If you ask people struggling with fertility what their real goals are, it’s always a simple answer… To get pregnant and have a baby.
What is your five-year plan? To have a baby.
What was your goal last year? To have a baby. Stop asking about my goals.
And whatever you do, don’t give me advice or a quick fix solution. We’re good.
More than just an unmet goal, having a family is a dream for those struggling with fertility. As many of us have faced, getting that positive pregnancy test and having a successful healthy pregnancy are goals that often slip through our fingers of control. Yet we strive forward anyhow, attempt after attempt, despite the hardship and pain this journey can bring. And why do we keep going? Because we are strong enough to. Because we believe it’s possible.
More than goals related to increasing your health and fertility, goals can help you transform your life by giving you courage to keep going, bounce back from the pain of a pregnancy failure or loss, and empower you to take this journey another step further. Most importantly goals can help move you forward from a place of feeling stuck, instead tapping into aspects that can bring lightness back into your heart and life, perhaps bring the spark back or restore hope…
Here are 5 guidelines that may help bring transformation into your life and new energy into your fertility journey:
1. Joy - When facing hardship, we can get into a state of depriving ourselves. Strangely enough its often things we need, like joy, adventure and laughter. Ask yourself what would bring more joy into your life? We each have our list, but when’s the last time you remember engaging in joyful activities, conversations, unproductive fun and actually feeling it in the moment? If your pausing here because you’re thinking, that means your due for an infusion.
2. Eliminate what depletes you - Create a goal that eliminates an aspect in your life that depletes your energy, body, or spirit. This often means exploring what’s draining your joy. Perhaps it’s time to look at changing your routines, simplifying your life or taking space from relationships, people or obligations that aren’t serving you. And when ‘taking space’ is not possible? Emotionally take a step back. Invest in you and decide how you want to think and feel, not how that situation, person or aspect makes you feel.
3. Feed your heart - Explore what would bring more love, compassion and affection into your life. Let yourself love those around you and let yourself be cared for, loved, held, appreciated. Depriving oneself of love is like committing to the hardship instead of thriving despite of it.
For many going through fertility struggles, there comes with it a survival mode of ‘just keep going’ and ‘I’m okay’, but over time many lose the spark they had for life. The cure? Nurture yourself. Feed your body, your spirit, your mind. Be honest with yourself and how this journey makes you feel at times. Find ways to be gentle with yourself and those around you. Locate that funny bone or find adventure…
4. Make room for you - On top of continuing your regular life and obligations, you have taken on a second challenging job, making a baby that is struggling to be ‘made’. On top of countless medical appointments, you are also dealing with the fertility struggle that plays out in your mind and heart. So create more space in your life for you, and for those who want to spend time with. You don’t have to give all your time away and you don’t have to hide either.
5. Stop punishing ourselves - I strongly encourage people facing fertility struggles to consider making a goal to stop overdoing it in their life or creating so many commitments that it’s dizzying. Let go of doubting yourself, or turning yourself inside out and overextending trying to make a baby or gain fertility. You are enough and you’re doing the best you can. Maybe take a moment and take in what you have made it through, and what that means you’re capable of. We are the heroes of our own lives.
All my best,
Jessi Nesbitt, Registered Psychologist, M.Ed.
*Originally created for Y.A.N.A. Fertility Support Group in Saskatoon