Anxiety, shame and guilt are feelings I have battled with on my fertility journey.
Anxiety overwhelms the infertile mild. It leads you racing to figure out what you can do better next month, or reviewing what you did last month over and over again. Anxiety makes you strive for control in a situation that is beyond your control. It’s the ultimate path to insanity.
Shame appears when you have to explain that you are doing fertility treatment because something is wrong with your inherited ability to pro-create. It’s even worse when there is no official diagnosis.
Shame comes into play when people ask “why”. The shame lies in the blame. Is it him or is it you? Do you even know how to conceive? Maybe you just need to relax!
Guilt stems from both shame and anxiety. You feel guilty for being ashamed of something you would never choose and can’t change. You feel guilty for blaming him or yourself or your genes or even God.
You attempt to ease your anxiety by identifying your needs and setting boundaries. You take the first step towards progress and they all don’t understand why you are being so selfish. Guilt steps back in.
You take the supplements, eat the diet, practice yoga, and meditate. Once in a while, you take a break. You give into that bite of chocolate or that glass of wine. You take a few days off of exercise.
You let the anxiety creep back in. You feel ashamed that you didn’t stick to the program. You feel guilty that your actions may impact your outcome. The cycle begins again.
Add pregnancy loss for a significantly more complicated equation. Intensify those feelings x1000, then intensify them again by 1,000,000. Add sorrow and grief to the mix. A real recipe for disaster.
Then, take a step back. Toss those demons aside. Throw them in a fire. Stomp them with your feet. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are human.
You are doing the best you can do – for yourself, your husband and your future children.
Infertility is beyond your control. You are being pro-active in managing the aspects of your lifestyle that are under your control.
You can do this no matter how hard each day seems.
You are strong.
You are capable.
You are almost there.
You got this.