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Bearing The Cost of Infertility
a blog by Maya Moskin, November 14, 2014
Anyone who has been sequestered to IF Island knows that it comes with a huge cost, and I don’t just mean financially. Coping with the physical, emotional and financial cost of infertility treatments can be brutal. Below are some tips and strategies to help deal with the various “costs” of living on IF Island:
The years I spent injecting hormones into myself was physically abusive to say the least, and I got increasingly frustrated when my body just didn’t cooperate. But there are a few things you can try in order to combat these difficult physical feelings:
- Take up a new physical activity. Days after one of my unsuccessful cycles, a friend of mine literally forced me to take a cardio hip-hop class with her. I was miserable and felt heavy and bloated, but I must say flailing around with my two left feet to some old school Run DMC felt really good. Finding a physical activity to help get you back into your body and feel strong again is key.
- Treat yourself to things that feel good. A massage, a mani-pedi, a long afternoon nap. Drinking a super healthy, super expensive organic juice and spending a few hours at the Korean spa getting loofa scrubbed helped my body experience something that felt good for a change.
- Honor and appreciate your body. Though I often felt “broken” and just physically gross, I also reminded myself that my body is an amazing thing, and much of it works in amazing ways. I tried to focus on the parts that still looked decent (thank you sexy clavicles) and found clothes to accentuate the positive and cover up everything else.
The emotional and relational toll infertility takes can be very stressful and exhausting. Making sure to eat well and sleep well are the foundation to maintaining emotional well-being, along with these few tips:
- Find your peeps. Finding a place where you can connect to others who understand you is essential to having the emotional support you need. Friends and family can be great, but sometimes a local support group or online forums and blogs are the best places to find people going through a similar struggle. Sites like babycenter.com have different groups, and organizations like Resolve have information about local support groups.
- Let it out! Talk about it, write/journal about it, find an outlet for your feelings, even if its just for you. Letting some of the pent up feelings out is important to maintaining your sanity.
- Find a mental heath professional to support you. I tried many different therapeutic supports from seeing a shaman to having reiki done on me to traditional talk therapy to hypnotherapy and found different things helpful at different times.
The obvious cost. And while sometimes there really is no getting around the money factor, it is important to know what’s available and what to ask for.
- Ask your clinic about various financial breaks. Some clinics are associated with different multi-cycle packages or refund programs, but they don’t always advertise these things. Some egg donor programs also have refund programs. Some clinics give special discounts to teachers or people in the military, so remember it never hurts to ask. Some pharmacies also have price matching programs and some pharmaceutical companies have coupons or discount programs as well. Some clinics, mainly ones associated with large universities, sometimes do research studies and clinical trials that may be a good fit for you. Ask ask ask!
- Interest free loans. I came across one loan program in my area from the Jewish Free Loan Association (and you don’t have to be Jewish to apply for it but you do have to live in Los Angeles). But there may be other organizations like this in your area.
- Apply for a grant. Though there aren’t a ton of non-profits that specifically fund infertility treatments, there are a few. One that comes to mind is BabyQuest foundation. Look into local grants and specific clinics in your area that might be giving away a free cycle. That happens some times, really. It might feel like a long shot, but you never know, it might be worth a try.
Though there often is a limit to what we each can afford in these different categories, hopefully someday, it’ll all be worth it.