Infertility Won't Define Me: Making It Stick
Now that you have given yourself some baby news triage and you've screamed "infertility won't define me" from the top of your lungs, it's time to make this your truth, permanently. Anyone can chant a mantra for a while and pretend to feel better, but that's not what this is about. We are talking real, forever and ever, change. When you do this work, you turn a corner, and are on the road to making your life extraordinary, baby bump or not.
Chances are, before you started on the infertility odyssey, life was good. You had a great, reasonably low stress relationship with your partner. You had done a few things that you were proud of. All was (for the most part) quiet on the western front. The fertility journey has a way of flinging hot turds in the direction of your relative peace, causing you to forget about all of that . It can swallow your life up in one lip smacking bite. So, making the work you are doing now stick, requires you to get into hard core reclaim mode.
Here's where you will start:
Take an inventory of your life outside of the realm of infertility. GO DEEP. Where do you honestly stand when it comes to:
- Your Partnership--things still good, or seeming more like fertility treatment roadkill?
- Spirituality--prayed about anything other than a baby lately?
- Family--when was the last time you connected? (This assumes a lot, I know...)
- Friends--have you hung out recently? Has your convo been limited to your baby mission?
- Career--are you even aware of what's going on? Have you discovered that you hate your work?
- Exercise--how are you burning off the stress?
- Hobbies--where are your healthy distractions?
- Pets--is your dog growling at you because they don't recognize the hot mess you've become?
Love Your Life As It Is Now
My guess is that after doing an inventory of your life, you've got some damn cool people and things in it. Living solely for what may or may not happen in the future is for suckers. Quit acting like your time with the people and things you love is infinite. It's not. Visit family. Spend time with friends. Partake in the hobbies you love--find new ones! Date the hell out of your partner. Renew your faith. Take a trip. This does not mean you give up your hopes for a baby, not a chance! It means that when your baby comes (by whatever means), that child will be coming into a life that is bursting at it's seams with joy, fulfillment, and peace. Not one that is broken, fatigued, and bitter. Keep your eye on the long game.
When you absolutely love your life to pieces, you stop comparing yourself with others, the negative chatter quiets down, and you can genuinely smile at other people's good fortune (i.e. the end of Bump Hate.) Give yourself the chance to feel this!
Remember, while others may seem to "have it all," it's likely that you really don't know the truth about their life and what they have gone (or are going) through. Everyone has a cross to bear. Everyone. So next time you are tempted to hurl a little hate in the direction of someone's pregnant belly, check yourself.
If you lived your life like a Veruka Salt thus far, I bet getting knocked around by infertility taught you a lesson. Before your feet hit the ground, as you get out of bed in the morning, you'd better be able to recite 3 things for which you are grateful. Make this your habit. The worse you feel, the simpler you make it. You may be shouting, " my life f'ing sucks!" If that's the case, start with being grateful that you still have a voice with which to shout your cathartic obscenity. Be thankful for your cool sheets, for the fact your partner hasn't crippled you by hitting your sciatic nerve with a progesterone shot, and for the blessing of even having the financial means to seek fertility treatment.
Practice Means Progress
Infertility leaves an indelible mark on your life, even if you get pregnant and give birth some day. You get acquainted with a unique longing and feeling of loss, known only to anyone you can tell you exactly what IVF, IUI, HCG, HSG, and ICSI stand for without missing a beat. This journey is insurance that the inane words, "so when are you guys having kids," will never pass your lips!
I'm not going to heap some unattainable standard on you by claiming that getting pregnancy announcements or baby shower invites will ever have you leaping for joy (unless of course it's your own). When you have shown yourself the kindness of some desperately needed triage, you've chosen not to be defined by infertility, and you commit to loving your life as it is now, I promise it won't hurt half as bad as it used to. When you get really good at this, you'll barely flinch.
Each of us has a choice. You can choose to allow infertility to keep it's muddy boot on your neck, or you can stand up, give it a 300 kick, and declare that you will never be a prisoner to fear, self hatred, and jealousy ever again. Give it a shot.
Are you committed to taking the sting out of pregnancy news and baby showers??
Leave me a comment below!
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With Love and Respect,
© 2014 From Maybe To Baby