I am excited to share that I have written two chapters for a fabulous new book series called, You’ve Got This, Mama. This brilliant new series was created as a Virtual Village to support all the Mamas (and Mamas to be) out there. I hope you enjoy this brief excerpt from the first chapter about my own journey entitled, Follow Your Dreams – They Know the Way.
More pregnant friends. More people I never want to see again. I can avoid them for life, right? Baby showers. Baby talk. Tears. Girls’ nights with pregnancy announcements. Pregnancy tests literally being thrown around at girls’ nights. I can’t handle this. I want to hide. I am so overwhelmed with frustration, anger, resentment and jealousy. I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to socialize because I have to be as healthy as possible. I wish I was invisible. Why can’t I just make this happen? What is wrong with me? In addition to all of these dark thoughts, one of the most difficult parts of my journey was that none of the doctors could give us a reason for our infertility struggles. It became maddening to be told everything was ‘normal’ or ‘great’ - so why wasn’t I pregnant?
The second chapter is more from an academic perspective on the role of self-compassion in coping with fertility struggles. Entitled, Being Kind to Yourself During the Most Difficult Time of Your Life, I describe how my practice helped me to cope.
When I was struggling to get pregnant, I often would think what is wrong with me? Why won’t my stupid body just get pregnant? I’m not good enough to become a mother. When you write it down and reflect on it, you can see how these thoughts are unlikely to be helpful when going through a difficult time. As I began to practice self-compassion, I began with simply acknowledging when these thoughts would go through my head, placing my hands over my heart, taking a deep breath, and saying to myself: struggling with fertility is incredibly difficult. You are justified in feeling sad, mad, frustrated and jealous. Try to remember that other people have felt this way too, millions of women all over the world have struggled with fertility issues as well. I’m here for you, I love you and I don’t want you to suffer. This affirmation encompasses all three components – being kind to myself, common humanity, and being mindful. A shorter mantra that I often used was: this is all part of MY journey, everyone has a different journey in life, and for some reason, fertility struggles are part of mine.
If there are any words of wisdom that I can leave you with at this point in my journey, they would be to be kind and loving with yourself when you are struggling and to be an advocate for yourself. Everyone’s journey is unique.