Coping Mechanism for the Waiting of Infertility or Adoption
In the mood for a little inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. J.B. posted the following on our Creating a Family Facebook Support Group group. Immediately the comments started pouring in, and I’ve included a few here. What I loved is how so many folks took something that is undeniably negative and turned it into a positive without sugar-coating or denying the pain. I dare you not to feel inspired. Please share your best coping strategies. Pay it forward so others can be inspired.
Curious to see if anyone else has coping mechanisms for the pain of infertility, for waiting for adoptions, or for waiting for IVF cycles (etc.). Mine have been quite dramatic; I’m cutting out things in my life that make me unhappy. I quit a job I hated, got a dog, cut my hair short, and went back to art close to full time. Anyone else out there, or am I nuts?
- I draw nearer and become more dependent on God. It is the only thing that has kept me sane through this. I focus on His timing, not mine and take things one day at a time. I also have realized that putting things off because I think I am going to have a baby by then or be traveling at that time is silly. Continue planning and living your life and everyone will understand if you have to cancel because the time really did come. Good luck on your journey
- For me, it was always helpful to be planning the next thing – doing my research, etc. (getting plan b, c, d and z together) then once the plan was rolling, to trying to focus on living my life as much as possible rather than it being on hold “just in case”. I did spend a lot of time not living fully because I was planning for “what if” – expecially with fertility treatment planning it can be tough to not get consumed in it. But the advantage of that over our adoption process was at least with ART, I felt like I was doing something, whereas with adoption waiting, I felt like none of it was in my control once I finished the steps for our home study, etc. So, being a planning and needing to feel like I’m doing something person – I put together my own personal adoption “outreach” plan – with a few tasks each week. I did it sort of in the spirit of the old sales expression “activity begets activity”. It turns out none of our outreach resulted in our match, but it made me FEEL like I was doing something, so it was helpful for my mental health.
- I do a lot of charity work to keep myself too busy to really think about it – plus it makes me feel good and helps others… Win/win!
- I have gotten back into photography. My old passion in college. It is so painful. The wait. The wait of whatever process u are going thru. My husband has gotten himself into stellar shape going to the gym during the wait. We could all write a book and just call it “The wait.” It is quite amazing how long the wait can turn into. Years upon years.
- Well, there’s the traditional classes, reading, vacations, venting, etc. to pass the time. But, for us it really helped our sanity to think about our end point and when we would choose to step out of the process. Sometimes everything felt so out of our control that it was helpful to evaluate whether we’d reached our limit yet. Meant that we acknowledged that though we were tired, we were still choosing this path more than any other alternative. Sometimes I just found it freeing to remember that someday the wait would be over, and ultimately, we had control over when that would happen even if the result wasn’t necessarily one we were hoping for.
- I also quit a job that I hated. Took up an exercise routine. Lost weight. Listened to new music/made new friends. Planted a garden. Allowed myself to grieve an adoption loss. This was 9 years ago and now have 2 kiddos I wouldn’t trade for the world.
- I started running-trained for a 5K and loved it so much I started doing 1/2 marathons. This something that I have continued doing even after the adoption of my son!
- Put “the wait” into a different light. Yes, it’s painful, but force yourself to grow and be the parent you need to be when the child you’re meant to have in your lives appears. It’s the way God works.
- You are not nuts! I had “adoption projects” for my waits. I still haven’t finished the 1st project, but I did read all the books in my 2nd. As for waiting during treatment, I just went crazy. ha.
- I too focus on the fact that God does have a plan for us in this situation. I live by Jeremiah 29:11. His plan may not be ours but whatever it is, it will be perfect because He created it specifically for me/us. Our pastor hit the nail on the head last night…he said when people have struggles the first thing they let go is their relationship with God and worship when we/they need to the exact opposite and drawer nearer to Him.
- I started writing. And researching every single topic that made me passionate. I became a huge advocate for ethical adoption practices, and for making adoption available to people who have a harder time adopting. I began to make peace in all my relationships. I made new friends who I know are going to be friends for life even if I never actually meet them in person because we are passionate about the same things. I built up a support system, and for the first time in my life I feel like I “fit” somewhere.
- I went to therapy…A LOT…and worked through my own “issues.” Then I withdrew for a while and got very quiet and introspective (kind of a “nesting” process), and I poured myself into new ways to support my husband and bio son. I also spent hours and hours quilting…the creative expression was healing, and it kept my mind and hands occupied. Plus, I have some really cute quilts to give my kids!
- Some things I’m doing… Learning new languages (slowly): Spanish, ASL, and Mandarin Chinese (for my friend’s son she adopted from China, who I want to be able to talk to a bit more easily while he learns English). I’ve also been working on my autobiography and family history. Working on growing my business as well, and I plan to add a photography class for children, hopefully this year.
- You are totally *not* crazy…..good on you for finding things to feed your soul while you wait. I remember when I chopped my hair off a few years back in the midst of it all…it felt so darn good.
- In light of foster care month – I think I need to say – another potential thing you could do that gives you that “good” feeling and helps ease the pain of not having a child… Foster a child.
- Actually sounds quite similar to me!!!! I cut my hair the shortest it’s ever been, got a dog (and chickens), and I’m studying Graphic Design at a local college. Instead of quitting my job, I went part-time.
- Running and doing a lot of art — knitting, spinning, making books/journals, collage/mixed media…
- It has been so many years, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I vividly see my husband saying to me, “it’s over and it’s ok”! We decided when it became about more than having a baby, that would be the time to let go. We started the adoption process, I quit my job and decided to work at a gym, nothing better than getting paid to work out, right! We made big move to another state and I immersed myself in myself. The call came that twins were available. 8 years later I have 4 internationally adopted children and a surprise menopause baby. That is FIVE and I could not be more happy. YES there is a plan out there that I am not in control of, and it is GOOD!
- I throw myself into my work, thankfully I have a job that I love and keeps me very busy.
- I knit. A lot.
- I created a scrapbook – I called it my art therapy. I documented research I did, our first ivf cycle, our follicle count, egg count, embryo count, beta and miscarriage. I put in favorite quotes too. Not sure I had the energy left for any of the several following cycles, but it was good for me in the beginning. And for what it’s worth, I’m not “over” my infertility, but the 2 handsomest and smartest boys on the planet falling asleep in the next room sure help.
What has helped you cope?
Image credit: Adib Roy