For such a vivacious personality that I know Anjola to be, it was somewhat disturbing to see her subdued in a way. Her aura portrayed that she had a lot on her mind, and those thoughts were weighing her down.
Anjola still did her daily business, but as far as I was concerned, it was not the same thing. There were several times I stopped to ask her if everything was fine, and she would smile and say, yes, she was fine.
At a stage, I felt like I was becoming a pest, but you see, I had been down that road before and I still have my moments, but what pulls me through time and time again are the amazing people in my life. The people who would look me in the eyes, when I’m mouthing my “I’m fine!” and say, “Kemi, you are not. What’s going on?”
Because there have been people there for me countless times, and even now, I feel a need to pay it forward, so I persisted, even when it was not convenient. I would ease up at times, and lay it on some other times.
My effort paid off recently when I got a message from her. It was a one line sentence text that was loaded, and I was clueless about how to help. I was like, “God, you didn’t tell me this was what I was letting myself in for! How am I going to do it?”
After saying a hurried prayer asking for direction, I called Anjola and we spoke at length; okay, she actually spoke and I listened. There were moments we both cried, there were moments I was angry, and moments she was angry and I tried to calm her down.
We were both whipped out of all emotions by the time we ended our conversation, and I recall remembering snippets from it for days and it would stir complicated emotions in me.
The first time we saw after that, we literally ran towards each other with open arms in a tight hug, and this time, when I asked, “How are you doing Anjola?” The twinkle in her eyes matched the words, she spoke. The vivacious Anjola is back!
Anjola has been married for 5 years, and has been TTC for that same length of time. At first, it was just a case of “let’s wait and see how it goes.” Right now, it is a frenzied zone. And somehow, everything that was going south got to Anjola, robbed her of her beautiful spirit, leaving her looking like a woman with the whole weight of the world on her shoulders.
I’m pretty sure quite a lot of TTC moms reading this can relate to that feeling. Quite a number of TTC moms have perfected the art of crying behind closed doors, and presenting a brave façade to the world. But everyone has their day too, when they don’t even want to step a foot outside their doors. When they can’t be bothered to fake it and be like, “Hey, you are free to think whatever you want. Just don’t come to me with it…at all.”
Infact, every human has such a moment, but when it becomes a regular thing is when there is cause for alarm. When it is becoming what you are known for, when it is starting to affect your relationship with other people, then it’s time to watch it.
Thankfully, just as it is real, there are ways to cope with the effects without it having so much damaging effect on you or your relationships.
It is also important to point out that it is not only women who are affected by infertility depression. In fact men may be more prone to experience this condition because they often have no outlets for their emotions (because they are conditioned to act macho) and they are expected to provide support to their wives during this delicate period of waiting.
So, how do you cope and even get off the depression spectrum? Here are some tips to help.
- Take a break from fertility treatment
Now, I know that’s the last thing you want to do, but if you really value your mental health, then you need a break. You just need to get back to that place before hospital appointments, injections, scans and the whole works.
And if you have been trying for years non stop, then it is even more important that you get off the track and rest your body and your mind.
Let some sunshine into your body and mind. Feed your mind with some more positive vibes. This will re-energise you when you want to get back on the track.
The break will also allow you to put things in perspective.
- Look for meaningful distractions
I call them meaningful distractions because they involve you focusing on someone else other than yourself. When you are going through infertility, you are probably feeling like your whole world revolves around your infertility, but when you introduce meaningful distractions, you get interludes that help you focus on other people for a change, and that can help in no small ways.
If helping others seems too much for you, then by all means consider you being happy a pet project that you must do something about every single day.
Sometimes, it might be swipes of Ruby Woo lipstick to put the spring back in your steps. Sometimes, it can even be slowing down to sip some green tea and just close your eyes, shutting out the world and its worries. And if that will just lead to focusing on TTC, go out.
Be intentional about doing something that will bump up your happiness gauge on the daily.
Another thing you can do to boost your mood is keeping a journal; it can serve as an outlet for your raw feelings.
Talk about your infertility only when necessary
On a last note, it is important to know that infertility depression is a very normal reaction to infertility. Just don’t allow it define your whole existence.
You are enough, whether or not you are able to have your own biological children.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here