[dropcaps round=”no”][/dropcaps]Waiting is not something that most of us do well. The only time I can remember enjoying waiting to conceive, was the first two years of my marriage because my husband and I had decided to wait before actively pursuing parenthood. This waiting period, helped us to bond as a couple and also laid the foundation for us to continue waiting effectively.
The first two years of waiting to conceive was fun and worry free, because we had chosen to wait and felt we were in control. However, the second half of our wait which has spanned over a period of almost 14 years has been a roller coaster ride fraught with spiritual, emotional and physical challenges, bringing with it the realization that there are still some aspects of life that we do not have the prerogative to control, one of them being ‘fertility’.
[one_fourth last=”no”]Many of you reading this article are waiting to conceive or know someone who is. Perhaps, like me you have been waiting for almost 17 years or you have waited for 2 days.[/one_fourth]
Many of you reading this article are waiting to conceive or know someone who is. Perhaps, like me you have been waiting for almost 17 years or you have waited for 2 days. I have come to realize that the period of waiting is not half as important as our emotional and attitudinal perspective during our wait. Infertility brings with it, so many stressful cycles of waiting: waiting for the right time of the month and waiting to get a positive pregnancy test result, waiting for doctor’s appointments, test results, to do procedures or waiting to be adoptive parents etc.
Your whole being – spirit, body and soul; can become weary from waiting, not knowing what the final outcome will be. Your body needs physical energy for the endless tests, procedures and monthly cycles of trying to conceive. Your soul needs emotional fortitude to handle the roller coaster of hope and disappointment, daydreams and frustrating realities. Your spirit needs divine help for the relentless challenges to your faith. It is difficult to wait. I know! I have been waiting for almost 17 years!
Over the years, I have come to understand that, although I do not have control over my fertility status, I do have control over my emotions and attitude during this waiting period. I could wait with grace and become a better person or impatiently and become a casualty. The choice is mine. I have chosen to wait graciously. I know that you also have a right to choose. Therefore the second part of this article will give you tips on how to wait effectively. Reflect on it!
TIPS OF HOW TO WAIT EFFECTIVELY
Take One Day at a Time
Quit second guessing the future as a childless couple, it is unpredictable. You are only entitled to today, enjoy it and make the best of it. A friend of mine wrote the piece below about, ‘Today’, I believe it is very apt.
“Today is the only day that exists. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift and that is why it is called “the present”. So don’t procrastinate. Why?! Tomorrow NEVER comes. When tomorrow arrives it becomes TODAY. Today is the day to take action. Action delayed is destiny delayed. Be wise. Good morning”. – D.A. Ayo
Accept the Fact that You are Not in Control of the Final Outcome
All you can do is your best; you do not have control over your reproductive organs. Do not try to have a baby at all cost. It may cost you your life, marriage, self esteem, and your will to live. I have had two fibroid surgeries , one hysteroscopy and a cycle of IVF.
On the 14th of January 2010, I went in for a laparoscopy. In course of the procedure, my intestine was punctured, a three and half hours emergency surgery was done to save my life and my womb was infected. Two weeks after the surgery; my stomach burst, my veins collapsed and another 5 1/2 hours surgery was done. My two intestines were infected, the doctors cut them and sutured; the surface of my stomach was sliced and stitched. The infection was just a few inches from my colon, if my colon had been infected, my colon would have been cut; the implication of that is that I would have become a person with disability(I would have had to carry a colostomy or urine bag for the rest of my life).
I was transfused with five pints of blood and my body was badly traumatized. My body refused to respond to antibiotics for three weeks, I was on IV for four weeks and every day I was throwing up, had acute diarrhoea and the site of the surgery was leaking. I kept seeing my face in the obituary column. I was not afraid to die, but I was ashamed to die, because I knew I had not fulfilled my purpose.
Eventually, at the beginning of the fourth week, the doctors suggested a powerful antibiotic as a last resort. One of the side effects of the drug was temporary amnesia. Since, I had no alternative, I took the drug by faith and within a week, I was on the path to recovery. I was discharged on the 8th of March 2010. My ordeal had lasted for almost two months, but it took me nearly one year to recover. I have the scars and intermittently acute pains, but I am glad that I was given a second chance to live purposefully.
My purpose is not tied to my womb, it is tied to the reason why I was created. In 2010, I incorporated Keeping It Real(KIR)Foundation. I have a new lease of life. I am grateful that through such a harrowing experience; I have given birth to an organization that is greater than my womb . I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I believe that God is sovereign and all of our challenges can become a blessing in the lives of others if we surrender them to God. I have shared my journey with you because maybe, just maybe, my story could inspire you to also make a difference.
Look for Creative Ways to Vent
The emotional stress associated with infertility has been compared to that of cancer or other terminal diseases. You must learn how to express your emotions constructively. You can write in your diary or journal, do exercises, join a dance class or garden, etc. It very important that you let off steam positively or you will have blow outs when you least expect it.
Reading about your situation and what you can do to help yourself and your spouse, will definitely give you some peace of mind and a certain level of control. I have done a lot of reading and research and it puts me in a comfortable position whenever I have an appointment with a doctor because, I understand the facts and terminology and am not unduly worried.
Look for Opportunities to Serve
Those of us who are fertility challenged have some time to spare. Instead of hiding away or burying yourself in your work; go out and touch someone’s life. We all have the gift of nurturing, put yours to use; I can assure you that it is quite uplifting.
Believe that You are More Than Your Reproductive Organs
Do not fall into trap of identifying yourself by your inability to reproduce, you are more than your womb! You are first a human being, then someone’s child, a sibling, a spouse, a friend and the list goes on. Enjoy all of these roles.
Be Grateful and Forgiving
True contentment in life is not based on having everything we want and resentful, but being thankful for all we have and being quick to forgive a wrong.
Find A Support Group Or Form One
[three_fourth last=”no”]We must never underestimate what can happen when we decide to use our experience for good! My decision to establish Elizabeth’s Surprise; has been one of the most helpful steps I have taken on this journey.[/three_fourth]
Ten years after doing all I knew to do, I came to my wits end. I started a support group called, ‘Elizabeth’s Surprise’. We meet once a month, published newsletters and were instrumental in changing the fertility policy of Nigeria LNG. The company policy indicated that fertility treatment was cosmetic and after a presentation to management, the company changed its policy and started paying for fertility treatment.
We must never underestimate what can happen when we decide to use our experience for good! My decision to establish Elizabeth’s Surprise; has been one of the most helpful steps I have taken on this journey. My sisters in the Support Group have been with me through all the turbulent moments. Why walk alone, when you can get help?
Do Not Put Your Life On Hold
Stop saying when I have a child I will do this or that, do it now. Do your exercise, eat a healthy diet, take your vitamins and look good. Pursue your dreams and celebrate life. You have only one life to live; live it well and live it fully. You cannot rewind your life even if you do eventually have a child. It is a busy and an interesting person that makes remarkable parent.
Build Your Relationship With Your Spouse
Marriage is first for companionship, then procreation. Focus on nurturing your relationship with your spouse. If you successfully weather the storm of infertility, your marriage will be stronger for it and you will be better prepared to enter the phase of parenting or child free living .
Do not become a victim of infertility, but look for ways to reinvent yourself. Actively pursue learning opportunities that will make you a better person and ultimately an excellent parent when you become. One of the saddest things I have seen, is meeting those who have waited years to become biological, adoptive or foster parents and they do not have a clue about the purpose of parenting. They either overindulge their children or become strict disciplinarians.
Do not end up becoming an accidental parent, prepare yourself so that if and when the time comes, you will become an intentional parent. Do not stumble through the days in a daze, live life intentionally, infertility is only one aspect of your life, do not give it the power to take over or define your life.
If you are experiencing severe stress from infertility or your marriage is in trouble, do not hesitate to seek professional help.
No matter your religious bias, practice praying. Prayer changes things and people.
Bitebo Gogo is the Executive Director of Keeping It Real(KIR) Foundation , a Change Enthusiast who is committed to lifelong learning, inspiring young people to change through learning, she believes in doing right by Nigeria and is a kept woman who is proudly kept by her Lord and personal Savior; Jesus Christ. You can contact and connect with her:
Email: [email protected]
Linkedin: Bitebo Gogo