How to Find Hope During Infertility
It’s hard to continually feel hopeful on your long fertility journey when you deal with monthly disappointment and heartbreak. How can you find hope during infertility and fertility treatments?
According to Brené Brown’s book, Atlas of the Heart, there are three Ps that make you feel hopeless:
We need to learn how to flip these three hope inhibitors in order to find more hope on a long fertility journey.
Hope Inhibitor #1: Personalization
To combat personalization, you need to accept that you don’t have control over everything. When you surrender control, you release blame and guilt.
For example, you are feeling hopeless because your egg count is low, and you think that this means that you will never be able to conceive. When you accept that there is nothing you can do to control your egg count, you can stop blaming yourself.
You start to find hope during infertility when you focus on the things you actually have control over.
Unfortunately, you can’t control your age or if your eggs fertilize. However, you do have control over who you ask for support, what you eat, how you move your body, and the habits you practice.
Hope Inhibitor #2: Permanence
The fact is that emotions are temporary. This fertility journey you’re on may be long, but it’s a season in your life, and it will not last forever.
In mindfulness, we practice the idea of impermanence. You can handle the tough times, and the negative emotions BECAUSE you know that they are temporary.
You cultivate hope when you realize that you will not feel like this forever. There will again be a time when you laugh and feel joy and connection.
Hope Inhibitor #3: Pervasiveness
It’s normal to feel like this part of your life has “taken you over” or that you don’t feel like yourself anymore – and this can lead to hopelessness.
You find hope during infertility when you remind yourself of the parts of you that have not changed. It can be something little. For example, I still love watching musicals – infertility has not ruined that for me.
Brené Brown also distinguishes hope as a cognitive process, not an emotion. It’s not a lovely feeling, but a way of thinking that makes you feel more resilient.
Hope makes you feel like you can handle what is going to be thrown your way, and that things will turn out.
She says that to feel more hopeful (to feel less hopeless), you need to work towards realistic goals, and you need to believe that you can achieve them.
Getting pregnant is not a realistic goal, because you don’t have control over so many of the factors that play into it. No matter how much hard work you put in, you may not get the result you want.
Remember that being able to be hopeful requires you to believe that you can achieve your realistic goal.
I switched my goal to “I will be kinder to myself”. Now there’s a goal that I can actually work towards, that I have control over, and that I believe I can achieve.
What could your goal be?
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