“Documenting details of your everyday life, becomes a celebration of who you are.” – Carolyn V. Hamilton
I couldn’t agree more with this inspirational quote about journaling. I began documenting my journey shortly after we ventured down the road of IVF. I found myself consumed in my thoughts, consumed with worry, consumed with emotions, feelings and anxiety…I needed an outlet for all that negative energy. I remember going to my local Papyrus store during my work lunch hour. I wanted to find a journal that fit me and my personality. Something I wanted to keep close to me, something that made me want to add to it each day, something that was beautiful, but would be made more beautiful with my words and thoughts. I approached the counter of calendars and journals and scanned the many varieties. Some were wire bound, some were brightly colored, others had phrases like “adventure awaits”, “my life story”, “faith, hope and love”, “bright ideas”, and many were simple, solid color books with no wording or flash to them. Then I found the one that fit me. It was a pink/beige with gold foil on the rim of the pages. I purchased one and began documenting my emotions, feelings, and thoughts that evening.
Recent studies have shown scientific evidence of several health benefits from the process of journaling. Writing accesses the left portion of the brain, responsible for analysis and rationality, and therefore allows the right brain to interpret, intuit and feel. Journaling has also proved to help people cope with stressful situations, relive anxiety, boost immune cell activity, and understand themselves better. I believe IFV would rank in the top 5 most stressful and anxiety ridden life events!
So what are all of the benefits???
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Infertility will make anyone feel scrambled and jumbled with thoughts and emotions. If you write down what your mind is trying to process, it will help you become more in tune with your internal self.
- Know yourself better. I’ve said it many times, but I can’t say it enough…Infertility and IVF will impact you and become a part of who you are! You will find out just how strong and capable you are, you will find out how driven you are, how to manage stress, how to communicate better, and so much more. The process of writing will be a reminder of all of these things and help you navigate through them much easier. As you jot things down unedited, you will have the opportunity to really get to know yourself.
- Reduce stress. Writing honestly about pain, sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, joy, and the slew of other raw emotions you will feel, helps release the intensity of these emotions. You will process the feelings better, and be able to navigate through them with much more ease.
- Solve problems more effectively. Infertility requires some problem solving. There are many different approaches to this issue, as well as many factors that make the equation more complex. The left brain is commonly used to problem solve, however, in the event of such an emotionally charged equation to solve, the right brain is often required to engage creativity and intuition. Women’s intuition is a real thing…so journal, let things out and allow your right brain intuition to play a key role in your approach.
- Resolve disagreements with others. There are many opinions, choices and decisions to be made within the process of infertility, and unfortunately you and your spouse may not always agree on every aspect of the journey. You may have misunderstandings, miscommunications, and differences of opinion. Journaling will allow you the opportunity to reflect on the situation, and understand the perspective of the other person. In doing so, you may be able to come to an agreement much sooner with less conflict.
- Celebrating who you are. Infertility is a part of your life now. Document it, reflect on it and celebrate the strong, beautiful and courageous woman you are, as you navigate this journey.
Some tips for your journal.
- Be honest, and unfiltered
- Let it all out
- Document the date you made an entry
- Include some keepsakes – I included cards, phrases I found, schedules from my doctors and photographs to document the entire journey…it’s amazing to look back on it now. Here are some of my mementos
I hope this post gives you some inspiration to begin documenting your journey. It was without a doubt one of the most helpful tools for me as I faced challenges and the ups and downs of infertility and IVF.
Love, prayers and baby dust!