How can you stop struggling with infertility and get relief?Aug 09, 2021
When I look back on the 7-years I spent trying to create my family, the one word that comes to mind to describe everything that was going on inside me was STRUGGLE.
There was inner turmoil and conflict and shame. And it kept bouncing around inside me with zero chance of escaping, because I was pretending so damn hard to be ok. To force things I didn’t feel. To get back to the person I once was. To keep pushing forward at all costs.
And I’m sure I’m not alone. One of the first questions I ask my clients when we start our coaching is “How do you want to FEEL?”. And the most popular answer is……AT PEACE.
So how do we get to this state turmoil in the first place?
Firstly, we get so caught up in what we feel we SHOULD be doing, that we wake up one day and don’t recognize the person we are, and the life we’re living.
It’s a constant struggle where we fight our emotions, our thoughts, our beliefs and our values…..always trying to do what is considered “right”. We’re told to be positive and grateful and hopeful. To put others first, be loyal, and strong and do your best at all times.
We’re constantly trying to explain why this hurts so much, why we can’t move forward, why we don’t want to go to the baby shower, why we shouted at our partner or best friend. But sometimes we don’t even know ourselves why.
We betray ourselves so often – saying we’re happy for others when we want to run and cry a thousand tears, saying we’re ok when we’re about to break in two.
Life is hard enough. Infertility is hard enough. Without the extra expectations – or impossible expectations we place on ourselves.
So, I am going to give you permission to stop the struggle today – to drop that rope you’ve been playing tug of war with yourself for so long. To not do ALL the things. To stop striving for perfection.
Here are a few things IT IS OK to do……
It is ok to miss the innocent person you once were. That woman who thought that having unprotected sex meant she would get pregnant. That woman who thought that getting a positive pregnancy test would result in a baby. That woman who thought that a baby would erase years of infertility and previous losses. It is ok to mourn her and wish that life was still as carefree as it once was.
It is ok to not know who you are anymore. In fact, that can be a good thing. Because when you know exactly who you are, it limits you. And this journey is full of growth. If we don’t grow, we stay stuck where we are. And if you know who you are today, you may not know her tomorrow. And that’s ok too. What is important is that we stop trying to get back to that woman we once were. She no longer exists. And while you can mourn her innocence, do not forget to see the warrior that is in her place. Who has walked through fire, been knocked to the ground, and gets back up every single time.
It is ok to want more. It does not make you ungrateful. I remember when our first baby was born via a surrogate, after 5 years of struggles. There was that voice inside me that wished that I was carrying my own baby. And I felt guilty about it. After that, I wished I had another baby. And I felt guilty about it. I didn’t realise that you could be grateful and want more at the same time. But you can. It is your right to want more and to wish things were different. You deserve more.
It is ok to change your mind. That shows growth and understanding. And because YOU are changing, it is understandable that you will not have the same opinion that you used to before you embarked on this path. I used to think that everything happened for a reason. I said it repeatedly. But infertility made me change my mind about that. Because we don’t deserve this – there is no reason that warrants why some can and some struggle. It doesn’t mean you were wrong, it means you have changed.
It is ok to make mistakes. We all do. The realisation that no one is perfect, no matter how much it looks like it, is liberating. I remember sitting in our first IVF clinic so many years ago. I was naïve and thought that IVF was the one stop solution to infertility. It is ok to have regrets. But there is no need to punish yourself for past decisions. We are all making the best decisions we can, based on the information we have at the time. No one has a crystal ball. While I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, I DO believe there is a lesson. We can’t grow unless we fail, learn, pivot, fail, learn and pivot….and repeat.
It is ok to disagree with each other. We all have different upbringings and beliefs. Our journey to get here has been different, our experiences are different, which means that our perspective is different. It would be a surprise if we all agreed. There doesn’t have to be a right way and a wrong way. Choose your way and allow others to have their way. We do not need to change other people’s views or opinions to reflect our own. Sometimes things are not black and white. What I have learned about infertility, is that there are varying shades of grey.
It is ok to be scared of getting pregnant. Whether you’ve had a previous loss, or have fears of becoming a mother, that’s ok. It is completely normal to be scared.
It is ok if people don’t know how infertility feels. This is not a journey we would wish on our own worst enemy, and I believe that unless you have lived with infertility you will never truly understand it. Which is why trying to explain your reactions and how you feel to those around you can sometimes be pointless. If you’re trying to prove that this hurts, you can stop…..it does hurt. If you’re trying to convince them that this is hard, you can stop…..it is hard. There is no need to waste your energy trying to feel validated. It is hard.
It is ok to feel sad when others get pregnant before you. To wish that it was you and wonder why you aren’t, when you’re doing EVERYTHING you can think of to make it happen. It is ok when someone else’s happiness causes you pain. It does not mean you are a bad person, it means you’re human.
It is ok to unfollow, mute or set boundaries for loved ones. It is also ok to mourn the friendships you had, and the people you had to say goodbye to because of this journey. This is a tough season, so you need to protect yourself at all costs.
It is ok to be scared that this will all be for nothing.
It is ok to NOT feel hopeful or positive all the time.
It is ok to feel more fear than excitement when you actually DO get pregnant.
It is ok to feel like you don’t belong.
It is ok to ask for help.
It is ok to cry, scream and hate this journey.
It is ok to feel ALL of this at the same time.
IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK.
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