This guest blog post is written by my dear friend, and fellow infertility warrior, Jennifer Locke.
When you’re struggling to have a baby, each day presents a multitude of questions with no answers in sight.
When will I get pregnant? How will I get pregnant? How old will I be? Is anybody I know pregnant? What if they blindside me with their news and I’m not ready? Who can I talk to about this? What if that person gets pregnant?
And on and on it goes.
When you’re adrift in the tides of infertility, each unknowable question can feel like a wave carrying you further and further from shore. Some days you lose sight of land entirely. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are three tips for living well when wading through the waters of infertility so that, even on the worst days, you can stay rooted to solid ground.
- Be Open
If you want to know the single most comforting thing I heard in the years I was trying to have a baby, here it is: If the thing you want more than anything else is a child, you will get a child.
The important thing is to be open as to the how that child will come into your life. Natural pregnancy? Adoption? IVF? Surrogacy? Don’t set limits as to how the universe will provide.
Of course, be prudent. I’m not advising anyone take on massive credit card debt (spoiler alert: kids, when they come, are expensive, too). I am advising following the leanings of your heart and, if necessary, taking a leap. There may be wonderful surprises in store.
- Fiercely Protect Your Joy
Learn to recognize the things that are filling you up and the things that are draining you. Feeling overwhelmed with anxiety? Time to breathe and take yourself out for some fresh air. Have a panic attack every time you get on Facebook because another friend has announced a pregnancy? De-activate your account. (It can be done. The world will keep spinning).
Learn to continually ask yourself the question: is this activity bringing me happiness? If it’s not, stop it.
Take a walk. Browse a local bookstore. See that movie you’ve been hearing about. Knit. What are the things you enjoy doing that make you you? Make a list; try to think of at least 20 things. Now you have 20 choices of things to do the next time you feel yourself slipping away.
- Find a Helpful Mantra
The bad news is that when you’re struggling to have a baby, absolutely everything feels uncertain. Time for some more bad news: things can feel just as uncertain once you have children. That is the nature of the world; nothing is a given. There will never be a magical place at which you arrive where things are, suddenly, “all good.”
The good news? Learning to cope with the uncertainty of infertility can help you deal with the ambiguity of the rest of life. If you don’t have a steadying mantra, now’s a great time to claim one. Try these on for size:
“I welcome miracles into my life.”
“Everything is possible.”
Or my personal favorite: “The divine plan of goodness is unfolding.”
A good mantra can return you to yourself. And that will only help you in the long run–moment by moment, day by day, with whatever struggles and joys life presents.
Even if it sounds unbelievable, there are blessings to be had in this time. It will not last forever. (Really. It won’t.) Pay attention to what this period of infertility is teaching you; it will make you a better parent to some lucky child one day.
It’s just a matter of time.
Jennifer Locke is a freelance writer living in Dallas. You can find her at jenniferlockewrites.com, reading, or wrangling her toddler twin girls.