How do you stop being so mean to yourself on your fertility journey?Jan 16, 2023
Why are we so mean to ourselves?
I never really noticed that voice in my head before infertility and loss came along. So maybe I used to be kind to myself at one time. But after years of fertility treatments, and feeling like a failure, the noise became too loud to ignore. The language became harsher. The questions became more guilt-ridden. And the self-punishment and stories I told myself were horrible.
But I couldn’t help it. By then it was a free-for-all. I became a punching bag for myself.
And I know I’m not alone.
If that voice in your head is telling you that this is all your fault. If it’s telling you all the reasons why you’d make a terrible mother. Or that this is probably karma for not being a nicer person. If you’re punishing yourself for not starting sooner, or for drinking that one glass of alcohol this month. This is for you.
Because it’s time we stopped punishing ourselves.
I’m going to walk you through an exercise to help you speak to yourself a little kinder. And it has nothing to do with “just being positive or hopeful or grateful”. Because that shit doesn’t work.
No, we’re going to set some rules or boundaries in place for the language we can and can’t use in those spirals. The language that is acceptable, and that which is unhelpful or harmful.
Because how we speak to ourselves DOES matter, given the fact that our thoughts have a direct impact on our emotions.
Now typically, from my own experience and from coaching women through this journey, there are a few triggering events when you’re trying to conceive, however, the top 2 are -
The pregnancy announcement.
The negative pregnancy test result.
Do you wonder why you get stuck inside the spiral and can’t get back out? You can spend days, weeks, and even months in that state of anger, sadness or disappointment. Going around and around in a circle. A constant loop.
It’s because the thoughts we are having, and the conversations that are happening in the background, are driving our emotions. When we get stuck in the victim mentality, we get stuck in the emotions and it’s a vicious cycle.
We ask ourselves questions like – why is this happening to me? And then, because our brain is always searching for answers, it comes up with a few of them i.e. it’s because you’re not worthy, it’s because you waited too long, it’s because you’d make a terrible mother, it’s because you didn’t exercise 3 days a week. And then we keep recycling that question and those answers. And the more we search for the answer, the meaner that voice becomes. Around and around and around.
In short – those questions and that language isn’t helpful at all. And usually, the stuff we tell ourselves isn’t true anyway.
So, for each of those triggers, let's create a list of language we CAN use in that situation, and a list of things we need to avoid saying or asking, at all costs – because it is only going to keep us stuck.
Let me demonstrate with both of our examples.
For a pregnancy announcement.
What can you say? These are typically statements of fact or helpful questions. It is ok to say that this is shit. It’s ok to be angry that you are not pregnant. It's ok to resent all the shit you’re putting your body through. It’s ok to be jealous that other people don’t have to go to these extreme lengths. Here are some things you CAN say –
This sucks / I’m so angry / This is so unfair / I hate that I’m not pregnant / I’m jealous that they are pregnant / This makes me sad / I wish I was pregnant too / what do I need to do to support myself through this?
You can keep adding to this list with fact-based comments or helpful questions.
What should you avoid? Anything that pushes you into the victim mentality, or seeks to place blame on yourself or someone else. Most of these are leading questions that force your mind into searching for an answer. Here are some things you should avoid –
Why do they get to have a baby, and I don’t? / Why is it so easy for other people, and not me? / Why do we have to spend all the money, and make all these changes, when other people don’t?
You can keep adding to this list with questions you typically ask, that don’t actually have an answer.
For a negative pregnancy test –
What can you say?
This sucks / I’m so angry / This is so unfair / I hate that I’m not pregnant / I’m so sad / I am devastated / what do I need to do to support myself through this? / I’m scared this could all be for nothing / what should I do next?
What should you avoid?
What did I do to deserve this? / Did I do everything I could have? / Is this because I had the extra glass of wine at dinner? / This is all my fault / I knew I shouldn’t have had hope – how foolish of me / I’m so stupid to have thought that this could have been the one / Is this a sign I’m not meant to be a mother? / Am I the reason why my partner won’t become a father?
When the triggering event occurs, you’re going to have to pull your list out to keep reminding yourself of the things you can say in this moment. But awareness of your thoughts is key. Journaling is a great way to create that awareness – that way you can re-read the words you have written down (without judgment of course), and ascertain whether they are helpful or not. You can then add them to the CAN say or the AVOID saying list.
This is not about moving into a toxic positivity world or brainwashing yourself with positive affirmations at your lowest points. It’s acknowledging that this is hard, sitting in the emotions, and creating healthier thoughts in the process.
It’s about asking more empowering questions. Not blaming yourself. Moving out of that victim mentality. And choosing better thoughts.
This is a continual work in progress, but this will help you remove the story that is playing in the background. It will allow you to sit in the pain, without the suffering.
Because this journey is painful – there is no taking that away. But you don’t need to suffer as a result.
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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