When you are trying to conceive (TTC) it’s hard to manage the constant cycle of hope and despair. You want to stay positive while trying but then it’s crushing when you get a negative. It’s easy to get deflated, lose energy to keep going or simply feel tender and hurt. The ups and downs are especially hard to deal with because very few people understand what you are going through.
When I was in the position, I found it was easy to want to bury my head in the sand and stop trying. In some ways it felt easier to give up than to keep TTC. Even despite the incredible stress and difficulty, it’s important to stay connected to your dream of motherhood to keep you motivated and moving forward. Here are some ideas about how to “Keep on Carrying On.”
In order to deal with hope and despair when TTC, when emotions of sadness, disappointment and regret surface, return to the present by finding skeleton and the body. Stay present with sensations of body.
Notice the messages and stories you are telling yourself. Recognize them and try to return to neutrality of the body and present. Notice when you are getting ahead of yourself, worrying about future.
See if you can make a distinction between the emotions you are feeling and the thoughts, worries and stories that you are generating. Stay with the emotions and drop the stories as best you can. Try not to get ahead of yourself about what’s next, or what a certain cycles outcome means about the future. Stay present with the sensations and emotions. Not the fears, worries and concerns.
Stay Open To Possibility
Also notice when you are shutting down and refusing to look at options. I know for me when things felt devastating, my first reaction was to shut down. I refused to keep generating ideas or options. I erected a wall and refuse to look behind it. If at all possible, notice when you are refusing to stay open to options. Look for times when you create an absolute or other barrier. Ask friends for gentle support to keep yourself in conversation about what’s possible. Try to google the topic and see what’s possible or how other people have dealt with similar concerns. Reach out to your support network or this group for help processing concerns and to gently nudge you to keep looking.
Finally make sure you have a support system. Be brutal about who you involve. For example, if your parents or friends project their own concerns onto you when you are already stressed, be vigilant about giving them as little information as possible. And make sure you have a trusted friend, mentor, advisor etc that can listen to you without projecting anything onto you. Don’t be afraid to coach them about how to best support you. Some ideas of things to tell people who want to support you:
* Don’t tell me it’s going to be ok
* Just listen
* Don’t ask for updates, I will tell you when I have something to report
*Please be mindful of projecting your own concerns onto me
Here’s a good article about how people can support you http://pregnantish.com/how-friends-family-can-support-people-going-through-infertility/
Remember it’s vital that you ask people for the support you need and if necessary it’s ok, to “coach” your support people in order to get the support you need.
Stay Open To The Mystery, Finding Life Lessons
I would also invite you to open to the mysteriously unfolding nature of your path. You don’t know how it ends. Can you stay open to the twists and turns, the disappointments and triumphs? In each can you find a lesson that will help transform you into the best mother you can be? I felt better able to deal with the often times harsh circumstances of my path, when I could think about what lesson there was to learn within it. How could I turn this into something that would help me let go of something I didn’t want to hold onto as a mother?
In addition, I tried to stay connected to the love I wanted to feel as a mother while opening to whatever was trying to unfold. When things weren’t going as planned, could I take a step back and examine in what ways I was trying to force a certain path. Was there another path that was easier if I could open my mind to a different possibility? When was I staying attached to something that was requiring brute force to make it happen? And in contrast, was there an easier way?
It was never an easy question. But I often felt a sense of relief when I finally had the courage to ask myself this question and re-adjust the plan.
Above all, remember that TTC is hard. I think it was one of the most stressful times of my life. Hang in there and be kind to yourself.