The power of CHOICE in your fertility journey
I come from a family of Fertile Myrtles. We assumed I would be too. When my husband and I got married we were extra careful to prevent pregnancy until we were absolutely, 100% ready. Three years and two lost pregnancies later, this has been an experience that we never expected, never wanted, and really didn’t know how to navigate when started out.
I haven’t shared much of my personal fertility journey with you, even though I work with fertility clients. A few weeks ago I was messaging with a friend about pregnancy jealousy and realized just how much I’ve learned and experienced during this journey that has made me a stronger, calmer, even more trusting person. I want to share those lessons with you.
Today I want to talk about the power of choice.
This is going to be especially helpful to you if you feel like you have no control over what’s happening.
What I’ve observed in myself and in conversations with my clients is that you might not realize you’re believing you don’t have control over the situation.
There a three big ways that feeling not in control shows up in life.
This might show up for you if you frequently trying things but not following through. Like if you tried keto for a couple weeks and stopped. The thought behind that is usually that you don’t believe that you have any real control over the outcome.
It could also be showing up as blaming your genetics. If you often refer to family members that also had fertility issues, that is a form of saying it’s just destiny and there’s nothing you can do about it. You have no control.
It can also show up as giving up before you’ve tried. For example if a friend says they’re going to do a Whole30 and your first reaction is Oh I could never do that, that sounds awful. That’s giving up before you’ve tried, with the underlying belief that you don’t have control over the situation to make it fun and enjoyable, and if you believe that about one thing it’s probably seeping in to a lot other situations around your health and fertility.
My journey so far
After my second miscarriage at the end of 2017, I was still in my nutrition training at the time, I was devastated, I was depressed, it was hard to think about anything else. My fertility had completely taken over my thoughts. And I was definitely believing that it was out of my control. There was nothing I could do.
The great thing about human brains is that we have the ability to think about what we’re thinking about. At the time I was learning a lot of the coaching tools that I now use with my clients to help them through these issues.
One of the things I teach them is to ask yourself what you’re making something mean. This is extremely hard to do right after something traumatic happens. Everything I’m sharing I want to add the caveat to be gentle with yourself and if you’re not ready to look at the situation in this context yet, thats fine. It was probably 4-5 months after my miscarriage that I was in a place where I could look objectively at my thoughts about the situation.
When I did that, I asked myself what I was making the miscarriage mean. You can plug in whatever your situation is as you’re thinking about this for yourself, what are you making your infertility mean? What are you making your PCOS diagnosis mean?
I was making my miscarriage mean that I wasn’t going to have kids. That something was wrong and I’d never have kids.
What’s so fascinating is that those words were not the words circulating in my thoughts. This event had completely taking over my thoughts but I had never thought the sentence “I’m not going to be able to have kids.” The words actually going through my head during those months were “why did this happen” “this shouldn’t have happened” “I don’t know what to do”. That’s what’s powerful about asking yourself questions about what you’re thinking is it often reveals the true thought. The thought behind all of my questions was “I’m not going to be able to have kids”.
Once I realized that, I saw immediately how the thought was creating all of the awful emotions I was experiencing. Of course I was depressed. Of course I felt powerless and not in control. My brain was believing that this miscarriage meant that I couldn’t have kids. Ever. At all. No matter what. Aren’t brains crazy?!
So once you see what you’re making the situation mean, you can ask yourself if it’s true.
And as soon as I asked that question I felt a million times better. Because it wasn’t true. It objectively is not true. And then I listed off all of the ways that wasn’t true. We could keep trying, plenty of people have miscariages and full term pregnancies, a miscarriage doens’t determine what will happen in the future. I could do IUI or IVF. I could adopt. I could become a foster parent. That thought was fascinating. So I googled, how long does it take to become a foster parent. 3-6 months. We could have a child in our home that we could love and care for in 3-6 months. Guaranteed.
As soon as I saw that the thought, I’m never going to have kids, wasn’t true, it was like night and day. I could focus on other things without thinking about my fertility, where I was in my cycle, any of that. I let myself relax and enjoy things again. I wasn’t depressed at all. It was night and day from just seeing what was really happening with my thoughts. J
So, now I had a list of ways that I could have kids. And this gave me choice. In a situation that I didn’t choose. In a situation that felt completely out of my control. I had the power to choose. And that gave me my autonomy back. I wasn’t at the mercy of this experience. I was a participant with the ability change the experience.
The power of choice
And now, what ever path I chose, my mood and tone and the way it impacts our life is completely different. I’ve seen people choose IVF but go through the process dreading every minute, feeling like their body is broken and it’s not going to work and they’re hopeless. And I’ve seen people go through IVF excited to become a parent, feeling proud of how diligent they’ve been with their medication and injections. Even if the result is the same, it’s successful or not. Those two women had completely different experience. One felt forced, the other felt powerful. How do you think both of those scenarios affected the way they viewed themselves, they way they interact with their spouse, the thoughts going through their mind while they lay in bed at night.
Finding out your choices and choosing them on purpose makes all the difference. Choose and love your reason for making that choice. If you decide to do IVF, why, and do you love that reason? If you decide to adopt, why, and do you love your reason? If you decide to keep trying naturally, why, and do you love your reason?
I love my reason. We are continuing to try naturally because I believe that fertility is an inherent part of being a human and if we’re struggling, there’s a reason, and finding out what that reason is and addressing it is going to make us so much healthier and our children so much healthier and their children so much healthier. So that if I have daughters they wont have the painful periods that I did growing up, and that my mom did. I can end the generational cycle of painful periods. That’s exciting. I love that reason.
So any time it gets difficult, that I feel like we should be making faster progress, that it should have happened by now. I remember that I get to choose which route we take. And I can change my mind at any time. I can do something different or a bunch of things at once. We can adopt and keep trying naturally. We can do IVF and become foster parents. Whatever we want. So far, I choose the natural route every time. Someday in the future I might make a different choice. But I’ll love my reason and I’ll have so much gratitude for everything I’ve learned from the path that I had been on.
I hope that was helpful, if you’ve been feeling like this is all happening to you and you have no control. Find the things you do have control over. Next week I’m going to share how to handle pregnancy jealousy in way that stops the sadness and jealousy actually fuels your belief in yourself instead. So tune in for that, Mondays at 11:30 central time.
And if this message resonated with you and your curious about working together you can schedule a call with me to talk about how nutritional therapy and mindset work can help you.