One of my biggest learnings happened in the middle of my infertility experience. Every month, my happiness became conditional on whether or not I was pregnant. I was like those women who live and die by the scale. If they lose weight, it’s a good day. If they don’t, they sink into a deep depression. That was me and pregnancy. All month long I lived on this conditional possibility of my own happiness. My happiness could only look one way, and that was not getting my period. That was a rough way to live.
Then in the middle of my great unhappiness came this next revelation: could I only be happy if everything always continued to look the way I expected it to look? Was there absolutely no room at all in my life for other kinds of happiness? Could I never enjoy other peoples’ children or go to a movie without thinking about pregnancy? Was there no possibility for happiness in anything other than a pregnancy?
I realized that I was living in the land of constant expectation. And that expectation set me up for pain, over and over again. It was a pretty miserable way to live.
I began to wonder if there were other ways to find this happiness and pleasure that I wanted in my life in between waiting for pregnancy to happen?
This is what I have found: conditional happiness was not a path to pleasure and well-being. I shifted my view because I started to realize that I was missing out on a lot of love, pleasure and joy with my current perspective. I was wasting a lot of really good living in my very narrow view of what would make me truly happy.
I began to REALLY live in a spirit of gratitude. Not just the words that sound so spiritual and new age. But really asking myself to be present to each moment of pleasure and happiness no matter how they looked. It takes work to do this, especially around finding my bliss in my second pick choices. Like, going to a bed and breakfast with my husband instead of announcing to my family that I was finally pregnant!
Often my thoughts would go to what I thought I truly wanted first, and then I would have to settle into what was in front of me. With some practice the process of being happy with my second pick was getting more delicious with each round.
It helped open a path filled with unexpected pleasures that I almost stomped away from in my anger over infertility. Silly me. Instead, I started to be filled with a new kind of peacefulness, that I highly recommend. Sure, I still wanted my babies. And they did come. The good news is that when they finally arrived, they came home to a woman that was more able to receive love than ever before.
How do you cope when you don’t get your first choice? Any ideas to share?
|Pamela Madsen was the first Executive Director of RESOLVE NYC and is the Founder of The American Fertility Association. Pamela is an internationally known fertility advocate who has appeared on Oprah and countless other major media outlets. Currently, Pamela is a fertility coach and publisher of The Fertility Advocate. She is also a blogger for Psychology Today and SpermCheck Fertility.