How do you release the anger when you're on your fertility journey?Jan 10, 2022
Are you angry? I mean REALLY angry. Like there is a fire burning in your belly that is just waiting to be unleashed. If you said yes, you’re not alone……and you’re in the right place.
I understand anger. I was intimate with anger for a very long time. It was my go-to emotion. My safety net. If anyone asked me how I was feeling, I would smile sweetly and say I was fine…..but inside me there was deep RAGE bubbling just below the surface.
It was triggered by pregnancy announcements, being told to just stop trying, people asking when we were going to have a baby, seeing pregnant ladies, a diaper commercial, my favorite TV show character getting pregnant…..or even just dropping my keys.
Reflecting back on my 7-year battle with infertility, there is one moment that stands out the most. We had struggled for 5 years to become parents and ended up going down the path of surrogacy. Our journey included 9 IVF cycles, one miscarriage, hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of tears and constant heartbreak. But miraculously, we were successful – our little boy Luca was placed in our arms just before Christmas of 2014.
Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant naturally. It was a shock, but I had dreamed of carrying my own child for so long. We were ecstatic and I thought that we were finally going to complete our family. I figured that we had suffered enough and now we were being blessed not just once, but twice. We were so excited.
9 weeks later I had my own miscarriage. And that’s when the anger I had been pushing down for so long erupted. I couldn’t comprehend WHY this was happening to us. I was seething, bitter and completely beaten. This was my rock bottom.
The problem with infertility is that there is no one to be angry at. Which means that there is no where for our anger to go. So, it sits deep inside us……and grows……and grumbles……and festers……and manifests into a dull ache, deep in your chest. It becomes a big black hole, where all the goodness in life is sucked out. Smiling or even laughing seems foreign now. And you feel empty and consumed by rage.
I get it. I was angry for a very long time. But since writing my book, The Injustice of Infertility, which allowed me to explore the emotions I was feeling on my fertility journey. And after coaching women through their own journey’s, I have discovered a couple of things about anger – firstly, it’s detrimental to your quality of life, and secondly, it’s possible to release it. Because anger is heavy. And you’re already carrying enough weight around on your shoulders, without this too.
So how do you release the anger when you’re on your fertility journey and struggling to conceive?
First of all, you have a right to be angry. It isn’t fair that this is happening to you, because you did nothing to deserve this. It’s time to be honest. We deny our feelings for way too long, and we keep pushing it down because we don’t think we have a right to be angry, but we do. You do. There is nothing wrong with being angry.
So now you know it’s ok, what do you do with it?
Nine times out of ten, we aim our anger at others, because we need someone to blame. We definitely live in a blame culture. We like accountability. Who did this? Who is responsible for that? Who needs to pay for this? And we do that with our fertility journey too. We ask ourselves – why is this happening to me? Why do I feel like shit? Why am I angry?
We need somewhere to direct our anger, so we look for an excuse to be angry at someone. We pick a fight with our partner. We take offense to a throwaway comment made by our mother-in-law. And we find ourselves reacting quite erratically to circumstances that don’t usually warrant the level of anger we feel.
Yes, you could take it out on your partner (which is what I used to do) or your mother-in-law, but when we do that, we add something else to our anger pile. We add guilt, shame and regret. And that is NOT a good combination.
At the end of the day, this is no one’s fault. Stop looking for someone else to blame. And it is definitely not your fault, so stop punishing yourself. Searching for fault and blame is keeping you on a constant loop. It’s adding fuel to the already burning fire.
This is also the reason why pregnancy announcements hurt so much, and usually trigger an anger response. The truth is that you aren’t really angry that they’re pregnant, you are angry that you are not pregnant (which is completely acceptable). You are angry that you have to go through all the crap you’ve gone through.
And while they may have announced in a completely insensitive way - perhaps they kept the news from you and you had to find out via social media or your gossiping aunt, or they did it in public without warning you first. Whatever they did, or however they did it, ask yourself - if they had done the same thing while you were pregnant, would you still be angry? Probably not so much. Did pregnancy announcements piss you off before you started trying to conceive? No. Would you be annoyed at other people getting pregnant quickly if you did too? No.
One of my favorite quotes is - The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. And the truth is, that our reactions are always about us. They are about the anger and pain we are carrying around inside us. Sure, people can be insensitive assholes, but our reaction is always about us, not them.
And THIS is a good thing. Because if it’s our shit, it means that we can do something to clean it up. When we bring it back to us, it’s empowering. We lack control in all other aspects of our fertility, but our emotions and the overflow, we can do something about.
Bring it back to you. You get to own it. And we need to own it first, before we can channel it out.
So how do we release it?
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is turning to positivity and gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, those are amazing, but they’re not the cure for anger. So, if you’re thinking……I just need to be more grateful for what I have. Or I just need to be positive. Or I need to meditate to be calmer. I’m going to tell you now, it won’t work. When we throw gratitude and positivity and calm onto something like anger, it may suppress it a little, but it’s not going to extinguish that fire. It’s merely a band aid. The rage still burns underneath.
We need to meet anger……with anger. We need to meet it with the same intensity that it burns inside us. We need to get the anger out and stop pushing it down. How?
By connecting the anger with physical acts or exercise. Break shit. Go for a sprint, pump iron at the gym, do a boxing class, go to a smash center, go to an axe throwing hall, or even a gun range. In order to release some of the energy bouncing around inside you, you need to connect to the rage, and move your body. Channel the anger out, instead of covering it up or directing it toward someone else or yourself.
You will be surprised how empowering and cathartic it is to look at your anger, acknowledge it, and connect with it.
Now that you’re owning it, you’ve looked it in the eye and met it where it is, it’s time to release its grip on you.
It’s time to dig a little deeper. You see, anger is merely a surface emotion.
I loved anger because it made me feel strong. But really, it was grief that was lurking underneath and a whole lot of other emotions.
When I was angry that my friend got pregnant despite only trying for a couple of months…..it was really jealousy.
When I was angry that yet another person asked when we were going to start our family……it was really shame.
When I was angry that my egg retrieval didn’t result in any viable eggs…..it was really disappointment.
When I was angry that our transfer didn’t work……….it was really fear.
I was masking all my emotions…….with anger. Because I was so closed off to feeling anything and I was afraid that if I was honest about how I really felt, it would swallow me whole.
But what I have learned is that we are not our thoughts or emotions. We are separate from them. Which means that we can feel them without becoming them.
What I have also learned is that when we name our emotions, it can give us relief. Anger keeps us trapped. But the deeper emotions can set us free.
Try using these emotions on for size –
Frustration / Defensive / Irritated / Offended / Jealous / Betrayed / Isolated / Tormented / Abandoned / Disillusioned / Inferior / Guilty / Ashamed / Confused / Afraid / Cautious / Nervous.
And those are just a few of them. Like anything, when we shine a light on our true emotions, when we name them, they lose their intensity. They provide us with understanding. Permission.
It is so important that you don’t bottle this up. Because it’s keeping you stuck. And I’m sure you want to start moving forward, right?
So, here’s the quick recap –
- Feel it
- Own it
- Meet it where it is, and with the same intensity
- Name it and bring it into the light
- Release it
This isn’t easy. It’s hard to walk through that process on your own. Which is why this is a huge part of my private coaching program. So, if you’re sick of feeling angry and lashing out at others (and having to apologize afterward) and if you’d like to feel lighter and start moving forward, find out how you can work with me HERE.
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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