One of the things that's so difficult about this whole IF business is the feeling of loss of control. Many of us have no, or very little, control over when we'll be cycling. We have no real control over whether the treatment will be successful or not. We spend month after month being unable to make plans, or having to make tentative plans in the knowledge that they may have to be cancelled in favour of a trip to our favourite clinic.
This is why we so often fall prey to superstition and mumbo jumbo - because they give us something that we can actively do and in a way give us back some sense of control. Saluting a magpie may not get me pregnant, but it's a positive action that some say can help ward off bad luck.
One of the things that I think my coach is trying to do is to give me back a real sense of control (rather than the false one you get from superstition). Before last week's session, she asked me to think about things I'd like to change to help me feel more positive about this next cycle, communicate my needs and feelings more effectively, and/or improve my chances of conception.
I decided that the first and third of those aims would be fulfilled by losing weight, eating more healthily and sleeping better, and I thought about things that I could do to achieve each of those aims.
In the session, we concentrated on the weight loss. We drew up an action plan with a specific, concrete goal (how much I want to lose, when I want to lose it by and how I will reward myself if I achieve that aim) and specific actions setting out how I plan to do this.
Suddenly, my focus has shifted slightly from something I have no control over ("I must reduce my FSH, then produce plenty of good quality eggs, then get pregnant") to something that is much more within my control and will ultimately be good for both my general health and my chances of conception.
I know that I'm also doing everything that I can in other ways - I'm listening to Circle + Bloom and going to a reflexologist for relaxation, I'm back on the supplements that I'm convinced helped us last time, I'm taking DHEA and wheatgrass, and I'm getting regular exercise.
Despite feeling so grotty over the last week (thanks for putting up with my whinges, by the way), I have maintained that sense of control over what I'm doing, and so far I'm seeing results - in the first week, I've lost 3 lbs.
Just as importantly - perhaps even more so - I'm beginning to feel as though I'm back in control of my life. It's been a crappy little-over-a-year, with three failed IVF treatments, a slipped disc, a redundancy, a couple of months of no work, dealing with feelings of jealousy over my SIL's pregnancy - all things over which I had little or no control. And now I'm making progress with my work (tiny steps, but it means I'll be earning money this month for the first time since August, and since what I want to do relies quite heavily on word of mouth, the first few jobs were always going to be the hardest to set up) and have taken as much control as I can over the whole baby-making process.
All of this makes a control freak like me feel an awful lot better.