Recognizing Trauma within infertility

Its not just the treatments that cause trauma there are many more aspects with infertility that are trauma based and in this post we explore them.

My last post was almost 6 months ago. I was pretty good on writing and being on top of it, but after the last IVF transfer didn’t work I got pretty shook up and angry. All the meditations and Vypassana Silent retreats didn’t help me. We do need to recognize the fact that there is trauma with infertility – the in ability to be fertile on our own.

1. RE-TRAUMA. There is a double edge sword of telling the world your story. 

When you are open to the world about your story you keep retelling it and re-traumitizing yourself. Do you recognize that this is the case? Every time you tell your story, your emotions, feelings and memories that are stored in your body come up and you feel like you are in the moment. Its like victims of abuse who need to retell their story over an over and over again. Whenever I had to retell my story of all the things I’ve done toeither a friend or a professional, I could feel my brain and my body sinking into that trauma part of my brain. I felt like I was reliving parts of everything. When I’m not talking about it, I’m fine, as soon as I need to launch into the story of “what is going on” then its like my brain retreats back to those centres. I know it affects me, re-telling my story over and over again, as the effects afterwards cause me to feel angry and completely triggered by the situation. This is one traumatizing aspect of infertility.

2. MONEY – Lets face it, money in itself is traumatizing, how do we get more money, how do we pay the bills on a every day basis, now add how you are going go pay for a baby. 

Its such a traumatic thing, you think you are paying into something ($25,000 Canadian) and are expecting a return, but there maybe no return on your investment. This shakes me every time I think about it. I have better chances at a Casino. This is a big traumatizing aspect of infertility. THIS has the ability to split couples.

3. THE STORIES OF HOPE 

These I hate the most.

Somehow I get on the topic of fertility with a person and they lay their hand on me very sincerely, look me in the eye with what *they* think is empathy and the usual story tells of some tragic fertility version and then a miracle happens. It usually sound like this, “I know my neighbour who tried for 6 years. She  plus she had endometriosis and cancer as a child and they told her she was infertile and she got pregnant. If she did it then you can too”. The flash with of anger when I hear these types of stories as I find them LACKING EMPATHY. Its like being hit open handed in the face. Its not hope. Its a bunch of bullshit where the message behind the “hopeful bullshit story” is that I shouldn’t worry, my problems are not that bad and a miracle will happen. This is honestly traumatizing because the question that comes to mind is, what did THEY DO that I’m not doing?

Even if that person had fertility issues is telling me the story, I don’t care, your story of hope isn’t my story so telling me your story of “HOPE” thinking you are helping me, please stop, its not. Period. Even my Social Worker who runs a fertility support group had fertility issues tell me her story doesn’t give me any hope. These stories don’t give me hope because they are not me and my reality. It doesn’t tell me what I could do better.

I’m happy to swap stories and strategies you’ve used, what doctor you saw and what helped you, but don’t tell me, “Don’t worry you’ll get there” just because you’ve crossed to the other side.

Infertility is traumatic. In addition to depression symptoms, it is quite common that couples experiencing infertility will experience anxiety in response to certain situations or triggers (such as seeing pregnant women, pregnancy tests, babies on TV or in person, etc.). They may experience intense emotion around certain times of the month, particularly the times near ovulation and when a period is due.

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4. Random Trauma: A wedding was my trauma trigger

Apart from the usual triggers listed above, the trauma of infertility can come from places we never expected. We were so excited to go to a friend’s wedding, as it was long and anticipated. We had received the invitation in August of 2017 and the wedding was October 2017. I bought a very beautiful dress, planned the outfit and off we drove to another city for 4 hours to attend this wedding.

Of course the wedding was perfect. It was small, quaint and very family oriented. The parents of the bride were there and I was looking forward to dancing the night way in my comfy shoes, that is, until…..

THE MOMENT.

We were sitting at the back of the small reception room at a round table all facing the front listening to the speeches. The first set of parents went up and spoke and then the second parents went up and said beautiful things about their child and showed a video of childhood photos. It was so moving and sweet. I felt my brain shift and crack. I tried shaking it off by going to the washroom but it was too late.

Till this day I can feel this black veil that came out of nowhere and knocked me off my feet. The thought lit up in my mind like a shinny ad on New York’s Times Square with the letters spelling: You may never experience this. This this day so many months later those 4 words sting. And I was done. Cold Play’s lyrics from the song “Fix You” became my mind’s background music and the tears just came streaming down my face…..Its like loosing something you cannot replace. I could even hear the voice of the main singer Chris Martin whining those words into my ears. My energy just became off and all I wanted to do was crawl underneath that round table with the white table cloth and hide. I smiled so politely at my friend the bride and lied straight to her face when she came up to me later asking if I’m Ok. Holding my tears I lied through my teeth and said, “I was incredibly moved by the speeches”. Lie. Lie. Lie. The rest of the night I pretended to dance and forcibly remove that veil off of me, but it didn’t happen. As I retell this story, I’m right there. The trauma of the moment is right there with me.

Triggers can seem unrelated or random but still have a profound effect on the emotional reaction of the people going through this difficult situation. For many, infertility feels like riding an emotional roller coaster of anticipation, worry, sadness, grief, and anger.

When someone is experiencing infertility, negative beliefs about one’s inadequacyor defectiveness may come up.

5. The trauma of “it is free for everyone else, so why not me?”. 

Its in those moments that you least expect that bring up the trauma of not just about your body, but about everything around it. Not accepting your diagnosis, not being able to bring yourself to go to another acupuncture treatment. The unwillingness to change your diet or do anything else that would require you to change your lifestyle. This brings so much resentment towards the whole thing. Its supposed to be free so why am I forced to pay for it. Why should I stop eating sugar? Why I need to change everything when “crack babies” are still being born.

Denying that there is anything wrong. Just stuffing it down deeper. I have a hard time accepting that there is something wrong with me just because my diagnosis says so. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with me thats why I want this to be free and on my own terms. This lack of being able to use my body and have it function the way its supposed to filters through on other parts. The inadequacy. The feeling of failure. The feeling of being stuck. Its everything my life. I feel stuck in a job I can’t quit till I find something else but I can’t find a job because I don’t feel adequate so I look for a low paying customer service job. I don’t believe I will achieve financial success beyond my small little goal, because why, I don’t deserve it. It just filters through. Denying grief.

6. The Trauma of the advice: Change your mindset

The worst advice I have ever received was believe it and it will happen. Well I don’t believe that I can’ actually get pregnant and the story of “Hope” (see above) isn’t helping. Then I think, maybe I don’t want any this family and baby business, but immediately my

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body signals to me that is a lie. A way of self preservation of the fact that nothing has happened. A way for me to preserve some mental sanity. If my mindset was to be on point then it would have happened last year between May and August. My belief was strong. How many times have a I heard just stop thinking about it. I have stopped thinking about it and it still hasn’t happened.

It is hard to believe that my body is actually able to have a pregnancy when in the last 5 years it never once did. Read that again. NEVER EVER EVER. 

7. The Trauma of a “Past life”. 

This one gets me going because it doesn’t actually solve anything. A spiritual guru comes to you and says they know the problem and it comes from a past life. I believe in reincarnation but saying that I had a problem in the past life and now I have to fix the past life in order to create life is complete bullshit. There is nothing that I can do in present current life to go back and  talk to ‘said past life’ and tell it to move on and get going. It putting blame on things so beyond reach and human possibility. I just have no words for this type of thing.

8. Your partner’s trauma

Your partner has trauma except he may not express it. I have tried to get hubby to express it but its so deeply repressed that it a cork I’m having a hard time uncorking. It affect him. Its like us walking through the Green Living Show and him stopping and looking at baby clothes. Its not that we both get up and think about it all the time, but this thing, shows up in different ways. Pregnant women, strollers, Toys R Us, children or  other objects don’t seem to move us, but a simple piece of clothing does. It moves him.

Final thoughts.

I may just add to the list about but my point is that that I have recognized that the trauma of infertility stops at the fertility clinic. Even when you stop going or someone says to you ‘take a break’ (I’ve been on a break for the last 6 months) it doesn’t go away. Its a train.

Once you get on the fertility train, destination, “Baby/Family”, its very difficulty to get off it before you make it to the destination.  Eva Braveheart.


When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
‘Cause you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
What could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
But high up above or down below
When you are too in love to let it show
Oh but if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
oh and tears come streaming down your face
And I
Tears streaming down your face
I promise you I will learn from all my mistakes
oh and the tears streaming down your face
And I
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
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How to make a difference in a life

The original is written by “Loren Eiseley” in 1969  – “The Star Thrower” is a part of a 16-page essay of the same name by.
“While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
“Chi Mai” by Ennio Morricone – is one of the most beautiful modern piece of music I know. Written in 1971 … and it was used in the film “Maddalena” the same year. Famous it became through being used in “The Professional” (1981 film). Chi Mai is Italian and means whoever.

Just like this story … whoever that wants to can make a difference.

 

How I became grateful for my infertility

Note: This post has been in draft for four months because it was hard to let it go.

Gratitude and infertility are not words that are used together in the same sentence.

Infertility is more often described as:

“A struggle”
“a flight”,
“overcoming”,
“obsession”,
“a battle”,
“over exposing”,
“stressing”,
“despair”
“loss”

Not exactly positive words that can get a women & couple to an empowered mindset

These are words that couples use to describe infertility. These words are more often used together in various combinations in a sentence but gratitude and infertility….nope, not so much. It has taken me some time to get here, to this space of gratitude. It’s a humbling place to be. The hardest part of infertility is letting go of expectations. There is only one outcome: the one thing is certain, the uncertainty. I am grateful for this dance with infertility, it has made me be introspective and re-caliber my life perspective. It has and will make me a better parent and person. Another experience on my life path.

 Home, "a deep sense of peace". 

It’s Tuesday, my current favourite day of the week, it’s the 6 week support group time with Amira Posner and I’m late. I email Amira and let her know that I’m running late, but for whatever reason, a sense of peace washes over me as soon as I click, “send”.  A brilliant yellow light washes over me. It feels like I am my soul and my soul feels my skin from the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever been so peaceful through this whole thing process as I am now. I hear the clock ticking, my mind yelling at me to get up and go already, “Oh, shut up in there monkey brain, my soul and I are having a moment of deep Universal connection”.

When I’m quiet enough and I let my mind settle, I hear the whispers of my soul. I know the Universe has my back and will still have my back when I’m in the depths of diapers or taking the different route, being a couple with no kids. At the beginning of this year, it was different, as I crashed and burned through a mental health crisis  due to not being to take the emotional ride the fertility world. I’m here now, on the other side. I don’t feel the need to rush towards anything, I don’t feel I need to fulfill anyone’s expectations.

I hear a voice saying, you are going to be OK, you are enough, your Spirit baby is with you, just believe this and know that your body can conceive a healthy baby. I hold on that knowing whatever the outcome, I’m still safe and I’m still going to be me.

Thank you. I am grateful.

The support group, “We’ve got this”. 

Since I’m late, I decide to take my car and drive through the streets of Toronto. I don’t know what has happened to me but the colours in the city so much brighter than they did.  I notice the little things on my drive I didn’t notice before. Was this cafe here on this corner last week? The city is awakening into a new season and I am awakening with it. I can sense the new beginnings, this week has been a good week. The last two before this I was a mess trying to find my sense of purpose in life questioning every single part of my life, asking “WHY” and “WHAT“. As I pass by the Second Cup coffee in the lobby on my way to the group, I round the corner to the elevator, I hear another whisper, “let go, ‘we’ve got this”, except there is no one there next to me whispering this to me. I feel a deep sense of peace just wash over me.

I AM THAT that I AM.

I grateful for my infertility as it has allowed me to go even deeper and become more connected. I am reminded again, that 50% of what I do is my mindset and the other 50% is up to something greater than science.

I am grateful for this experience of infertility as it has taught me compassion towards myself and other women. I see women with children in a different light. I look at their child and smile – I wonder, what has she been through to hold that child in her arms? Instead of judging her and the choice of having a child like I used to in my twenties and early thirties, I am grateful for this new perspective. I have softened. My values have changed. I used to feel sorry for women who had children and couldn’t comprehend why they would ‘that’ to themselves, now, I see that one in six couples had to really commit fully to make the choice to introduce a new life into the world.

Life. We have one in a 15 million chance to make it. For those two cells to connect, yet, somehow they don’t always do.
The universe has your back

 

The Clinic

I am grateful to the Clinic and all the staff. When I hit rock bottom, I stopped all fertility treatment for two months and I took the time to heal and love myself. I can’t stress enough how much I needed to find myself during those two months and regain my balance.  I finally put fertility as one of the many slots of just everyday life. It’s so important to do that because fertility treatments become your life.

I am not my diagnosis and I am not a uterus to be treated.

I am whole and complete.

I am grateful to find people who take the time to help you take another step forward
After the two month hiatus, I was able to walk into the clinic without having a panic attack. The first time after a long time, when the ladies who took my blood didn’t struggle to find the vein. I had tried to switch clinics and found out a ton of information about the Ontario funded IVF. In the very end, the person who I communicated with who was helping me transfer clinics said something that made a big difference for me., “you are in good hands, they really do care there at your clinic. Go do your embryo transfer, and if doesn’t work out after two times, call me then, but I don’t think you’ll be calling me”.

This is how I ended up staying with my clinic. I do finally feel safe here at this clinic. I feel like a human and more than just a treatment. Its so key to trust the people who are helping you create life.

My mindset is different.

balance 2

My two months clinic free, mental health declutter

During my two months ‘off’, I had to face the state of affairs of my relationship, my career, and everything in between. I was faced with the question, “what do I want from life” and “what is my purpose”. I even faced the question of do I actually want a family and what do I value more. How far am I willing to with fertility treatments before I say stop. Am I actually really willing to adopt and why? Am I willing to share this journey with a surrogate? I stepped back and forth between deciding if “mother” is a role I want to take on, or is it that I’m following someone else’s dreams and expectations.

 

Quiet mind

What Infertility has taught me

I see my infertility as a time and space where I am able to explore myself and who I am.

The fundamental question of, “what is my purpose”, “what is my calling”, “who am I” is something that I have been working through while regaining my sense of balance in the four quadrants (health, wealth, spirituality, and relationship). My world was rocked off balance as soon as I entered my job and from the moment I left of my leave, it’s been work to get myself back to who I am. I had to hit the darkest place of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks because of infertility to regain my voice and be strong enough to walk away. The whole month of April was a loss in the sense of confusion and thrashing. I kept asking myself the question, “what do I want?”. I had to face myself and see that one of the reasons of ‘desperation’ was that I wanted to leave where I worked so desperately I was willing to change my life and use a child as a legit excuse. That was one of the stories running in my head. That is not a space to bring a child into, my Spirit baby wants to be wanted and to be loved. That is why when I chose to continue being off work and being unpaid. I had chosen me and my family over an organization. This post has been in draft for four months.

I can’t tell you how raw this is writing this, and I hope that this blog is not found by my organization, but it circles back to, what choices do we make in life to get away from something we don’t want? What if I chose what I do want and be willing to cut cords from anything and everyone who is trying to take my energy away. Actively choosing to live and choosing change.

When I let go of the idea of the next big job and just really focused on why I would want to get up in the morning, I realized that all of these side businesses are meaningless and not useful. I actually love working with people and students who have a disability. I want to get them to work.

Infertily has taught me how to be a parent because from what I know, it’s not a walk in the park. But because I’ve had to reassess who I am, and what I want, as well as what is important to me, I know that while I may be knocked off my feet, I will have something to land on.

I know I would like to do some more personal development, which is why I will be working with a transition coach, Jessie Herald.


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https://www.popsugar.com/moms/What-Moms-Want-After-Infertility-43555695?utm_campaign=desktop_share&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=moms

 

Adoption vs infertility 

I’ve put a big toe into exploring adoption, specifically, foster to adopt. I’ve talked to one person in great depths about it and what stood out is you can stop the adoption process at any time. I joke, that once you are prego, there really is not going back, while in adoption there is.

I pushed adoption aside completely when I committed myself totally towards fertility and the clinic. Since I’m in a pause moment till the next appointment at the end of September with no frosties left, I allowed myself to peek in and see, ask questions. I mean, if I can go through IVF and a mental breakdown then adoption should be a walk in the park. Lol 😂.

To be truthful I’ve always thought about adoption, but I thought about doing it after having my own first. Working in mostly the educational and social services sector, I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot about kids and met kids going through real shit situations.
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I’ve pictured adoption of an older child, because first they hardly ever get a chance (to be adopted) past baby stage and second I just really love 6 year olds. I’ve always seen myself with an older child.

Given some inspiration by my sister in law who has both adopted and foster to adopted, I have some guidance in this area, but she is in Europe. Things are a little different there.
Nearing four years on this fertility journey, with this year being the most intense, I’m looking to explore and ask questions about adoption.

Before we do more hormones, before I do more IVF, before all that, I want to explore. Perhaps the sequence of events can be different?

I never wanted adoption to be something that I did because everything else didn’t work out, I think adoption should come from a space of love, instead of lack of options.
Still though, with all the info at my finger tips and people I can ask, there is fear about adoption.  What about?

  • fear about the trauma a child may have and can we handle it
  • fear of rejection from the child
  • what if they have a disability that I don’t know how to handle
  • can we do this financially
  • plus so many more biases that I know I have that I would be willing to work through..

These are all the questions people DON’T ask when they just get pregnant and start their family.

Info about adoption in Ontario:

1. Foster to adopt. 

These are kids that landed in the system; for the sake of simplicity we can call them Children’s Aid’s kiddos (there are many agencies). I have worked with parents when kids were already placed. I have also worked intensively with one foster mom who had adopted. I helped with transitioning the kids into the foster home. I also gave parents developmental tips on what to expect with the child.

With this process, it’s a public adoption, therefore technically “free”. There can be “baggage” that comes with this type of adoption. It really depends on the situation the child is coming from. For example, a child can be put in the system because their parents died in a car accident and there is no other family in Ontario.

This type of foster to adopt model is done by Ontario because they wanted to ensure that when the kids are placed, they actually had a family and were not being moved around. From what I understand there are temporary foster homes but most of them have been converted to foster to adopt. This is great for the kids, as it gives them more stability.

In this process at all times in the drivers seat. At any point in time you say you can back out and say, “no thank you, I don’t want to be a foster to adopt parent”. The key to this is taking the PRIDE training. In that training your values believes and everything are questioned and everything is taken into account. The agency wants to make sure that that child a place with you actually fits with you.

P.R.I.D.E stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education. The P.R.I.D.E Foster/Adopt Pre-Service Training Program is a training program for prospective foster and adoptive parents and is a model for the development and support of resource families.

We are exploring taking the PRIDE training because it’s valid for three years. After the training you can say to the agency I want to pause and go back to fertility treatments OR conclude that this type of adoption isn’t for you. The key with any adoption process is to start sooner than later because everything takes a really long time similar to fertility treatment.

In the public system you are basically guaranteed a child and you know you are making a difference in a child’s world. Isn’t that what parenting is all about?

Again, if we were to actually fully commit to this process, I would be looking at taking a child from 5 to 10 years old. I’m actually much more comfortable with that age group then babies or toddlers even though I worked in ECE.

2. Private adoption Ontario

Here you have two options, local and international. These are also done through an agency and cost anywhere from $20,000 -$40,000. Sounds like two rounds of IVF with a better guarantee of a child then IVF. From I understand, you need to make a profile which sits on a database. In private local, a birth mom chooses you. I’m not sure, but from what I’ve been explained, this process is a lot more passive. You don’t really have an influence as to when an adoption will come through. Please tell me if I’m wrong, again I have not talked to any agency about private adoption, this is what I’ve heard from my two hour conversation with the foster to adopt Mom.

The thing is with any adoption that they don’t want you to be doing any fertility treatments while you’re going through the process. You need to commit to that training at the time and not simultaneously be doing fertility treatments. Make sense.

Lasting impressions from the conversation with Foster to Adopt mom

Before becoming to a foster to adopt parent they were trying to get pregnant for 8 years. She said she always imagined decorating a room and having time (even for the foster kids) to give them a Pinterest room. Raise your hand if you think of a Pinterest when you think of a baby your child’s room ✋.

I think the most humbling part of the conversation was when the foster to adopt mom spoke how she had 72 hours to get her space ready for two twins and a 12-year-old. Going from zero kids to three. She (and her husband) didn’t have much for the kids when they arrived but was pumped and emotionally ready.

When the kids came, the 12-year-old slept on a mattress on the floor and the two twins had to cribs given to them by an agency. And that’s it. Someone gave them clothing for the kids. All that the children really needed and wanted was to know that they were safe.

It was such a humbling statement, that I really can’t get it out of my head. How much stuff we buy for children for that Pinterest room!

Whats next?

I think what I’ll do next is contact a private and public agency and see. The next PRIDE training is in October and costs $1300.

Believe it or not husband is very excited at the prospect of being a foster to adopt dad.
If I’m very truthful, I think I’ve always imagined myself with older children versus little ones. Maybe that is why people walking around babies or being pregnant in front of me doesn’t really affect me. I adore being around 4 year-olds and five-year-olds……..while the Littles just drive me nuts.

I’ll enter this lair of exploration and adventure and keep you updated. I still would love to do another round of IVF but I don’t know if I can stomach it. With the last transfer I had itchiness so bad that I basically wanted to scratch my crotch off and that’s an understatement. This was the effect of the hormones I had. The IVF retrieval threw me off my feet, as I had a bad reaction. Being on hormones for months definitely did a number on my body.

Fertility treatments, it’s like going to casino, inserting $20,000 and hoping to get something in return. At least in the adoption process, I know I can be making a difference in a child’s life.

I am in the process of exploring and being in the state of curiosity about adoption.

The dirty secret of infertility.

The dirty secret of infertility is the massive effect it has on our whole well-being and the shame. If there’s one thing I know for sure is that being diagnosed with and struggling with infertility can bring up a whole slew of unwanted negative emotions. One of the toughest to deal with is SHAME. When we try to conceive, and bear our own biological children and have difficulty, we may start to think thoughts such as “I’m no good. My body is busted or what will my parents and friends think if I get IVF? What if I’m barren?” It can be debilitating or freeing, depending on your perspective.

Debilitating because we can sink deep into the hole of despair that there is something wrong.

Freeing, because we can see it as an opportunity and be grateful we have the medicine to do IVF and fertility treatments. This science is about 30 years old, which is younger than me. The first ever IVF was doing in the late 70’s, Isn’t it amazing how far we have come that we can actually safely freeze embryos?!

We need to get on camera and TV and talk not about just egg quality, we need to talk about shame, mental health, depression, anxiety and all of these things that are and can be true with infertility. I don’t understand why this not happening. I hear the main doctor of Anova speaking on the breakfast program what we need to do to increase our chances of getting pregnant, and love for her speak about the impact fertility has on mental health and see fertility treatments as a gift!

I am not ashamed of not being able to conceive on my own. For whatever reason, there is a block and I’m working on myself through personal development, grounding myself, reminding myself who I am to be able to bring forth a life that will be completely reliant on me.

To have a positive conception, we need to actually be able to receive. I don’t know what the magical formula is but by dismissing mental health with fertility treatments is dismissing the rest of the person. I imagine a chicken walking around without a head.

From my support group, I know from the stories of 11 other women that none of the clinics that they attend check-in with the women and ask them to participate in any mind-body or counseling. This, in my opinion, is so key would alleviate so much pain from the process. I also know that it takes time to warm up to a donor egg, donor sperm, and surrogacy. It took me two years to warm up to IVF and there is not shame in that. Everything in its due process.

We need the tools that no one has taught us to cope with constant grieving and uncertainty. We need to learn how to re-balance and put fertility into one box of our life and not make it our entire life. I understand how it can get to be a runaway train but we are the conductors of the train and can choose our speed or even choose to stop. Look at the roses and flowers growing by the side of the tracks, aren’t they just beautiful?

Stop being ashamed of your “lacking” and see it as an opportunity to learn about you. See it as an opportunity to grow. Look at it from a point of view of empowering and just how much more you will love that baby or your life without the baby because you took that time to step into a big challenge, a challenge you didn’t ask for but now it’s here. Either way it’s courageous.

You will know, that whatever you are faced with in life can be no greater than this, the act of creating life. What matters is how we choose to look and think about this journey.

Harry Potter metaphor: Sirius Black tells Harry

“You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person who bad things have happened to. We’ve all got both good light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” We ALL experience shame in our lives, thus it behooves all of us to learn to manage it well. Instead of thinking of ourselves as bad or defective people, think of yourself as a hero of your own life, on your own hero’s journey, remembering that vulnerability and love are the truest marks of courage.

“Shame is a social concept – it happens between people – it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy.”
Brene Brown Daring Greatly.

I will continue to advocate for patients and be the fertility doula. I will continue to be vulnerable and face everything full on – for all those who are not ready to come out of the closet.

The only thing that is certain is uncertainty with infertility.

Embrace what is certain, you are a beautiful person with the tremendous capacity to love. Take a moment and love yourself.

Step into the process and be fully part of it. Talk about it. Tell everyone. You’ll be so surprised that every 6th person you talk to will have the same story as you. Not only are you healing yourself but the person who you are speaking to.

I want people to know that there is NO shame is seeking mental health support. It has saved me. There is no shame in having fertility challenges.

If I had not spoken out and used my voice then I would have not been able to make a change for other patients.

I’m grateful for the pain because we need the darkness to get to the light. But we also need the tool to know how to get past the darkness & any shame.

I am your fertility doula. I will speak for you till you are ready.

You are loved.

 

 

“You should’ve asked” A pictorial on women’s mental load and the work they do

Just to change it up this week, lets talk about women’s mental load. While the fertility community is wrapped up in creating babies, the conversation that should be started at the same time and reviewed is what happens to women after the babes are here. When I went to a naturopath three years ago to look into why I’m not getting pregnant, I was intrigued that she started the conversation of, “why do you want to have children, is this because you want to or because you are supposed to do”. While a controversial question, and probably many women would be taken aback [‘why are you asking this just fix me and not question my motivation] I think it’s a valid question and so needed.

It took me ten long years to get to the answer of “yes, this is for me”, but still in my dark days wrapped up in the scope of fertility treatments, I asked myself who is this really for and if I’m fulfilling some need or just doing it because that’s what family wants?

I do look at this cartoon and hope for the best. I don’t know if I could go through another round of treatment and my head is coming around to the fact that I think I would be Ok with one genetic offspring and are open to adopting an older child, like a teen.

The workload for women never does stop.

I am grateful right now that I don’t have a care in the world and sometimes imagine what it would mean to take care of another human being 24/7. My body tells me that I think I could do one, but more then one would be overwhelming.

Let’s make sure to discuss expectations we have of each other as a couple before the baby come or before even the pregnancy. After all, if my big thing is balance and good mental health, then setting up expectations beforehand would save a lot of arguments and meltdowns.

I hope that with the looming embryo transfer that is coming up Husband and I can take a look at this cartoon below and have a very good deep conversation.

Please make sure to comment below about your thoughts. Feedback is always appreciated!

Emma

Here is the english version of my now famous “Fallait demander” !

Thanks Una from unadtranslation.com for the translation 🙂

You should've asked_001You should've asked_002You should've asked_003You should've asked_004You should've asked_005You should've asked_006You should've asked_007You should've asked_008You should've asked_009You should've asked_010You should've asked_011You should've asked_012You should've asked_013You should've asked_014You should've asked_015You should've asked_016You should've asked_017You should've asked_018You should've asked_019You should've asked_020You should've asked_021You should've asked_022You should've asked_023You should've asked_024You should've asked_025You should've asked_026You should've asked_027You should've asked_028You should've asked_029You should've asked_030You should've asked_031You should've asked_032You should've asked_033You should've asked_034You should've asked_035You should've asked_036You should've asked_037You should've asked_038You should've asked_039You should've asked_040

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A state of creation and contraction

I have been in a state of contraction. In this state, there is no room for creativity, creation or flow, not just for me but for everyone. I know have in this state for three months now because everything was painful, everything was hard and in a state of reaction. My inner-critic who I know was just trying to protect me hounded me saying, “You should know better”. I have finally turned to that critic, held her hand and said, “I’m ok, thank you for looking after me, I can take it from here”.

State of creation

I know I’m in flow when synchronicities start happening and popping up. When I think of something, <> and it just happens shortly after I’ve had the thought. I’ve been trying to find something in between a particular timeframe to “get away” and fly somewhere. It couldn’t have Zika and it needed to be a place where I have not been before without breaking the bank. West Jet posted a 24-hour sale for flights to Halifax for half price. I found out about it with “Next Departure”. (which anyone who is Canada should sign up for. Amazing deals to be had.) After the last month,  I was needing and itching to press the button “buy” and just go somewhere.

 

If there is anything you need to know about me, is that I’m a travel bargain shopper hound. I found out that I could fly out of Hamilton Airport (one hour outside of Toronto) for half the price instead of Toronto Airport. We are going away to the east cost. A place of amazing gentle people. I’ve heard the people in the east coast of Canada just so kind, amazing and with beautiful hearts. I’m just happy like a clown and my brain happily obliged in now searching for all things Nova Scotia. It is a quick trip, just enough to plan but also enough that I get to hit up some things I’ve wanted to see, like Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg. There is nothing like a trip to get me more in the state of flow. 

Magical Trips

I think there is always something magical about removing myself from a permanent physical space. Something mysterious happens when my brain is in the state of “explore and wonder”.

Like changing one habit a day. Instead of brushing my teeth with my right hand, I’ll brush with my left, to get my brain to think different.

We recently reflected that after being married almost 11 years, the trips we have done are a bookmark in time. I’ll say something and ponder, was that before or after Florida, or how my life went upside down after a two week trip to BC. The most life changing things have happened to me were over a plane ticket. When I think of it, it was shortly after a trip that I met my husband.

Its all a crap shoot.

crap-shoot-cartoon

It got me thinking about how much of a crapshoot this whole fertility thing is and the fact that I got attached to an outcome, a timeframe, how it was all going to look.

A neighbour, who also went through fertility treatments told me that all the tests I am doing she did too. She did the whole IVF three time, and did a transfer of the embryo five times, getting pregnant each time, but they all resulted in a miscarriage. After taking a break, she ended up getting pregnant on her own. Crapshoot!

It could be just a small variable that doesn’t let the embryo stick that it’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. Her daughter that she just had (without fertility treatments) was her sixth pregnancy and no one could explain why her previously genetically perfect tested juicy embryos were miscarried.

All this is just crazy making and anxiety producing especially around the transfer of the embryo. This is where the state of contraction starts and where I try to control the outcome. More tests don’t always mean more control, just a control of some variables, but even then THAT is still an illusion because the variables are constantly changing.

Because everything is still up to the Universe.

This takes me to the main fears:

Fears-are-stories

  1. Having the first embryo transfer not working.
  2. My reaction if the first transfer doesn’t work, how will my mental health be?
  3. I will get pregnant but a miscarriage will happen….and then I’ll have a breakdown….because I’ve never actually had a positive test. Can you imagine how that would be?

What are my fears based on?

I realize now that those fears are based on my own expectations. I never wanted to do IVF and because I’ve done THIS MUCH……I….DESERVE…..IT….for all of this to work. But really we deserve nothing. We shouldn’t expect anything and appreciate everything.

In psychology they call this “Catosprophic idealization”. Its amazing to me that as soon as it was “named” what I had created in my head, the thoughts became less powerful and slowly started to disapate. I’m facinated how much our thoughts, really its just our constant thoughts that create our reality.

Isn’t that facinating?

Expect nothing

In the state of creation, I’m open, and things just happen.  There is no resistance in “Flow”, its simple, fluid, oh, and it feels so damn good, but as soon as I hit a bottom and contract, nothing works. Suffering happens.

I know that have Light there needs to be Darkness. There is a yin to a yang. The trouble with positive psychology is that it doesn’t want to acknowledge the negative side. While the darkness sucks horribly and I know because I did hit a wall twice in the past month, I can feel the regrouping and opening towards a new way of thinking.

The system of positive psychology does not appreciate how, through unconscious conflict in our psyche, we compulsively replay and recreate unresolved negative emotions. 

When we try to dodge or repress our psyche’s inner dynamics, we encounter inner rebellion that produces a wide variety of suffering and self-defeat. To become smarter, wiser, and more conscious, we have to understand the inner mechanisms and drives in our psyche that induce us to chase after old hurts, cling to painful regrets, and indulge in a variety of other unresolved emotions.
http://www.whywesuffer.com/the-problem-with-positive-psychology/

Being able to identify the fears and thoughts that keep me in this state of contraction helped me grow and boy I’ve grown even in the last month with so much more to let go.

When I said to The Clinic when I was overwhelmed and bleeding out it gave me room and time for reflection and to find joy and balance, as I was totally off kilter. We just completed the last round of biopsies and will be taking a month break from the clinic.

Psychology.
You’ve built a great team we just need to you join it

A few weeks back I sent an email to “my team” that included the Dr. B, all my acupuncture folks, the naturopath and person for my mental health check in to introduce all of them to each other through email. At an appointment with Dr. Julia PhD, she made a comment that made me think, she says:

“you are incredibly resourceful and have assembled a great team, but where are you on this team? You’ve intorudced everyone else but you didn’t introduce yourself, have you joined this team yet?”.

Man what a comment to get you centred. It’s like that whole taking responsibly part. I’ve assembled the team and I’m expecting them to put me together and achieve my goal, but where am I in that?

Creating a *phantom intention

*A subconscious mindset that is rooted in events that have occured or expereinces from the past that colour how we percieve current occurent events. It usually looks like an ME vs something.

What if in my head I’m creating a phantom intention?

US vs. The Clinic.

Us vs them

Us vs. the clinic

Us vs. the medical health care system

Us vs. everyone else.

Over thinking!

For now we are off to Halifax to scratch the surface to the East Coast. Can’t wait to be immursed into nature and the Atlantic Ocean.