In this session, Andreia Trigo, a multi-awarded nurse consultant, author, TEDx speaker, and Founder of Enhanced Fertility Programme has been talking about 6 steps that will help you build resilience and confidence for your IVF success.
So many times, other people who don’t understand they haven’t been through it, they aren’t the best people to give us advice especially, unsolicited advice, but people will say these things, so we sort of need to learn how to respond to these people. Confidence comes from within, so we know what the facts are. We know that it might be true that egg quality starts reducing after a certain age, that is a fact, but we also know that there is a certain percentage that it might still be possible to have to have a baby with your own eggs or maybe to have a baby with donor eggs. I would invite you to develop this realistic thinking, to notice that it might be true, all of those things that people are saying, but maybe their brain is not telling them that other part that all the reasons why it might work. I think it’s hard to even for ourselves, and it might be even harder for other people to come up with that. I usually think that other people’s comments come out of a place of love and wanting to help even when they’re not helpful at all, and they are very upsetting, but most people do want to help. I want us to take charge of our confidence, and even though they might say okay, it’s hard to get pregnant at your age why don’t you just enjoy life without children, it’s not that easy, but we need to find a way of having confidence that is absolute in what I want, absolute confidence, absolute certainty in what I want to achieve in life.
There are indeed some challenges, but there are also some possibilities as well, and as long as I’m aware of that, as long as I have realistic thinking, I have absolute certainty in what I want to achieve. I know it can be hard, but if you do those six steps, and I’m not going to say that you’re not going to get upset by what people say, we all do get upset from time to time, it never goes away, but it’s like a muscle that we train, so we build our self-confidence, our absolute certainty in what we want to get out of life. So, when they do say those things, we almost have a shield that protects us, and that is our confidence.
It’s almost like you’re split in two. You want something, but your brain is giving you this self-doubt, so I would say that you need to look at all the reasons that maybe you have now that say that it’s going to work. We know that if you are in your mid-40s, it’s true that the egg quality is not as good, but other people have gotten pregnant in their mid-40s, maybe you need to consider egg donation if that’s something that you are willing to consider, but it is a possibility. I usually say that when women are older, they also have more experience to look after a child now as opposed to someone who had a child when they were very young, so try to look at things from that different outlook. It was that step number two, find a different outlook. All of those self-doubts we need to manage them. We need to find ways to fight against them. If you think about, for example, your friend that is telling you those things about herself saying: maybe I’m too old.
What would you say to your friend if your friend was having those self-doubts about herself, so try and think about all the good things about maybe having a child at this age, all the things that might actually work, and I think when we start deconstructing the self-doubt, then we’re halfway to building the confidence that we need to believe that it might be going to happen.
I think so many people have found themselves in that circumstance because they’re having treatment abroad. There are so many people having treatment abroad that it has become a bit difficult with the coronavirus travel restrictions. I think we need to consider the things that we are worried about that are under our control and the things that are outside our control.
If we’re thinking about the travel restrictions that are outside our control, so I would call that unhelpful worries, that’s a worry that no solution to it is within our means. We need to sort of help to let it go, and we need to start focusing on things that are within our control. I would maybe shift focus to the things that you could do during this waiting time that could help you get ready for when that time happens that you can have fertility treatment again. It might be that you can do things to help your body physically and emotionally, it might be that you want to take this time to have a break and maybe focus on a certain hobby. Try and focus on things that you can indeed do instead of things that you can’t do. I do see a comment here about the worry tree, it’s an amazing tool, we have that tool in our app as well. Think about if it something we can do about it or not.
The two-week wait is one of the most challenging times of fertility treatment, and we need to start thinking about all the things that might shake your confidence or your ability to remain calm or resilient. You might be thinking about all the what-ifs that might happen, what if this doesn’t work, which I think is one of the most common fears. One of the useful strategies that we found ways is to do things during the two-week wait that nurture your body, physically and emotionally. To do things that maybe you hadn’t done in a while, to look after yourself, to maybe watch a movie, to eat healthily, to do things that bring you joy and happiness. Secondly, it’s almost impossible not to think about all the what-ifs. It’s good to schedule a time in the day when you do think about all the things or maybe when you go on Instagram or the fertility forums, and you just vent about this, and you speak with other people who do understand.
So trying to find a balance between I’m allowing myself the time to worry, but I’m also keeping myself busy with things that allow me to enjoy this period. I would say the third tip would be a mindfulness recording. We have a very good mindfulness recording in the app, which is all about remaining confident during the two-week wait, so do go there and check it. You can listen to it maybe every morning or whenever you’re feeling a bit more stressed or when you can’t shake off the worry during the two-week wait.