I remember looking back at my infertility journey a few years in and wondering who I am. Who had I become? How had I changed so much that I don’t recognize the woman staring back at me?
It was at that moment, I asked myself, how do I get back to happiness?
I believe that even without the strain of infertility, one must continuously grow into the person we are supposed to be. But, the pressure and stress of infertility sometimes see us with very little joy for life and time to do what we used to love to do.
When we were a couple before our diagnosis, we loved to go to the movies together, out for dinner dates, socialize with other couples and take trips and vacations together. Spending lots of time and money on treatments meant a lot of this went to the waste side. We no longer bought gifts for one another for the usual yearly celebrations, and I could not handle socializing with our friends who were all adding quickly to their families.
I understood that we needed to pull back, and I did it happily, but at some point, I just felt like I was going through the motions of life and not experiencing it as I should.
Before infertility, I loved walking endlessly around a mall, going for beauty treatments and massages, girls nights, and crafting.
We had so much invested in adding to our family, and I forgot the cardinal rule. I forgot how vital putting on my oxygen mask first was. I became so focused on all things baby, and I think at some point, the few friends I did share our struggles with probably got a little sick of me talking, thinking, and wanting nothing but that.
It wasn’t until I was years beyond my journey that I realized how much harder my journey had become. It is challenging to get through the daily grind when you are not taking care of yourself. My self-care was nonexistent, and I had to work so hard on changing this. I am a recovering people pleaser, and sometimes I still want to put others first, but I’m learning.
I wish I could have told my younger self that there is so much joy to be had no matter what challenge you are going through. That without it, we remain stagnant and hopeless at times. I didn’t quite understand or think about a higher plan. Of course, it’s so easy for me to say having the gift of hindsight. You might still be in the trenches, so here are some of the things that helped me. Perhaps they can be helpful to you too.
I stopped feeling guilty about putting myself first.
I dove deeper into therapy.
I found my tribe.
I listened to what my body needed.
I learned to accept that life will always throw you some curveballs.
I accepted what I could not change.
I stopped letting what other people thought impact what I knew was best for me.
So when you look in the mirror one day and perhaps have the same revelation, please do something about it. You and only YOU have the power to find yourself and become the person you want to be. You can go through infertility treatments in the driver seat. You can choose to love yourself in your actions and find joy in the season. Remember that how you get through the process is almost as crucial at actually getting through the process. You matter, and you deserve to be happy even though you are going through one of life’s most challenging times. Take time for you, and the rest will all fall into place.