Last weekend my family and I went on a short vacation to the beach to unwind and relax. My third and final IVF is rapidly approaching, so it was very necessary for me to take the time to be in the present moment, enjoying the beauty of nature and all of the little treasures life has to offer. I was so happy to take a break from thinking about my infertility treatments, and I was actually able to remain stress free and unburdened during my whole time away. The morning we were to go back home, I sadly said goodbye to the ocean. I realized on my vacation that there were ways I could “take mini-vacations” that would provide temporary stress relief as I navigate another difficult path on my journey.
1. Drinking a glass of wine, or a margarita, or some other tasty adult beverage.
When struggling with infertility, being able to have a drink is the equivalent of “No Sally, you don’t win the car, but hey, you win our take home version of the game show!” No one really wants the crappy board game, but at least it is something. Clearly, I would like to be pregnant and therefore not be able to drink, but since I am not with child, yes I will have a margarita on the rocks with salt. ( Obviously, this is not a good option if you struggle with addiction–the social worker in me had to clarify this).
2. Doing something crazy.
My husband and I weren’t sure what we would do for our 4th wedding anniversary. We were really depressed because we had thought for sure that we would be pregnant by that time. We knew we had a difficult autumn approaching, filled with doctors, fertility treatments and surgery. We decided to do something that we never would have done if we were pregnant or if we had kids. We spent the day at trapeze school. It was crazy and awesome. We will never forget it.
3. Being around nature.
Whether I am sitting on a bench taking in the river view, or walking on a trail alongside the duck pond, I find peace and comfort in running water. I like to be by the water and feel its healing presence, especially on my tougher days. I feel spiritually rejuvenated in these spots. Being by the water reminds me that I am a small part of a greater universe, and I find that comforting.
4. Watching a fun movie.
For people struggling with infertility, it is sometimes hard to find a movie that is relaxing. For instance, “Knocked Up“, a seemingly hilarious movie about a couple who accidentally gets pregnant, could be excruciating for someone who is having trouble conceiving. This past weekend I found a great movie to watch that was hilarious and not at all thought provoking or stressful; “Date Night” with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. It made me laugh and took me away from my troubles for a little while.
5. Doing something to benefit others.
Helping other people feels good. It is a beneficial distraction from your own troubles. After my failed IVF with embryo biopsies last year, I thought I had hit bottom. Then a few months later, I had an unexpected pregnancy and then went through my fourth miscarriage in less than a year. I was feeling really low and quite lost, looking for meaning and purpose. I eventually started writing, and I noticed that my writing had themes of peace and service. Eventually, www.kidslikeike.com was born, devoted to teaching preschoolers to love the environment, each other and themselves. With the site, I hope to make the world a little bit brighter. It brings me comfort to have created meaning and purpose when I was experiencing overwhelming feelings of sadness and emptiness. Working on the website was a positive distraction.
These are some of the “mini-vacations” I take to escape from the stress of trying to conceive and of coping with the inevitable difficulties. Everyone has their small joys in life, whether they are exercise, reading a book, listening to music, eating a fabulous meal or getting away. I look forward to hearing about what brings you joy and relief from stress.