I liked this article on "Finding Meaning On Your Fertility Journey" because half or more of the article is questions.
Finding Meaning On Your Fertility Journey by Sue Dumais. According to her blurb Ms. Dumais is "a founder of Family Passages Mind Body Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is the author of "A Strong Core for Life," and "Yoga for Fertility Handbook."
I don't know if there's any point to this, but I thought I'd answer the questions now, and then it might be interesting to try to answer the questions again at some point in the future (perhaps during one of the interminable periods of waiting that accompany IF/IF treatments) and compare.
Step 1: Creating Awareness
1. What is your biggest fear regarding your fertility?
Here they are in approximate order of scariness to me (most scary on top, less scary down below)
I ranked some as less scary mostly because I am less worried about them happening, relatively speaking. In other words, I am less scared because I consider that outcome less likely.
a) that the fertility issues are more complicated than we currently know; that a bunch of additional issues (with me or Mr. Turtle) will emerge as we do more testing.
b) Treatments will fail
c) high risk pregnancy - either higher order multiples or just complicated. Maybe leading to baby loss.
d) that IF will affect our relationship negatively
e) that we won't be able to have a genetically related child
f) that other people in our extended family will have children easily in the next few years, and IF will affect our feelings/relationship with that family if we can't conceive a child.
g) that the struggle to have a child will leave us so depleted we will have a hard time being parents to that child when he/she does come
Hmm, before I started to list them, I didn't think I had that many fears.
2. What part of your fertility experience feels most out of your control?
Not knowing the timeline or what will happen when. Wondering if I can cope with the physical/emotional fallout of ART. Wondering how this will all fit (or not fit) into the rest of my life (professional and personal).
3. Do you blame yourself or others for your fertility challenges?
No, I don't. I know Mr. Turtle has and is doing everything he can to be in the best of health. He didn't choose his condition. I accept that both intellectually and emotionally.
4. If you were to guess why this is happening to you, what is your best guess?
I don't think there's any cosmic reason why this is happening to me (us). The only reason I can think of is that bodies aren't perfect. Sometimes things don't work the way they are supposed to.
Step 2: Practicing Acceptance
1. Do you believe that everything you have experienced in your life so far has influenced who you are today?
Yes. I have always looked for and found meaning in my life.
2. Have you experienced moments of hindsight that helped you find meaning to a situation from your past?
3. To what extent can you make peace with your past?
I am at peace with my past.
4. To what extent can you accept your fertility journey?
So far, I can accept it most of the time. But I also haven't gone through that much, relatively speaking. I can accept that this is my reality, that I won't have children without following a certain path, which is not the path I would have chosen if I had my 'druthers.
Step 3: Be Curious
1. When you reflect on your fertility journey what is one thing that you learned about yourself or your life that you wouldn’t have otherwise learned?
Hmmm. I don't know if I've really learned anything new, but it's reinforced that you really can't take anything for granted. Everything that one person considers "normal" is something that another person spends years or a lifetime trying to achieve.
2. What is one thing you are grateful for? This question can be difficult at first but take your time. For example, I am grateful for my husband and the unconditional love and support he continues to give me.
Oh gosh, I'm grateful for so many things. For a loving husband who can share the good things of life with me, and the tough ones. That we have been responsible with our money and can cope with the cost of ART. That technology exists that can potentially help us. For good health.
3. If you were to look back and discover a “gem” that came from your fertility journey, what would that be?
I don't know about gems, but it's been eye-opening to discovering all the stories and support online.
The next section, Step 4, Holding FAITH is not questions but a series of statements. Ms. Dumais says:
How do you hold FAITH regardless of what happens around you? To me FAITH stands for Finding Answers In The Heart. Most people are capable of answering questions from both the head and the heart. Answers from the head are based on logic and reason. They are highly influenced by what others think along with your own thoughts and beliefs. When you answer from your heart you tap into your emotions and intuition. The heart is the place within you that knows without thinking. This is where you will find wisdom and guidance that will help you on your path. FAITH can guide you in making decisions and help you hold onto your vision no matter what happens around you.I copied them here and then thought I'd make a note on how each doesn't or doesn't speak to me right now.
Here are some affirmations that may help. Choose the ones that resonate deep within your heart and repeat them as often as you can. It helps to put up reminders such as sticky notes or wear a bracelet. For an affirmation to be effective you need to connect to the emotions behind the words.
1. Even though I don’t understand I know in my heart that one way or another, I will be a Mother/Father.
I still have my doubts, I admit. I try to think of myself as a mother, and as Mr. Turtle as a father, to keep that space in my heart open. But it doesn't feel real yet. I think that I assumed I would start to feel like a mother when I fell pregnant, and now that we have to jump hurdles for that to (hopefully) happen, I'm not sure what's going to make me feel like a mother.
2. I am open and curious. I am willing to see this situation in a new light.
Yes, I am a pretty open and curious person. I am able to see myself and Mr. Turtle as characters in an unfolding plot, with choices to make and points of view to express, and things to learn. I've certainly learned a lot about reproduction, and it's fascinating.
3. Even though my path is different than I thought it would be, I hold faith that my dream is possible.
Yeah, I think so. I haven't gone through much shit yet, so I don't know how strong this faith REALLY is. But so far, feeling OK.
4. I make peace with my fertility and I am grateful for the gems it has brought to my life.
I accept that I have to follow a certain path. The path still scares me and the things that can hypothetically go wrong scare me. However I have confidence that we can handle ART. I don't think I've gotten any gems of experience yet. Just weariness and suspense. And some education.
5. I trust that everything is happening for a reason. I am open to discover meaning and peace.
I don't think things happen for reason. I think things happen, and it's our choice how we make meaning out of them. I don't believe in a cosmic plan. But in our minds, we can find reasons for things.
6. I invite my baby into my heart and into my life. I know my baby will come when it is meant to be.
I hope so. Like I said before, I don't believe in a cosmic plan. I hope that there's a bigger chance the baby will come than that the baby won't, but that also depends on a lot of factors that we just aren't aware of right now. Maybe we will never understand it all. I believe we have the knowledge and resources to maximize our chances of having a child and choose/change to the path that will give us the best chance.
7. All is well. I hold my vision of Motherhood/Fatherhood no matter what.
I don't like this one because "no matter what" is just scary. I can think of too many "no matter what's." Not really comforting.
8. It is possible! My dream is possible and I hold FAITH no matter what.
I would rather say, I will hold faith as long as it makes sense, and in a way that makes sense. Faith is good but at some point faith and reality need to have a heavy date and get nakedly honest with each other.
9. I trust that everything is happening with divine timing.
As previously stated, I don't believe in a cosmic plan, nor that God personally directs our lives (I think He/She takes interest in our choices) so this one is not overly useful to me.
Signing off, Turtle