How do you accept that your fertility journey may not turn out the way you had planned?Aug 01, 2022
One of the things that screws us up the most on our fertility journey is the picture we have in our head of how it was supposed to look.
My husband and I were married, and started trying for a baby on our honeymoon. I’d already cleared my calendar for 9 months later, when I’d undoubtedly being going off on maternity leave.
If you’d told me on my honeymoon, that 2 years after that, we still wouldn’t have children, and in fact, our journey would include me travelling on the train to work, carrying a cup of my husband’s sperm in my handbag, I wouldn’t have believed you.
But that’s where what happened. 7 years, 9 IVF cycles, 2 miscarriages, one baby via a surrogate, and one baby naturally. If you’d told me that’s what our path would look like, I never would have believed you.
Our path to motherhood isn’t always the straight forward journey we imagine. And it steals a lot of our innocence. Because for a lot of us, this is the first time we’re exposed to the hard reality that we are not in complete control of the outcome. That bad shit happens to good people. And that some of us have to work f*cking hard to get what others get handed so easily. Oh, and that just pure hard work doesn’t always get results either.
The struggle between what we had hoped, and our current reality, can be overwhelming and consuming. By rejecting the path we are currently walking down, we are causing ourselves undue suffering and pain. The denial is exhausting.
And when we’re ashamed of the lengths we have to go to, when others seemingly do it easier, it creates more resistance.
Because the simple truth is that some people find it easy, and some people find it hard. Which, when you think about it, is a reflection on life. Some people find reading a book easy, others find it hard. Some people are naturally good cooks, some are not. Some are good at sports, some are not. We’re all different in what we find easy or hard. And unfortunately, for some of us, making a baby is hard.
If it’s hard for you, and you’re looking for a way to find a little peace, to get your energy back, start feeling a little more like you’re self, and stop the constant struggle, this is for you.
In order to make peace with our situation, we need to accept that this is our path.
But, it’s hard to get to that point of acceptance, isn’t it? Because this means a lot. Plus, we’ve had this ideal about what our future will look like for so long.
First of all, let’s talk about the concept of ACCEPTANCE. Because I think we need to change our view on it.
Acceptance is not about admitting defeat. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up. Nor is it about sitting on your ass and doing nothing. Or saying that this is the way that it’s always going to be forever. You can still work on changing or improving the outcome. You can still become the investigator, the problem solver, the magnet for change.
Acceptance does not mean you have to like it or want it. It’s not about saying that you’re ok with this path that you’re being forced to walk down. No one in their right mind wants to do IVF or all the other crap that we’re told we should do.
It doesn’t mean you chose this path either, or that you did anything to deserve it.
So, what IS acceptance?
Acceptance is about recognizing that your path is going to look different to that picture you had in your head, and that it is going to look different from those around you.
It’s being realistic. Yes, we all have that picture in our head of how things were meant to turn out. But the reality is that it's not working out like that.
And right now, you have a choice. You can hold onto it and let it consume you, or you can accept that you're going down a different path.
Because acceptance is a conscious decision. Are you going to accept your current reality, or live in the past, and keep punishing yourself? When we resist acceptance, it becomes a form of secondary pain and causes undue suffering, which is preventable.
And while you’re still looking at the past, it’s easy to slip into that victim mentality of “why is this happening to me?”. AND of course, when we go down that rabbit hole, our mind comes up with answers that make us feel even worse i.e. it’s because I’m not meant to be a mum, it’s because I’d make a terrible mum, it’s because I’m not worthy etc etc.
I’m not denying that this isn’t fair. It’s not fair, and you don’t deserve the shit-show you’re walking through right now. Heck, I even titled my book, The Injustice of Infertility.
But the victim mentality doesn’t feel good, and it keeps us stuck. We bounce between feeling defeated, blaming ourselves and others, and trying to control everything else around us. One of the best ways to get out of that triangle is to recognize when it’s happening, and be aware of the pattern. Then shifting our thoughts.
You don’t have to find joy in it, but it can help to find meaning in it. And no, I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. There is no reason for the pain that you’re going through right now. What I’m saying is that it helps to find a way that this is also serving you. Ask yourself – how is this helping me grow? What is this teaching me? What skills do I need to develop to be able to cope with this? What changes do I need to make in my mindset and my life as a result?
Acceptance is a continual process. It’s not a once and done thing. You don’t have this epiphany one day and release it, never to be seen or heard from again. It’s work – day in and day out. More things will come up that require a level of acceptance. Different decisions, different procedures – all with different outcomes that will keep changing that picture. Infertility is continually having to pivot and change as you figure this out. There will be a constant balance of acceptance and resistance.
It’s like grief – and if you’ve ever read any book about grief, you’ll find that acceptance is the final stage of loss. Of course, we all know that grief isn’t linear, it’s about bouncing between all the stages over and over again. And acceptance that this is your path is no different. You will deny it, you’ll get angry, you’ll bargain with the fertility gods, you’ll feel depressed, and you’ll accept it. Then you’ll do it all over again, in no particular order. But as long as you keep aiming for that point of acceptance, this is where you’ll find peace.
While acceptance can be practiced in all areas of your life i.e. your relationship, your work, or financial situation, let’s apply it to your fertility journey.
Here are some practical examples of where it helps to find a level of acceptance.
IVF. The decision to go down the path of IVF is a hard one. No one in their right mind wants to inject themselves in the stomach with a needle, experience the hormones, the daily scans, the rollercoaster of emotions, and the huge expense. This isn’t how we dreamed it would be. However, some of us need a little help. When we accept that this is merely the next step in the process, and there is nothing shameful about it, it can feel a little lighter. If you’d like to learn more about how to accept the fact you’re going down the path of IVF, you can read more in a previous blog I wrote HERE.
Accepting that your mother-in-law is incapable of providing you the comfort or support you need. I’m not sure why I always pick on the mother-in-law, however you can insert whoever you need to in this scenario. Accepting, does not mean that what they is doing or saying is right. It’s recognizing when to persist, and when to walk away. It is not your job to teach people how to be sensitive to your needs, especially when you’ve already said something previously.
Imagine how much lighter it would feel if you dropped your expectations and accepted the fact that this is how some people are? That this isn’t about you, it’s about them.
This is where forgiveness comes in to it – because forgiveness is actually a form of acceptance. Accepting that they are not going to change. Accepting you may never have the type of relationship that you desire.
It’s not easy to drop the anger and frustration. But it’s heavy, and you’re already carrying so much.
On the other side of acceptance and forgiveness, is where you will find freedom and peace. And you deserve that.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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