Do I need help or support from someone else?
I continually ask myself this question. When you're feeling your lowest of lows and placing judgement on yourself for those feelings, it can be really hard to break free and rise above. The answer to this question is almost always YES.
Finding support or help from others has been a vital part of keeping my mental state healthy while fighting the ongoing emotional battle that is infertility.
Finding support has been my key to survival.
I found that the emotional stress that I had to encounter along this journey was the absolute hardest part. I could muscle through the physical stuff, like the poking, prodding, surgeries, needles, weight gain, etc. I knew it was temporary and I just needed to get through it. I could just close my eyes and push through. I'm not saying I didn't cry sometimes. And I'm not saying it wasn't hard. I'm just saying, I got through it. It wasn't the worst part.
But the emotional stuff, that shit was fucking unbearable.
Infertility emotions just suck, and I have been through all the feels. Feelings of being broken, alone, angry, ashamed, jealous, guilty, empty, and like a big fat failure. Something in life was constantly reminding me that my illness wouldn't let my body do what it was made to do, or that I....GASP... don't have children yet!
I would find myself constantly comparing our situation to others. Why them, and not us? Why does she deserve a baby, but I don't?
I found myself having very ugly feelings towards women who got pregnant easily. I couldn't bare to be near a pregnant women in the check out line at Target with all her baby purchases. I would get short of breath and need to change lines - or mostly just turn around and say "fuck it, I'll just go buy more wine. And vodka. And Hot Cheetos. And Sour Patch Kids. And mascara. And a fucking throw pillow.".
Throw pillows give me life. #targetyoucompleteme
I was in a dark, dark, sad, place.
I thought I'd never get out.
I let it effect my marriage, my friendships, my career, you name it.
Infertility owned my ass and I hated EVERYONE.
For the longest time, the only person I would open up about it to was my husband and I know this responsibility weighed on him heavily. He, too, was going through his own emotional battle, while trying to ease my pain and dry all my tears along the way. It killed him that he couldn't fix me.
No one could fix me, but me.
It wasn't until I "came out" about my disease that I began to heal. I started seeing a therapist and talking through my feelings. I saw multiple different therapists actually. I was desperate to feel normal again. I got to talk a lot about feelings that I had never said out loud before, which felt good. I never really got any actual "guidance" from therapy, but I was getting it out, and I knew that needed to happen first. One therapist suggested I start journaling about.
So, that's what I did.
Writing was so incredibly freeing. I got to let it all out! It was a place for me to say whatever I needed to say, and no one knew but me and the paper and pen. No one to judge me or make me feel bad for my raw, emotional thoughts.
Then, I started talking to other women who had been through infertility, and learning coping strategies from them. This is where I gained most of my knowledge and started to become stronger mentally. They would validate me, and remind me that all of my feelings were 100% normal. Validation was exactly what I needed! At times, it felt like that was ALL I needed.
Validation took away all my feelings of being alone and ashamed.
Whenever I meet someone who is struggling, I always tell them that the most important thing is your mental health. It's important to know when to take a break from all this. Listen to your gut, you know when you've had enough. Breaks don't mean you are giving up, or that you are weak. You can learn A LOT while on a break. The answers are inside of you, you just have to give yourself a safe place to find them. My place was Thailand, but it could be yoga, the beach, or just taking time off from work, people, etc. Take time to breathe and heal your heart. Allow yourself the time to grieve and give yourself permission to go through whatever emotions come your way. Forgive yourself every damn day if you need to. Ain't nothin' wrong with that!
I recently connected on this topic with a friend of mine, Karlie Everhart, who has a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology. If you know Karlie, you know that just having her in the same room with you can calm your mind. I mean, can't you feel her positive vibes just through this photo?
Gimme all dat Namaste, Karlie!
We sat down to talk about infertility and ended up talking a lot about grief. Although Karlie has not experienced infertility, she had a lot of great tools for coping with grief, shame, anxiety, depression. Basically all the "amazing" emotions that infertility brings.
Insert sarcastic eye roll.
She said something to me that really resonated.
Grief and gratitude are one in the same.
That one statement rang so true for me. I'll admit, I've taken a lot of things in life for granted, but after experiencing the hard road that is infertility grief, I am more grateful now, than I ever could have been otherwise. My grief has taught me to be grateful.
Grief made me grateful.
Without grief, I would not be this crazy level of grateful.
Karlie explained that gratitude has been scientifically proven to:
- Increase happiness
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Increase energy
And I believe it! Once I started looking at my disease as a gift, everything shifted for me. I'm now making t-shirts and mugs that say "Infertility is my Super Power". My warrior girl Katie @hopingforahuntling uses her mug to charge her coffee with extra super powers every day!
Because Infertility is a superpower! It is! I have the most beautiful, happy, joyful life now, because of all the pain I endured.
Pain changed me and I'm grateful for that.
See what I did there?
Your mindset and core belief system about yourself are so important, Karlie has given me tips on how to get through obstacles by setting clear positive visions for myself and incorporating daily affirmations and self forgiveness. It's helped me crash through any negativity blocking my path.
Move bitch, get out the way!
Victoria, you are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are a good wife, sister, daughter and soon to-be mother. Victoria, you are an amazing Dog Mom!
Damn straight I am!
"All my bitches love me. All my, all my bitches love me"
The most important lesson she taught me, is to TRUST.
No matter what you believe in, whether it be God, the universe, or some other entity or being, sometimes we just need to just trust.
Trust, that it will all work out. Trust that things are happening a certain way because it's setting you up for a certain outcome. Trust that it's in the hands of (insert belief) and they have that shit on lock.
I'm learning to do one big Trust Fall into life! Catch me outside universe!
Looking back it's a lot easier to see why things happened the way they did. NOW is my time to enter motherhood, and I'm seizing the fucking day! I shed A LOT of tears, I spent A LOT of money, and I learned A LOT of hard shit, so that now I can share it with all of you!
THAT is my purpose, y'all.
I have decided to team up with the amazing Karlie and put together a very special resource for all my fellow warriors. It just feels like the perfect marriage - with her background in spiritual psychology and coaching, and my real life experiences with infertility, we're going to bringing you some really exciting tools to help you navigate this journey. AND y'all know I ain't sugar coating shit!
Feel free to #trustfall, we gotchu boo!