – an amazing wedding present)
43. Which restaurants/cafes do you love to go to?
(Jimmy's Farm, restaurant in Suffolk)
44. In what ways do you express gratitude?
(Writing hand-written thank you letters)
45. How do you treat yourself?
(Buy myself flowers)
46. How do you pamper yourself?
(Give myself a facial)
47. Who in the last week have you paid a compliment to?
(Steve, my husband)
48. What are you thankful for in life?
(Support from my husband, family and friends)
49. How could you add some more movement into your day?
(Do more of my work standing up at my desk when possible)
50. What do you like doing on date nights?
(Stay in and snuggle whilst watching a movie on Netflix)