Anyone struggling with fertility challenges while trying to conceive knows that the path to parenthood can be a cluttered mess during the IVF (in vitro fertilization) process. We’re not just talking about your bathroom transforming into a science lab. Since there is a finite amount of emotional bandwidth, the demands on your time, finances, relationships and psychological functioning can leave limited space available to recharge and reinvigorate yourself.
To clean up the chaos, we turned to organizing expert Marie Kondo. We adapted her tried-and-true method to transform the emotional mindset, overall health and to help spark joy throughout your IVF process.
Commit Yourself to Tidying Up and Decluttering Your IVF Materials
Make a decision to get gritty and start decluttering. A difficult fertility journey can make you feel detached from yourself. Your fertility treatments are much outside your control, it is easy to feel defeated and overwhelmed each time you take that pregnancy test and don’t get a positive result back. Choosing to respond differently to adversity allows for greater personal agency in an otherwise powerless situation. Instead of feeling steamrolled, try increasing your acceptance of the unknown. Practice withholding judgement of your thoughts and behaviors, rather observe their existence with warmth and compassion. The human spirit evolves through discomfort, so make the most of this experience and choose to see it as a catalyst for growth while ttc.
Spark Joy by Creating a Happiness Inventory
Raise your awareness of opportunities for happiness and track them in a readily accessible list. Get creative and make it exhaustive. Include everything from a funny sign outside your coffee spot, to a new binge-worthy series on Netflix. It can be hard to recall these calming cues during IVF cycles and stressful times, so have it easily accessible in anticipation of triggering events.
Serenity in Simplicity
Fertility treatments can cause financial strain, so relieve some of the stress by streamlining your spending without sacrificing simple pleasures. Pursuing low-cost activities that gratify your needs will help you slow-down, clear your mind and engage with the world on your terms. Try boosting your well being by exploring new neighborhoods, attending book signings, or cook an elaborate dinner. In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art offers Quiet Mornings at 7:30 am followed by a guided meditation session. By deepening the connection with your community, you will bolster inner resilience and the increase ability to bounce back from hardship.
Declutter Messy Friendships
Many empathetic individuals take on the strains and stresses of the people around them. Giving away your precious emotional reserves may leave little leftover for yourself and your mental health. Prioritize your needs by granting permission to distance yourself from toxic or inauthentic relationships. Remind yourself it is healthy to establish interpersonal boundaries. Begin by identifying those energy sucking individuals and liberate yourself by withholding vulnerable information. Take advantage of the newly available space for cherished connections or self-care.
Your expectations and abilities evolve over time, and in the end, all you can do is your best.
Transforming your mindset comes from hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible steps taken along the way. Following this Marie Kondo mindset will allow you to purge unhelpful habits and replace them with healthier, more constructive behaviors. While you attempt these techniques, try to relinquish self-judgement. Remind yourself that your expectations and abilities evolve over time, and in the end, all you can do is your best.
Lindsay Liben, LCSW, has a private therapy practice near Union Square, focusing on women’s issues including depression, anxiety, and life adjustments. She believes that by helping her patients get in touch with their most authentic selves, they can make choices that set them up for personal and professional success. Learn more about Lindsay and her work on her website