I have become aware of how much fear is present in women who are undergoing infertility treatments. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate fear from anxiety or worry, but I think there are some clear differences. Many women say: “If I fear the worst will happen and expect the worst, then if it happens, I already expected it so the bad news will be easier to manage.” In fact, I have never found this to be true.
What my clients have taught me, as well as what I have experienced in my own personal life, is that when our lives do not unfold as we had hoped they would, we always feel sadness, disappointment, and sometimes anger. Even if we have assumed and prepared for the worst outcome, the end result is that the sadness, the disappointment, and the anger are always the same.
Let’s take the example of preparing for a new in vitro fertilization cycle. If you begin the cycle assuming that you will be protecting yourself by believing the cycle probably won’t be successful, it is highly likely that you will feel emotionally drained and negative each day of the cycle. Those negative thoughts really do take a toll on you emotionally, as well as physically. You will feel much better during the cycle if you have the belief and the hope that your cycle will end in a successful pregnancy.
Even though you know the statistical success rates for your cycle, you really don’t know what the outcome of the cycle will be or which end of the success rates your cycle will be. It is a really good feeling to be hopeful and positive during the IVF cycle. You just feel better. If your cycle is cancelled for some reason, or if your pregnancy test results are negative, of course you will feel sad disappointed and maybe angry. There really is no shield or protection from these feelings. The sad feelings will linger for several days, and they will begin to leave when they are ready.
The truth is that women who are in treatment for infertility are afraid that they will not be a mother one day. They are afraid that their treatment will not be successful, that their pregnancy will not result in a full term delivery, or they will not live the dream of parenting. I actually don’t know anyone who sets out to be a mother who has not been able to achieve this dream. The dream may not unfold in the way that you initially envisioned it unfolding, but there will be a path that is exactly right for you.
Begin each day with a sense of hope that you will be a mother. Remind yourself that this journey, and this dream, will come to pass. Exactly when and how this occurs is unknown at this moment, but stay the course and keep the faith that your dream of becoming a mother will happen exactly when and how it is supposed to.
Notice where in your body you feel the hope, and bring your awareness to this place of hope throughout the day. Before going to bed at night, acknowledge and connect with your place of hope, and you will find that you will sleep more peacefully. When you begin to live in a place of hope, your fears become less real (you made them up anyway) and less important. Hope and fear do not coexist equally, and when hope becomes your truth and your reality, there is little space for fear.
Hope is a way of thinking, a belief system, and an inner knowing. When we enter any new important time or event in our lives with hope, life is more enjoyable, happy, and peaceful. You may want to do an experiment for the next two weeks and pay close attention to your thoughts, your beliefs, your feelings, and your physical well-being when you live in a place of hope rather than fear. This is a positive and powerful approach to your fertility treatment.