I once saw a quote which says, “What consumes your heart, consumes your life.”
This is especially true on the TTC journey. Everything is viewed through the perspective of infertility. Seasonal holidays are first of all another day to confront the reality of TTC, before it becomes a day of celebration. So, on Valentine’s Day, the first thought of a TTC mom might be “What’s the gain of all other Valentine’s Day we have been celebrating?”, before she thinks about the fact that it is a day for lovers and not parents.
And who can blame that mama? She is probably thinking of the next doctor’s appointment, wondering when the savings for IVF will be completed and when she can actually start, or process the latest diagnosis she has received. These are weighty considerations. However, can TTC mommas just borrow a leaf from the page of Mr and Mrs T’s book? For one day, celebrate your love.
I laughed my heart out as Mrs T regaled me with some of their past Valentine’s Day celebrations recently, and what she thinks her husband is planning for this one. They had planned one out-of-town celebration, when the day fell on the weekend several years ago. Planning to turn it into a two-day affair, they had left home on Friday night, headed for their rendezvous, only to get lost.
Mr T knew long before his wife caught on that they had gotten lost. He was literally driving in circles. Alarmed, they prayed for help and help came in the form of an elderly man whom they asked for direction.
He gave them directions but the road was so bad and unsafe that he pleaded with them to spend the night his house. They both said “No!” vehemently. Tales of kind helpers turning into vultures at night and other horror stories flooded their minds, even as they declared, “It is not my portion.”
Anyways, Mr and Mrs T finally agreed, but that they would prefer to sleep in their car, parked in the compound of the elderly man. He obliged.
No evil befell them, and with dawn came a beauty which had been hidden by night. The town wowed them and that was where they spent another day, just strolling around the town, chatting with the locals, enjoying their local dishes and even watching the children play their version of football. It was a time they got away from it all, and a time they just focused on each other and their environment.
At the end of the day, their host ended up becoming almost like family. His children and wife became close to them too. He was like a second father to the two of them until his death, two years back.
This year, it is Mr T’s turn to plan the Valentine’s Day surprise. Of course, with lots of hints from Mrs T, who secretly wants a spa visit, something her husband is not keen on. He says it’s too privacy intruding. Will he ditch his reservations and gift her what she wants? Valentine’s Day will tell.
Did I mention that Mr and Mrs T have been married for almost ten years and have been waiting that long? They have been through two unsuccessful IVF cycles, lost a naturally conceived baby at 20 weeks, and have pressures from family and friends, who are wondering what they are doing sef.
Even with all they have gone through, they have managed to stay true to their love for each other and their marriage vows; “for better for worse, till death do us part.”
Mr and Mrs T are currently not cycling now, or on any fertility treatment, which gives them a lot of leeway as to the kinds of arrangement they can make to celebrate the day. However, that doesn’t mean that if you are in the two week wait, giving yourself daily shots, or going through egg collection or transfer, you cannot celebrate Valentine’s Day, far from it. You can have a wonderful day of it.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Take a break:
If you are on a fertility treatment, you might not be able to completely blank your mind to your fertility struggles, but make an effort to let love thoughts fill your mind on Valentine’s Day.
For one day, forget the needles, the pain of being diagnosed infertile, and sometimes shame or even blame game that comes with it.
Focus on your partner:
Let’s be honest, TTC can make a person selfish, as you assume the weight of the whole world rests on your shoulders. Also women are more likely to withdraw from their lover, because they feel he won’t understand. As most women have come to realise though, men too have to deal with their own emotions on this TTC journey; strong emotions for that matter.
Valentine’s Day affords you the opportunity to put your personal struggles to one side and just focus on making your spouse feel loved. After all, that’s one of your jobs.
Take time out to reflect on what made you fall for him/ her. Talk about your first dates. What made you laugh when you first met? Those happy memories will do wonders for your relationship.
Just for Valentine’s Day, give yourself permission to forget the word, baby dance and just make passionate love to your lover. You can forget about whether it falls on your ovulation date or not. Just enjoy each other the old-fashioned way, for love and pleasure.
Of course, if you are in your TWW after an assisted procedure, or going through IVF treatment, you need to find other ways to pleasure yourselves. Just enjoy.
Share a romantic dinner for two and exchange meaningful gifts, if that works for you. You have the right to celebrate yourselves as a couple and the union you share.
On Valentine’s Day, you are a lover! Simple as ABC! Your reproductive status doesn’t matter.
So, be in love on Valentine’s Day and not infertile.
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