Letting go of the unhelpful thoughts throughout the fertility journey
The most common statement I hear from women who have been unable to conceive or keep a pregnancy to term is “I feel like this is my fault.” Our brains can’t tolerate feeling out of control.
So, when a circumstance comes our way that is lacking logic or reason to explain and define it, our brain creates its own story.
And all too often, that narrative reads that we are the ones to blame, or to be held responsible for the current situation. The ironic part is that this is meant to be a protective strategy, the brain acting on our behalf, but it actually hurts way more than it helps.
The good new is, we can do something about it. Our brains, while brilliant, can also be very simple. So when our thoughts start to do more harm than help, we can shift our thinking to work for us instead of against us.
The first step is to recognize the unhelpful thoughts and stop giving them life.
It is my fault.
I deserve this.
I’m not trying hard enough.
My body is a failure, it can’t even do what it was designed to do.
Even if I do get pregnant, I will have a miscarriage, or something terrible will happen to my child one day.
No one understands what I am going through.
Everyone else can get pregnant so easily, so what is wrong with me?
I don’t deserve these fertility resources, generations before me didn’t have this option and many people around the world still don’t.
Once they have been recognized, it is essential to replace these thoughts with words that are life giving.
It is not my fault.
I did nothing to deserve or cause this.
If there was something I could do to get pregnant right here and right now, I would do it.
Every unspeakable and horrible outcome I am imagining is not certain to be my future.
I am not alone, and I am not the only one to ever be going through this or to feel this way.
I do not need to feel guilty to have the privilege to have access to fertility treatments, and am grateful for that privilege.
Finally, a mantra can serve as an anchor to keep us connected to the helpful change in thinking.
I honor and acknowledge that my body is doing the best it can yesterday, today and each day to come.
I dare to have hope, because I do not know the future.
I have compassion for myself, for the pain that I feel and the strength I have to carry on.
I am many things, and I am not defined by my infertility.
I know my boundaries, and I am ok with taking a pause when it is needed.
I am thankful for my privilege and the resources I have.
One day at a time.
I reclaim trust in my body, and thank it for waking up today and getting me through my day.
Each woman should choose the mantra that resonates with her. Maybe it is one of the statements listed above, or perhaps you come up with the perfect set of words on your own. Maybe you have a unique mantra for each week and season of the journey, or perhaps you stick with the same one every day. Play around with it, and see what works best for you. The goal is to unearth the thoughts that are working against you, and take back the power of your narrative.
-Alisha Bowker, LCSW
To schedule an appointment with Alisha call 502-309-4699 or email firstname.lastname@example.org