I have to confess that in the early days of my journey, I developed an appetite for stories of "baby victory," from the fertility front lines. Whether in person or online, I hung on every word of each narrative as if it would be the golden ticket to navigating my own journey with ease. The problem was that no matter how comforting or inspiring someone else's story was, it provided me with no practical strategies for dealing with the fear and uncertainty that was kicking my ass.
Three years of treatment, tears, and tribulation led me to these uncertainty beating truths, which became my go-to strategies:
1) Uncertainty is Knocking, Let Her In
Uncertainty is inevitable. Instead of fighting her at every turn, invite her in for tea. Get to know her. Use her to your advantage
Start by acknowledging that uncertainty simply means that you don't know what's going to happen. That's all. If you find yourself wringing your hands and fearing the worst, ask yourself one question. Isn't it just as possible that things will be AWESOME? Yes, doctors can give you statistics, but those are just probabilities. They are not certainty. We can't be 100% certain of anything until it happens.
Why default to negativity in the face of uncertainty? Uncertainty = possibilities. As long as we have possibilities, we have every reason to hope.
2) Have An Answer For Your "What Ifs"
Tortured by what if? End it by answering the question. Get piece of paper. Get a pencil. Get to work.
Write out your scariest, most gut wrenching what ifs. Exorcise them from your mind. Trap them onto a piece of paper. They are way smaller than they seemed it your mind, right? They are just letters on the page. Now, answer the question. It could go something like this:
What if I don't get pregnant this time and have to spend another $10,000 (I don't have) trying again?
A: I will have to stop treatment till I have the money and that could be a while.
What if my partner is sick of being disappointed that we aren't pregnant and leaves me for someone more fertile?
A: I will have to deal with that rejection and start my plans for a family all over again.
What if the doctor tells me I have shitty eggs and I'm unlikely to get pregnant?
A: I will have to consider donor eggs, embryo adoption, or traditional adoption.
Your answers may have pushed you to the edge of your comfort zone as much as the questions. Practice this. Get more comfortable with calling out your "what ifs." It will get easier and more instinctual to shout back at them with remarkably empowering answers. You get to the point when you can smile and say, "oh shut the f&*$ up!"
3) Take Stock in What Is Certain
It may feel like nothing is certain, but look closer. Maybe it is the unflinching love of your partner. Perhaps it's the incredibly generous support network rooting for you. It may be your faith in something greater. Whatever brings you positive certainty in your life, take comfort in it and be grateful.
4) Cut Yourself Some Slack
We constantly ask ourselves if we are doing EVERYTHING in our power to wave our baby home. Throw out the unrealistic checklist you may have in your head. Trust that you will do/are doing whatever you physically, financially, and spiritually can do to bring your baby into your life. Have the courage to give yourself a break. Chances are, you desperately need it.
The only way to beat uncertainty at it's own game is to:
- Accept it with the expectation of AWESOME,
- Counter the "what ifs" with answers,
- Be grateful for what is certain, and
- Have faith that you are doing all that you can.
How Have You Dealt With Uncertainty On Your Journey?
Leave me a comment below sharing something you did to try and beat uncertainty at it's own game!
With Love and Respect,
© 2014 From Maybe To Baby