I started posting this in the comments, but it got too long. Here's what I'm hearing.

Most people don't like the idea of a deadline as a coping strategy. Or at least not when put in those terms.

Deadlines are set for other reasons, of course (though I really hate the idea that money is one of those reasons - it's just an extra level of unfair.) But no-one so far has said they told themselves, "We'll do X number of cycles, and if that doesn't work, we'll move on," purely because it helps them to think that way. Because it helps them to know that, whatever happens, they'll never go through this shit more than X number of times.

Yet I know there are people who do think that way. I met one at my first transfer. It was her second-last transfer, and I'll always wonder if she was successful, and if not whether she changed her deadline. Because when it comes to the "creeping deadline" strategy the "creeping" is as important as the "deadline". You calm yourself down by saying, "Only two more cycles, no matter what!" but you keep yourself from worrying about their failure by secretly giving yourself permission to carry on.

So, to sum up, I'm beginning to think coping involves giving yourself permission to keep going, and also permission to stop. Permission that doesn't hinge on the outcome of your treatment.

I'm also toying with the idea of "permissions". (Can you tell?) Permission to keep going. Permission to stop. Permission to hope.

What other permissions do we need to give ourselves in order to cope?


5 Comments

serenity said...

For me, permission to FEEL is a big one. I tend to try and rationalize the BFNs from each cycle and then focus on what we're going to do the next cycle, instead of allowing myself to grieve over the loss of a cycle.

Allowing myself to be sad when I'm feeling sad is something I'm working on. You can't be Zen about infertility 100% of the time - it's just too big and deep.

Lut C. said...

Permission is a good angle.

I give myself permission to NOT hope. I'm a rather pessimistic person by nature, some people keep telling me I have to keep hoping, but at times it just doesn't work for me.

I need to give myself permission to let me be blue. Life goes on, but it's unrealistic to expect that I can go on as if nothing is wrong.

I don't have a fixed number of cycles I want to do or a deadline.
We'll see as we go along.

ms. c said...

Ya, I like your idea of giving yourself permission. That is a BIG ONE. I find that I give myself permissions that others don't always let me have (and therefore allow me to gain control over my situation.)
Permission to have a crappy day when I hear of a friend's pregnancy.
Permission to be frustrated that I have to wait another cycle.
Permission to cry when I feel hopeless.
Permission to cry, feel sad, stay in my bathrobe all day because today IF is just too much to deal with.
Permission to feel elated when I get at the tinyest flicker of good news. (One might call that hope, no?)

StellaNova said...

I am struggling with the 'permission to hope' element today. I think at other times, it's 'permission to have fun'. That one is easy to let go when all I am doing is focusing on the difficulties and emotional pain. I feel that I am betraying the solemnity of the process and despair of possibilities.

I also like Lut C.'s comment (which, ironically, is the complete opposite to what I myself said above). The 'permission to NOT hope'. AB is such an optimist and, at times, I feel guilty if I am being what I call, realistic. To NOT hope can sometimes be protective.

Meri-ann said...

Permission to be grumpy. Permission to do whatever you want. Permission to laugh. Permission to cry. Permission to feel any damn emotion you feel like feeling at any one time!

Permission to not be ok, even when you tell everyone you are.

Permission to be different, to do things differently to others.

**I kept getting my letters wrong!!!**

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