Letting go of self-blame on your fertility journey

Feb 19, 2024

Last week I wrote a blog on all the things we blame ourselves for, and why these things are not your fault. You can read the exhaustive (and exhausting) list HERE.

I think deep down we know we’re being unreasonable in our self-blame, and that the things we’re blaming ourselves for don’t actually make logical sense. But that doesn’t stop us. Letting go of guilt and responsibility can be hard. Because it also includes an element of letting go of control. And for those of you who thrive on control and certainty (like me), this may feel a little challenging.

So, this week is a follow up, with some practical ways you can reduce the amount of guilt and self-blame you’re piling on yourself, and start being kinder to yourself. Because it’s one thing for me to say “this is not your fault”, and it’s another thing for you to actually receive it, and take action to make changes in the way you view this, and yourself.  

How do you let go of self-blame on your fertility journey?

The first strategy you can use is the “alter-ego creation”. We all have that little voice in our head that tells us this is all our fault. It is critical, presumptuous, and let’s face it – it’s a real asshole. And for some reason, this voice is so much easier to believe than the one that says we are worthy, and that this is not our fault.

It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts. We run on auto-pilot for most of our day, and we live inside our heads a lot of the time too. And when you’re struggling with infertility, we tend to internalize a lot. Because most people won’t understand and we don’t want to be judged. So, this voice can become very familiar. But it is important to understand that you are not your thoughts. And a great way to separate ourselves from our thoughts is to create a character that those thoughts belong to.

I love doing this exercise with my clients, because it gives us a good laugh too.

Firstly, have a think about that voice in your head – the really mean and bitchy one. If they were real, and not just a voice inside your head, what would they look like? Is it a person, or a cartoon character? How would their voice sound? How tall are they? What are they wearing? Create a clear picture of what they look like. And most importantly, give them a name. Give them an identity of their own.

As an example, your voice could be called Gretchen. She’s a cranky old lady in her 50’s with a really bad perm, huge shoulder pads, and blue eye shadow. Picture someone you would NEVER believe, or listen to, if they had an opinion on what you were doing. Try to discredit them.

And now, whenever you hear that voice in your head, that isn’t you, it’s Gretchen. Tell Gretchen to pipe down and get back into her box. Remind yourself that the thoughts you are having aren’t yours, they are Gretchen’s thoughts. Which means that you don’t have to believe them. 

Another strategy you can use is to ask yourself some questions. A lot of the time, there is no logic to the things we are blaming ourselves for. 

We blame ourselves for not starting sooner, for not being more positive, for being too stressed, for taking the pill for too long, for having PCOS or endometriosis, for not getting enough sleep, for being overweight, for having that extra glass of wine, for not exercising enough, for exercising too much, for a pregnancy loss, for smoking or drinking too much when we were younger, for a previous termination. I could actually go on and on, however you get the picture.

Have a think about something you’re currently blaming yourself for, grab out your journal, and ask yourself these questions –

Did I do something to cause this?

Do I know with 100% certainty that things would be different, or that this is causing my fertility issues?

If I was talking to someone else who was blaming themselves for this; what would I say to them?

For example, if you’re blaming your fertility struggles on having endometriosis, this would allow you to realize that you did not do anything to cause your diagnosis (because there is no known cause or way to prevent it), you don’t know with 100% certainty that things would be any different if you didn’t have endometriosis, and if your friend was blaming herself because of this, you’d tell her that this is not her fault.

If you’re open to a little more exploration, I’d love you to ask yourself another question, however you may find yourself a little resistant to it at first.

What am I gaining from taking responsibility and blaming myself for this?

There is usually a reason why we blame ourselves and hold onto that guilt. And it normally relates to control and certainty. When we can’t break a thought pattern, it’s because we’re gaining something from it. So, let’s get honest. What are you gaining from holding onto this story?

For me, I held onto blame because I believed that everything happened for a reason (I don’t anymore). That if you were a good person, good things happened to you. And if you weren’t a good person…..karma was there to slap you down.  And if my fertility struggles weren’t because I took the pill for 15 years, smoked and drank too much in my 20’s, or because I waited too long, it took me to a darker place.

I thought to myself – if THIS is not the reason why, then what is? Which led me down that rabbit hole of…..maybe this is a sign that I’m not meant to be a mother (this is NOT the reason either). Or maybe it’s because I’m not worthy or would make a terrible mother.

When you can’t control the narrative, it throws everything we previously believed out the window. All of a sudden, we live in a world that isn’t fair, that isn’t based on effort and reward, and that we have zero control over.  And THAT is a hard pill to swallow.  

Letting go of self-blame can be a really difficult thing to do. No, it’s not just you.

But this journey is hard enough without blaming yourself for everything that is happening. And when we blame ourselves, we stay stuck. We stay inside the story we create. We are so busy pointing fingers and beating ourselves over the head, and looking backward, that we lose sight of what is more important. We go off the rails.

You cannot change the past, you can only learn from it. And while you keep blaming yourself, you’re not learning the lessons. You are worthy of compassion. This is not your fault. And hopefully now you can see why, and HOW you can break those unhealthy thought patterns.

If you’d like to start letting go of the things that you no longer need to carry, and start being kinder to yourself. If you’d like to get rid of those intrusive thoughts, and start moving forward instead of looking backward.

This is what you’ll get in my 1:1 coaching program. Email me at [email protected] to find out more.



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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It's no secret that stress can have a negative impact on your fertility.

That's why people keep telling you to "just relax", which is NOT helpful, and only fuels your stress.

But HOW do you reduce your stress, when infertility is stressing the heck out of you to begin with?

HOW do you slow down, feel at peace, achieve a little more balance in your life and say good bye to the inner struggle?


Download this free PDF for 3 simple hacks you can implement today to tip the scales in your favor.