“Every journey that leads to the creation of something amazing is going to be tough and filled with many lessons.”
The FU Project
Your baby is not a magic cure for everything wrong in your life.
This was the topic for my latest episode of the FU Project podcast (make that a hyperlink to tinyurl.com/fuproject).
If you're a mother-to-be on a long fertility journey, I want you to try an exercise.
Describe yourself as a mother - or a mother of two, if you already have a little one. How do you act towards yourself, your children, and your partner? How would you describe your energy? What one word would you use to describe yourself? Look in a mirror and make the expression on your face that describes that word.
Now compare the woman you are today to the woman you just described. How is she different? Do you look different, act differently, express your energy differently?
If those two women are similar, it’s possible that you are in a position where you could honestly say that you love your life and yourself as you are today.
If they're very different, I have good news disguised as bad news. The arrival of your baby is not going to make you into the woman you imagined yourself to be. Your baby will not make you happy, nor will she fix your self-esteem or your relationships.
In fact, the birth of your child will make whatever it is you’re experiencing that you think will go away once you have a baby, much worse.
“I didn't have any systems in place, so my anxiety got so much worse. If you think you have fears not getting pregnant, wait until that perfect little baby arrives.” -EP 4 (5:34)
I'm a perfect example.
Before my children were born, when I thought of myself as a mother, I could not imagine that woman without a smile on my face. I would be happy, joyous, and beaming with love. I knew I’d be so proud and happy. Finally. There would be no anxiety and no stress.
In reality, nothing was how imagined it. I certainly looked happy and confident to those around me, but that was because I didn’t want to show any weakness. I was convinced that I could handle everything on my own.
I'm here to tell you that the “guarded do-it-yourself” mentality is stupid, and it comes with costs.
I had chronic stress that I didn't recognize until my fertility journey. The journey itself didn’t give me anxiety, it just dramatically increased the already present anxiety to a tipping point. I had anxiety attacks for the first time during IVF. But I was okay with that because when baby arrived, I would be joyful and peaceful and perfectly happy. Right?
Of course, when baby did arrive, I wasn’t perfectly happy because I didn’t have any systems in place for dealing with fears and problems. My anxiety multiplied.
Constant worrying isn't good for you or anyone else. Put up safeguards to protect yourself.
See, once your baby is born, now you actually have something to fear. Your mind will jump to the worst-case scenarios over nothing. I used to lay awake and think about my daughter going off to college and dying of alcohol poisoning. In 18 years.
This is not a healthy way to live. But it is common.
Women on fertility journeys typically think that pregnancy is an answer to their problems, when in fact it may be the issue.
Although my work does help women get pregnant, the bigger result for my clients is cultivating total love and pride in self. We work on problem-solving so that these women have a system in place when their fears inevitably arrive. I help my future moms de-clutter all the unnecessary junk from their past and begin to love themselves. This transformation of self-love and worthiness is the most important part of my program, and it is so much easier to do before the baby arrives than after. Once baby gets here, if you don't have systems, your anxiety will only get worse.
So, what do I mean by 'systems?’
I help my clients create strategies for dealing with fears, anxieties, and self-esteem issues. Different situations require different tools, so I introduce clients to my AASS - Anti-Anxiety Self Soothers.
My AASS is designed based on what's happening around you, and your response. It is not okay that you have anxiety about your fertility journey, and it is possible to hear about other people's babies and not feel bad about yourself. In fact, becoming aware that you don't have systems in place is the first step in the process.
“The most important part of the program is this transformation of true self-worth, confidence, and problem-solving capabilities.” EP4 (8:33)
If you're looking for a place to start, here are a few ideas:
Consider planning your day so that you use your energy wisely. You have limited energy, and if you're constantly depleting it with no way to restore it, you're far more prone to sickness, stress, and all things unhealthy.
Be sure you intentionally schedule time throughout the day to hydrate, breathe and relax, and move.
Make a list of things that positively shift your energy, and make them available when you need them. Think of things that make you laugh and smile.
Finally, look back at that list you made of things you'll manifest as a mother. Take action every day to become that woman.
Above all, recognize that you need a way to stand up to the stresses and fears that come with your fertility journey and follow these strategies to grow in love for yourself and your life as it is right now. Don’t wait for baby to get here to address your fears and worries. Start working today to become a kickASS mother.