I keep talking about acknowledging the negative in my life, and yet what I'm really trying to achieve is a positive attitude towards our upcoming IVF. It seems a bit contradictory, but this is my reasoning.
As we've gone through failure after failure in the last two and a half years - first failing to conceive naturally, then eventually being told IVF was our only hope, then going through three failed IVF treatments - I've been trying harder and harder to protect myself against the pain of yet another failure.
I'd pretty much reached the stage where I was thinking that it's inevitable that the next IVF will fail, and that it doesn't matter if it does, because my life is pretty perfect as it is.
And yet I know that this isn't the case - it will matter tremendously to me if this IVF fails, and although my life is good, and could be good even if we never have children, I'm kidding myself if I think that I'm happy to move on and live a child-free life.
So my attempt to protect myself from having negative feelings is actually contributing to my negative attitude towards IVF, where I'm already convinced that it's going to fail before I even start. And because of that, I'm terrified to start, because until I do, I still have some hope. But after the inevitable failure, there will be no more hope that I'm ever going to have my own biological child.
I think I need to allow myself to acknowledge the extent to which my life at the moment is not what I want it to be, in order to start visualising again the sort of life I do want and imagining that it's possible to have that. The friend I stayed with last weekend said that she's convinced I will be a mother, but she's not sure how that will come about - whether I'll give birth to my own child, give birth to a donor embryo or adopt a child. She said the only way I'm not going to get there in the end is if I decide myself to stop trying.
I don't think she's entirely right - all our fertility treatments could fail, we could get turned down for adoption, and we genuinely could end up running out of options. But it's certainly a refreshing change from all those people who say, "I just know you're going to get pregnant soon" - to which my immediate mental response is, "No you don't - and why can't we just acknowledge that some people never are going to get pregnant and I could be one of them?"
But the basic idea about not giving up hope of us becoming parents one day is a good one. And in particular, I need to go into this IVF with the hope that it's going to succeed. If I'm protecting myself from negative emotions by convincing myself that it's going to fail before I even start, I'm not allowing it the best chance possible to succeed.
I think that's what I mean by acknowledging the negative. I'm not going to turn into a total Eeyore. I'm not going to lose my generally upbeat attitude to life. I just want to acknowledge to myself how much I want this to work and allow myself to feel hope without being crippled by the fear that raising my hopes will only make me fall harder when those hopes are dashed.
And by writing all this, I think I've just convinced myself that, this being CD1 (and I'm very bothered by the fact that I just had my second 24-day cycle in a row and that my cycle doesn't seem to have sorted itself out properly since IVF #3), I will feel the fear and call the clinic today, rather than giving up on this month before it even starts and putting it all off until next month - or the month after - or the month after that.