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New Reasons to Mark Your Fertility Calendar
a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, Feb. 24, 2010
One piece of advice that I give to all my infertility clients is to “mark your calendars.” That may sound ridiculous to anyone who has dealt with infertility, since everyone knows how quickly one’s life can become ruled by the calendar. Months become “cycles” and cycles become measured by blood draws and ultrasounds. Some parts of the calendar are filled with appointments and activity; others slog by in waiting.
One thing is sure: infertility patients never forget their calendars. If they’re not planning cycles, they’re trying to figure out ways to avoid or cope with those dark spots on the horizon: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Passover, a big birthday, a small one—all the times that remind them of what and who they are missing.
So why do I advise paying more attention to calendars?
Many years ago, I learned a lasting lesson from the first couple I knew to have a baby through IVF. When I heartily congratulated them, they turned to me and said, “It’s not all good. We’re thrilled, but we also lost ten years of our lives. Our 30’s are all a blur.” I realized then — and have been reminded repeatedly ever since — that it’s important not to let months and years become a blur during infertility treatment.
When that happens, infertility really wins out: it robs you of time.
Instead, I encourage people to actively identify things they want to plan for, look forward to and, eventually, remember. “If you can, plan a trip,” I tell them. “Pick a place that would be hard to travel to with a child.” Or find some new restaurants to try. Identify a hike or a theatre production or opera you'll look forward to. Plan things other than your infertility.
Some going through infertility might argue that travel and dinners out are a “waste of money” and that spending extra money is a bad idea when you are “shelling out” so much for treatment. I disagree. Money spent on anticipating and creating memories is well spent. How many of us can’t remember what we did a week ago but can recall, in vivid detail, travel that occurred over a decade ago? How many of us cannot tell you what we had for dinner last night but can re-savor each bite of a meal enjoyed months ago?
So mark your calendar. Find something that you want to do and begin to plan for it. Put the time aside. Look forward to it. After you’ve done it, remember it with pleasure. Savor the memories. Begin making plans to create new memories.
One day your struggle with infertility will be part of your history. Do what you can to make sure that your history is rich with other memories as well.