Coping With Infertility: How One Woman Found Her Strength Despite Her Diagnosis
Starting a family. It’s what many couples dream of and plan for after getting married. It seems like the logical next step right? Even your relatives think so, which is why Aunt Betty and Grandma Sue make a point to ask at every family party, “So when are you going to start trying?”
But what if you are already trying? What if you are trying to conceive...but it isn’t working?
This was the case for Tedi Palmer and her husband. After months of trying for a baby, the Palmers were diagnosed with both male and female factor infertility. Although the odds of achieving pregnancy were stacked against them due to their double diagnosis, Tedi and her husband decided to pursue fertility treatment options.
As they trialed with fertility medications and began rounds of unsuccessful IVF, Tedi realized something important: she needed a way to process her thoughts and feelings surrounding their fertility journey and she needed an outlet for her stress and energy.
Tedi started running. Although she had never considered herself much of a runner, this new found hobby brought significant relief and enjoyment during a time when her mind (and body for that matter) were consumed with trying to get pregnant.
Tedi was onto something here. Exercise has significant stress-relieving benefits. The extra endorphins produced when you exercise help keep your mood up and prevent or decrease cases of depression and anxiety.
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is “meditation in motion”. In other words, it provides a way to let go of your daily stressors, to stop focusing on your worries and burdens, and instead channel your mind and energy into the movement of your body.
Tedi found, as many do, that her new habit of running regularly had become a therapeutic way of dealing with her infertility diagnosis and the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive despite the diagnosis.
In addition to running, Tedi found that she needed a space to truly reflect on her feelings about their infertility journey. Frustrated that infertility can sometimes be an almost taboo, not talked about subject-matter, Tedi decided to take her personal reflections on their infertility journey beyond the confines of a journal and into the public space by starting her blog, Running With Infertility.
Through this blog, Tedi shares stories from her own infertility journey, training tips for running marathons, and resources for other couples who are struggling with infertility. It has become not only a healthy way for her to process her own thoughts and feelings, but an invaluable resource for others.
What about you? If you are carrying the weight of a medical diagnosis, whether it’s infertility or something else, it’s important to find ways to take care of yourself, both in mind and body. Take a page from Tedi’s book and carve out time in your schedule for the activities that rejuvenate you. Find your own “meditation in motion.”
If you are ready to take charge of your own journey and make taking care of yourself a priority again, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and take some time to reflect and think about what really fills you up and brings you life, despite whatever challenges you may be facing. Here are a few reflection questions to get you started:
What activities make me feel peaceful? (Running, journaling, listening to music etc.)
Where in my schedule can I carve out time to do these activities?
Who in my life am I able to talk to about my challenges? Who is my support system?
Are there activities or relationships in my life that trigger stress and anxiety for me?
How can I decrease the presence of stressful activities in my life?
To hear more of Tedi’s incredible story and her journey to motherhood, check out my latest podcast episode. This interview is inspiring, motivating, and filled with insights for finding your strength in the midst of infertility.