Although I didn’t always see it this way, today I can honestly say that my struggle with infertility has become a shower of gifts. Some get to have baby showers, others get to have showers of emotional gifts because there is no baby. That was definitely the case for me.
Most times when I get to write about a struggle of mine, I usually do it when it is part of the past and in the list of things I had overcome successfully. Today, I am writing to you, right in the middle of my struggle, when the story is far from done, yet I feel in complete bliss because I have been able to see the gifts all along.
The first step towards getting ready to write this blog was actually typing the word “infertility” up until October of 2018 when I received an email with the genetic report of my three embryos, and only one was healthy, I had a very hard time accepting infertility was a thing for me, for us. But it was that same email that brought acceptance into my mind and suddenly I had no issues writing the word infertility. I ask that you read my lessons, as you may find them helpful whether or not, you have experienced infertility. In the end, infertility is just the name of my current human suffering, but the lessons are universal to any kind of human suffering.
Because I have so much to share, I have decided to write one lesson at the time! here is lesson One. May you find hope and love through my words.
Lesson #1: Plans are imaginary and stressful:
I can't say that I was much of a planner before infertility, but I do run a business and keep a busy life-style, therefore a form of planning has always been a part of my organizational skills. However, when it came to my “life plan” of becoming a mother, I became not only an “ultra” planner but also, very strict on my ideas of what the plan should look and the speed by which it should evolve. Looking back, and as I am writing the words “ultra planner”, “strict” and “speed” I am not surprised that it was my own mindset in this regard that made infertility so painful at first. I confess that for 4 years I would move from plan to plan, hoping my next plan was “the best yet ever” and falsely convincing myself that with a better plan, would come the results that I was hoping for. What I never noticed was that with each new plan, there were more rules and more expectations. I was essentially walking myself into a trap with no exit. Have you ever been there? in case you haven’t, let me save you some time, it is not worth it!! My extreme planning put a big dent to my stress levels making me feel like I was constantly failing at my plans, making me intolerable specially with my husband who I also expected to go along my plan and, it overall put a dent in my marriage.
It wasn’t until I noticed the big gap that I had created between reality and my mind that I noticed my well-intended creation of strict and speedy plans were nothing but a product of my imagination that was hurting me. After almost dying at the early age of 10, having to move to Canada because my family wasn’t safe at home, divorcing my first husband, and the other million things that have happened in my life unexpectedly, one would think that I would have mastered the “letting go of plans” by now, and if you had asked me a year or two ago, I would have said “I am a go with the flow, have no expectations kind of gal”. But as evidenced by my attitude with this pregnancy that never came, I was not all that “go with the flow” kind of person. I still had something to learn in this regard.
I know, our mind tell us that the better we plan for something, the better prepared we are for the future. But here is what I have learned through my process. Nothing, absolutely nothing can ever prepare you for what has not happened yet. Even when your planning skills are brilliant, you can’t guess the future, and therefore, you cannot really prepare for it. Although it is now late in my fertility journey, I am forever thankful at the gift of releasing all plans and really trusting the flow of life to guide me as I go. One of my favourite childhood songs has a line that says “walker, there is no path. The path is created as you walk”. That line has become a mantra for me (it sounds way better in Spanish, I must say) but you get my point right?
Well, I know I will never stop planning, as mentioned earlier, it is a helpful organizational tool. But what I will likely never do, is attach strict expectations to my plans and, definitely I will never impose my plans onto others because the perfect plans only exists in my imagination and the more attachment there are to plans, the more suffering there will be for me and for others around me.
This beautiful lesson also taught me that despite my own beliefs, there is no need to worry about the unknown future, because regardless of what it brings, I am resilient enough to adapt, learn, ask for help and, I now have the conviction that in the end, I will always be ok.
Don’t let the unknowns scare you. Because if you think about it, “so far you have overcome all the difficult situations in your life”. Resiliency, adaptation and learning are skills that belong to all of us, even YOU!