How do you stay positive and hopeful while going through infertility?Jun 21, 2021
If you’ve ever asked, HOW DO I STAY POSITIVE WHILE GOING THROUGH INFERTILITY? or HOW DO I MAINTAIN HOPE AFTER ALL THE DISAPPOINTMENTS? you’re not alone. I get asked this question ALL the time.
Struggling with infertility is an ongoing battle. They don’t call it a rollercoaster for nothing!
Between IVF cycles, miscarriages and pregnancy announcements, there are flickering moments of joy – healthy embryo’s, a positive pregnancy test, or being matched with a surrogate. You bounce between excitement and disappointment, hopeful and heartbreak.
Before I give you the answer you’ve been searching for, I want to clarify something and set your expectations up front.
STAYING positive and hopeful ALL the time is impossible. It’s like striving for perfection – it’s a unicorn and doesn’t exist. It’s our Instagram highlight reel, not our everyday reality.
Our emotions are transient. Which means that they come and they go. The good news is that if you’re feeling deflated or hopeless, it won’t last forever. The bad news is that you can’t feel hopeful and positive all the time.
Like anything, this is a balance.
But if you’re at the stage where you’re living inside negativity and feeling discouraged by everything ALL THE TIME, there IS a way you can experience the other side too.
The next disclaimer I’d like to give is about toxic positivity. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a bit of a buzz word or concept at the moment. Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how difficult a situation is, you should maintain a positive mindset.
THIS is why we feel guilty for NOT being grateful. It’s why everyone keeps telling us to “just be positive” and it will happen. And it’s also why we push down our emotions, and rank our pain. How many times have you said to yourself “other people have it worse – I should be thankful”? THIS is toxic.
So, we push the positivity button and we live our lives in this false positive state. Where our insides don’t reflect our outsides. The battle begins.
There were so many times on my fertility journey that I was asked if I was ok, or asked how we were going with our treatments. And instead of telling people the truth – that we were in significant pain and living in fear, I swallowed it down and told people we were trying to stay positive and were grateful that we had the funds to do IVF and surrogacy.
I was betraying myself, because it had been drummed into me since I was little, that I shouldn’t whine. That I should be positive. Plus, I was afraid that if I wasn’t positive, I would attract failure – and THAT would be the cause of it not working and me never becoming a mother.
What I have learned is that it is important to feel both the positive and the negative AND speak your truth. Otherwise, how will anyone know that you need help or support?
The emotions we deal with on this journey are heavy. And if we keep blocking them and pushing them down, they won’t go away. I know this from personal experience!
Those emotions compress and multiply and fester. The result is a deep, constant feeling of sadness. So, it’s important that we don’t block the negative emotions. We create space for both. We acknowledge the jealousy, the anger, the grief, the sadness, and the heartbreak. And we also cultivate and grow our positivity and hope……but in a healthy and genuine way.
So………HOW DO YOU CREATE POSITIVITY AND HOPE ON YOUR FERTILTY JOURNEY?
Firstly, if you’re waiting for hope or positivity to come to you, you may be waiting a long time. Unfortunately, crossing your fingers and hoping you feel hopeful and positive, isn’t going to do anything.
You need to create it. Grow it. Just like a garden. Plant the seed and water it. AND you need to maintain it - just like flowers in a garden, if you don’t water it constantly, it will wither and eventually die.
Perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but I’m going to simplify things for you. In order to cultivate hope and positivity, you need to take action. Yes, DO something……consistently.
I’ve listed below some suggestions – things that make ME feel positive. But you can create your own list too.
- Exercise and movement. For an instant and healthy boost, introduce regular exercise. It produces endorphins which are “feel-good” chemicals. Plus it’s really good for you!
- Random acts of kindness. Have you ever done something nice without expecting anything in return? Perhaps you let a car in at the traffic lights, or gave someone your change if they’re short at the grocery store? Even a smile at a stranger. Studies reveal that random acts of kindness release oxytocin and serotonin, which increases our self-esteem, optimism, makes you feel calmer, less depressed, and happier. Don’t believe me? Try it today!
- Gratitude practice. Developing a consistent gratitude practice can help change your focus from what you don’t have, to what you do have. Once again, this isn’t about blocking out the negative, but it’s making room for the positive at the same time. When you start practicing gratitude regularly, you tend to be more optimistic, happier, more resilient, less stressed, and it’s even been known to help you sleep better.
- Read inspirational quotes and books that give you hope. This journey has a way of creating a LOT of negative thoughts. Little seeds of doubt that are planted. Now, our minds are like filing cabinets – there isn’t a finite amount of space in there. So, we want to fill our minds with thoughts that lift us up, instead of drag us down.
- Mantras or affirmations. Every time an untrue thought comes up, try switching it out with an affirmation. The trick with affirmations is that you need to believe them. Otherwise, they’ll trigger your bullshit factor and you’ll just feel fake. So, create some thoughts that are positive and believable and keep repeating them. You can even write them on sticky notes around your house as a little reminder.
- Fresh air and nature. It’s simple, free and SO effective! I cannot stress the importance of getting out into nature and slowing down. Creating space for ALL the emotions that come up. And breathing it all in.
- Setting healthy boundaries. What are you consuming or letting into your life? It is ok to say no to the things that don’t make you feel good. That includes conversations with family or friends or going to that baby shower. It also includes social media. Feel free to take a break, or detox your feed. My motto is – if it’s not helpful, it’s harmful. Feel free to do some weeding and clear out the bits that are going to kill your flowers.
Simple right?! The next step is actually DOING those things consistently. Not just once until you feel better…… but over and over and over again. Regular maintenance of your garden is essential. This will prevent you from falling back into that hole of constant negativity and hopelessness.
So, there you have it.
Ways you can cultivate hope and positivity on your fertility journey.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to create hope and positivity on your journey? Feel free to email me at [email protected]
AND, if you’re looking for a book that will inspire the crap out of you and give you hope, try THE INJUSTICE OF INFERTILITY…..written by yours truly. A raw and honest account of my 7-year battle with infertility and path to parenthood. Here are a few things that have been said by those who have read it –
“Such an inspirational journey! Thank you so much for sharing with the world! It’s given me hope again.”
“It’s just what I needed to get my head ready for another frozen embryo transfer. Thanks for sharing your story.”
“Been reading your book and wow! I haven’t been able to put it down all week! Such an inspirational journey! Thank you so much for sharing with the world. It’s given me hope again.”
If you’d like to get your hands on a copy (or a free chapter), click HERE.
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