I hate bathing my dog. We have had her three years now and in the time I’ve bathed her twice. It’s not that she has only had two baths, it’s just that after the first couple of botched attempts I realised that dog grooming was not where my talents lay. I decided it was better for both myself and my dog if I handed those responsibilities over to my partner.
When I underwent IVF two years ago the nurse gave me one final word of caution after taking me through all the different drugs and processes that would be involved in my cycle. Do not make any big life decisions while taking these medications. I remember thinking her advice was a bit silly, as aside from the big life decision of trying to create another human I had no other plans to alter my life in any way. I was just cruising along trying to make a baby. I was pretty sure I wasn’t at risk of leaving my partner or moving to Africa or doing anything else crazy that sprang to mind when I thought ‘big life decisions’.
I was about three weeks into my cycle and feeling pretty chuffed with myself as so far I had not made any life changing decisions, outside of trying to make a brand new person from scratch with my body. Then while on Facebook one day I saw an ad to become your own dog wash franchise owner. As I clicked the ad and waited for it to load my mind started racing, picturing the wonderful business opportunity this would blossom into. I saw myself with one of those portable dog washing trailer thingys driving around to peoples houses washing and grooming dogs. It was perfect, this was my calling. I couldn’t understand why in my 26 years prior this business opportunity had never crossed my mind before.
All the reasons why it might not work out seemed so minuscule in comparison to the big pay off awaiting me if I undertook this task. I mean sure I didn’t actually like washing dogs, but that would grow on me right? Plus the nail trimming kind of put me off a little. Come to think of it the possibility of being bitten, getting fleas, or having to reverse into places while having a trailer attached to my car didn’t thrill me, but only seemed like a mild inconvenience in my head. It did dawn on me that from my limited experience grooming animals I actually also suck at it. Not suck as in ‘I am slightly below average in the skill set, but with time could improve to an adequate proficiency in this area’. No, I was the kind of bad at it where people may report me to the RSPCA for subjecting an animal to unnecessary humiliation and cruelty. I once gave my cat a buzz cut so bad that I actually had to stop having guests to my house for several months until it grew out because I got tired of trying to explain to them what happened and frankly I think even the cat was embarrassed. It started out with me just intending to help neaten up the butt area, and it quickly progressed to the ‘It looks so bad I can’t stop now, I’ll just keep going until it looks more even’ point. Just so you know if when you are preforming any sort of grooming service you’re not qualified for and you come to a point where you say to yourself ‘Wow that looks really bad, but I think if I just go a little further I can save it!’ you have gone past the point of no return. Accept it now before you make it worse. Put down the scissors. Get professional help while there is still a chance things can be salvaged. I did not follow my own advice and my cat ended up looking like someone gave her a haircut with a lawn mower. To add insult to injury the fur on her butt (where the attack on her dignity started, but sadly did not end) was also unfortunately shaped like a labia. I don’t know how it happened that way, perhaps the universe’s cruel taunt at the last remaining shred of my cat’s shattered dignity.
This was a picture of my cat when I was done with her. Sadly, I did not learn my lesson the first time (a common theme in my life) and this picture was actually from the second time I shaved her and it went horribly wrong. At least this time it went a little less horribly wrong than the first.
To summarise: sinking all our savings into a dog wash franchise was a terrible idea. I know that now that my body is not pumped full of hormones. I am very pleased to report that the nurse’s little voice telling me not to make big life decisions popped into my head somewhere along the thought processes of ‘$16,00 really isn’t THAT much money’ and ‘I bet I would be way better at grooming dogs than cats’. Thinking back to that time it is ridiculous to think that it was even something that I considered for a moment. It doesn’t make sense to a rational person. I am not saying that I was batshit insane while doing IVF, perhaps my decision making processes were just a little ‘inhibited’. Perhaps I was closer to the batshit insane end of the spectrum than the ‘only mildly impaired decision making abilities’ end. Really though, can you blame me for going a little cray cray? Can you blame anyone going through IVF for not being themselves?
Even if you ignore all the hormones that are being literally stuck in almost every opening (and as if that isn’t enough creating new holes in you with each injection!) you have to acknowledge that IVF is hard work. Cut yourself some slack. Don’t forget to cut yourself a little extra slack on top of that for all the probing. The internal probing of the scans, the internal probing that involves some stranger sticking a needle through you vagina multiple times (OMFG KILL ME NOW I HAD PLANS TO USE THIS THING AGAIN ONE DAY BEFORE YOU DID THAT TO IT YOU MONSTER) and the blood tests which suddenly seem like a walk in the park after someone sticks a needle through your vagina (again with the OMFG, I will never be the same after that*).
While you’re at it cutting yourself some extra slack why don’t you also add a little extra in there for the financial burden of IVF. The knowledge that each time you have another failed month it isn’t just your hopes and dreams that take a hit but your bank account. Every month I got my period I thought to myself I could have saved us all a lot of time and energy if I had just withdrawn several thousand dollars from my bank account at the start of the month and proceeded to flush it down the toilet.
If taking all that into account isn’t enough for you to take a step back and realise you need to try and be kind to your hormonally ravanged body then remember this: going through IVF is emotionally challenging. Challenging doesn’t seem like the right word. It is the perfect shitstorm of hormones+fear+hope+disappointment+despair+excitement+stress and when you look at all those factors I mentioned above it really isn’t surprising that it can make us a little bit crazy. I personally would be more surprised if someone went through IVF and didn’t have their own equivalent dog wash franchise story to share.
So my advice to you is be kind to yourself. Recognise that what you are doing is hard on so many different levels. When people are stressed we tend to be prone to doing some pretty strange things. IVF puts you in a stress vice where there is consistent and sustained pressure coming at you from every angle over a prolonged amount of time. It isn’t really surprising that you may have occasional moments of insanity. Get support, be kind to yourself, surround yourself with people and things that make you happy and bring you joy. Maybe don’t buy a dog wash though.
* By some miracle of the gods my vagina did manage to recover from its ordeal. Though traumatised it continues to preform its varied functions, much to my surprise and relief.