How do you stay motivated and driven to keep trying to conceive?Jul 25, 2022
The longer you’re on this journey, the more you ask yourself this question. When you’re feeling exhausted and lost and overwhelmed. In those moments of defeat, we wonder silently, how much more of this can I take?
I was driven to write this blog because one of my private coaching clients asked me recently – How did you not give up? After 7 years, losses, back to back fertility treatments, heartbreak, and all of the ups and downs, how do you keep going?
Of course, as is the case with infertility, my answer isn’t straight forward. It isn’t just one thing. It wasn’t just a deep hope and faith that things would work out. There were so many factors that made me keep getting back up, and prevented me from walking away from our dream.
I’m going to go through the things that drove me to keep pushing forward, because I think it’s important to acknowledge all the different feelings that come up on this journey, and how they play an essential role in it. Despite our resistance.
Let’s start with ANGER. Of all the emotions, this was the one I felt the most. Because it was the ever present, surface emotion. Of course, underneath it all, deep down, were all the others, which I’m going to talk about next. But anger was one of my biggest drivers. And I had a right to be angry, and so do you. While the anger caused me to behave in ways, I felt ashamed of at times, it was also what drove me to fight. This is what motivated us to switch fertility clinics and demand better care. I was so pissed off at infertility that I sometimes stood back up out of spite. It would not win. It would not steal anything else from me. At times, Anger drove me to keep pushing forward.
Another driver was FEAR. I was terrified that this would all be for nothing. I was scared of what life would look like for my husband and I if we didn’t keep trying. I knew that we would still have a good life, but I couldn’t picture it. I was scared of what that other life would look like. What it would mean about me. By the time we had been trying to conceive for a couple of years, my value as a person was so intertwined with the achievement of motherhood, that I was scared it would make me less of a person. And even though that is definitely not true, because we are worthy regardless of our motherhood status, it was still something that motivated me. Fear drove me to keep pushing forward.
I’m naturally a determined and driven kind of person. Some would call it STUBBORN. I am indeed your typical type A personality. And because of this, I would not take no for an answer. I was determined that I would not fail at this. My husband always says that if he had married anyone else, they probably would have walked away well before we had our babies. And while some may judge and find it super annoying at times, being stubborn is also what kept pushing me forward.
I was also driven by JEALOUSY. This is probably one of the emotional responses we don’t talk about, because it feels uncomfortable and shameful to admit it. We’re always told to stay in our own lane and not worry about what other people are doing. But it’s hard, isn’t it? We compare everything – from the way we look, to how much we earn, to where we live……and the big one……whether we have children. I used to look at our friends who already had children – and even my sister who had 3 children, and I was envious of them. I wanted what they had. I was even bitter that they were able to have children when I wasn’t. But at times, the jealousy drove me to keep going – because I wanted what they had. And if they could get it, why shouldn’t I keep fighting for it?
There were times when I was driven by DESPERATION and FRUSTRATION. I felt like I was trying everything, and none of it was working. But those things resulted in me taking better care of my body. Trying different diets that made me feel a lot better. Trying acupuncture which allowed me to take some time to release all the stress I was putting myself under. A lot of people reach out to me and become coaching clients out of frustration and desperation. And as a result, they find validation, relief, and learn a whole lot of tools to deal with the heavy emotions that come up on this journey, and in life. This desperation drives us to look for better solutions, to take better care of ourselves, and reach out for help. And while I didn’t like it, this desperation and frustration is what kept pushing me forward.
As much as we don’t want to feel these emotions. As much as we’re told these are “bad or negative” emotions. They all serve a purpose. They are all necessary parts of this journey, and life in general.
My anger, my fear, my stubbornness, desperation, frustration and jealousy all drove me forward. So next time someone criticizes you about the way you’re feeling, or when you get that pang of guilt when these emotions come up, look at it from a different angle. These may just be pushing you forward.
This may not be the answer you were imagining. Perhaps you were expecting me to say that it was my unwavering HOPE AND FAITH?
While these weren’t present on a daily basis, and while it felt hopeless a lot of the time, underneath it all, they were always there. It was a deep knowing that I didn’t always recognize, and something I kept searching for all the time. The elusive feeling of hope. I know you chase it at times too. Because that is one of the questions that I get asked all the time. How do I feel hopeful? And I’ve answered this on a previous blog that I’ve written, which you can read HERE.
Our perception of what hope looks and feels like needs a little updating. I think we believe that hope should feel like a strong knowing, a confidence, a certainty. But it isn’t. That’s why we desperately keep looking for it. But it’s not missing. When we scrape away all the other emotions, it’s there. Not every day. Not front and center.
It can be present in amongst the sadness and grief. We found hope in amongst our miscarriages. Because in amongst the devastation and loss, they indicated that we could actually get pregnant. Before then, there was no proof of hope apart from a deep feeling. But a pregnancy, no matter how brief, was physical evidence of hope for us. We’re all different of course.
I guess what I’m trying to show you is that while hope and faith are an important part of this journey, you don’t necessarily need to go out in search of them, nor are they the only things that will drive you forward.
We rely on hope so much, that we push away the other emotions. But you can use them too.
Pain can drive us forward in so many ways. It forces us to make changes, to reassess how we’re doing things, and pushes us to get help. It changes us, and it changes our perspective.
It’s like an inhale and an exhale. When we inhale, our heart rate quickens, and when we exhale, our heart rate slows down. Both are essential in regulating our nervous system, and sustaining our life. And while we don’t want the racing heart, it serves an important purpose.
We need it to maintain the balance. A rhythm. A dance. It’s not about shutting out the hard emotions. It’s about using them in a way that is helpful.
It’s important that you understand this is not telling you to “don't give up”. I have very strong feelings about this, which you can read in a previous blog I wrote – HERE.
Nor am I telling you to stop looking for hope and faith.
This is the journey – and it’s not just you. To quote the Verve, Infertility is a bittersweet symphony. It’s being hopeful and defeated. Fearful and courageous. Devasted and excited. It’s being angry and having faith. Jealousy and admiration. Sadness and beauty. It’s the culmination of all of these.
Please stop punishing yourself for feeling all of these things. While it’s exhausting, we need all of that to drive us on.
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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