In my practice, I tell my clients this: ‘You, like everyone else, will experience beautiful events in your life that make you feel happy and light, that increase your confidence and make you smile when thinking about them. However, there will also be hard times, which might be difficult to overcome.
If you had the choice, you wouldn’t take on these unwanted challenges, but you don’t have that choice. What you do have control over is how you handle these challenges, how you actively participate in them, so you can keep on top of things and steer your life in the direction you want it to go.’
My practice is called the Life Composer. Embedded in that name is the idea that I want to pass on to my clients: You compose your own piece of music with the notes you have been given in life, whether you wished for them or not. You will always be the composer, you are the one who decides the melody of your life.
I believe that you can successfully get through this period of fertility treatments, which is full of changing emotions, as long as you receive support on an emotional level as well. That is why, as a coach, I have specialized in guiding couples who find themselves on the medical route to conceive.
This guidebook is written for couples with fertility issues who have decided to start fertility treatments in the hope of embracing their own child in the near future.
It is also interesting for couples who haven’t made their mind up yet on whether or not they want to undergo medical treatment. They can read this book from a different angle. Professionals provide very useful information on various topics and other couples report on their
experiences with different treatments, which may help to make an informed and final decision.
Why this book?
During fertility treatments there is a lot going on, both physically and emotionally. In hospitals you are extensively informed about the physical impact of these treatments, whereas in general little information is provided on the mental impact.
Doctors are not the only ones to blame. Patients themselves often find it difficult to make the attending physician aware of any emotional problems. Yet for many couples, it is essential to address emotional difficulties to be able to get through this period in the best and most comfortable way possible.
That is why I wrote this practical guidebook: to guide couples through fertility treatments and to inform them about the physical and emotional effects of these procedures.
The common thread running through this book is your relationship with your partner. People sometimes say that having a child can put your relationship to the test. However, when the road to having a child is long and alternating feelings of hope, fear, happiness, disappointment and grief are always lurking, then your relationship is not only put to the test, it is also put under a lot of strain.
In this book I will provide exercises to ensure that you and your partner do not lose touch with each other before, during or after the treatment. You learn to recognize, acknowledge and respect differences, which will help you during difficult moments to keep in mind that a child is your shared desire.
In addition, I will guide you through situations, thoughts and feelings that you may encounter during the treatment process, and that may overwhelm you at times. This book will help you to be well prepared and it will teach you techniques to deal with possible obstacles on any level.
To give an example, many couples find it difficult to come to grips with the loss of control they experience during the treatment process. After all, there are many aspects over which you have no control yourself, which can make you anxious and insecure. I will give advice, provide tools and introduce techniques on how to avoid losing grip during this period of uncertainty and how to act from the heart.
The process is more difficult if you feel that everything is simply happening to you and that you are not able to control the situation your- self. This book provides you with tools to be an active participant in your own treatment!
How to use this book?
The chapters of this book are divided into several themes:
- Your desire to have children
- Fertility issues and treatments
- The physical and mental strain
- Your relationship
- Family ties and friendships
- Your openness, both privately and professionally
- The weeks of waiting
- Defining limits
- Taking a break
- Well-intentioned but sometimes painful comments
- Difficult situations
- Expecting or not
In each chapter you will read both my view and the view of other professionals. In addition, you will find quotes in which experience experts tell their personal stories. How did other people experience their fertility issues and treatments? What effect did they have on themselves, their relationship, friendships and work?
Each chapter includes the section Let’s talk, in which I indicate which topics of the ones that were covered are worth discussing, with your- self, with your partner, at work or with family. The questions that follow are a useful tool for opening and guiding these discussions.
When you talk with your partner, I recommend that you both briefly recapitulate what the other has said before ending the conversation, to make sure that you understood everything correctly and that you captured the essence of what your partner meant to say. This will avoid misunderstandings. You will also find tips on practical, physical and emotional issues that you may encounter. Have a look at them and use whatever works for you.
After chapter 13 you will find a workbook. This part is divided into different steps that contain exercises you can do to get through this process in the best possible way, practically, physically and emotionally.
Be sure to read the book up to and including chapter 13 before you start with the workbook.
I wish you a lot of insight and strength!