Kindess Fertility

Monday Musing

Kindness is one of my core values.

Its one of those things that is so easy to give, and it cost you nothing, but is worth more than money can buy.

Often we aren’t kind enough to ourselves or to others.

I invite you to join me this week in inviting kindness into our hearts by finding a way each day to do something kind for yourself, and something kind for someone else – I bet we all will feel better for it!

Have a great week 🙂

 

Stuck in Fertility Issues

Feeling STUCK in Fertility Issues

Do you ever have those moments where you stop and take a look at your life…..and realise it is totally different from how it was a short time ago?

When you do how does it make you feel?

I had one of those moments at the start of the year. I was, lets face it, foul at the time. I just felt so STUCK and miserable that my body ached with it. I was finding it hard to find the joy in things.

It stretched across my whole life – work, diet, exercise, family, friends. It was the most exhausting experience I have ever had, I felt so heavy, so trapped.

I spent time waiting for things to shift, for something, anything to happen to ease the pressure and despair I was feeling. Then it dawned on me – the power to make change was entirely with me.

If I waited for something/someone else to make those changes for me I would be waiting for a long time!

Stocktake

I did an audit – the version of me before I started TTC and the version of me now.

Here’s what I discovered – my life had done a 180 degree shift.

In my misery I had thought I’d find this a bad thing, but on balance, it wasn’t.

I’d been lamenting all the woes of life from TTC. I was playing the role of the victim, thinking about the costs of infertility.

When I stopped to think about it though I realised in a lot of ways (lack of baby aside) I was much better off. Sure some of the changes and the losses are hard- very hard! – but I’ve grown a lot from them.

There was things I thought I was missing (eg getting roaring drunk) that I’ve realised (by experiencing them again) I don’t actually miss at all.

I also realised that the things I really did miss were within my control to bring back into my life.

Carefreeness came to mind. Passion. Self-love and acceptance. Flexibility. Fun. Holidays and a fruity cocktail at sunset on a warm night.

Who says infertility and these things need to be mutually exclusive??

So I set about trying to reclaim the things on that list.

I discovered the negative self-beliefs and limiting behaviours I’d attributed to my fertility challenges actually existed well before they began – I had just applied them in my life in different ways.

A baby might placate them but won’t stop them coming up again – I needed to work on the issues beneath the issues, and in doing so I knew I’d improve my life on all levels, including my ability to cope with my fertility struggles.

Learnings that have helped when I am feeling stuck:

That those moments where you feel the most stuck are the ones where you are on the cusp of the biggest transformations

If you can find the courage to take the leap and find them! Its ok to have bad days, bad weeks – it’s what you do next that matters!

That it is ok to make mistakes- no one is perfect.

The need to get things just right before taking action leads to spending a lot of time either procrastinating, gathering information or disappointing yourself.

When we take action and try something we gain confidence to try more things and we learn and improve through our experiences! Motion is emotion – we feel better when we are doing something!!

There is no such thing as failure!!

When things don’t go to plan I get a chance to grow. I know what not to do now…it has taught me about what to avoid next time I try! After all, as Albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing exactly the same thing over again and expecting a different result!

What are your tips for moving forward when you feel trapped by your fertility journey?

Fertility face the impossible -find the soltuion

Monday Musings

This quote struck a chord with me this week.

We had more discouraging test results last week, and I’ll admit I let them get to me for awhile.

Sometimes you can see things mounting up in front of you and it can seem impossible to over come them…

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the task in front of you – especially when the odds keep stacking against you.

When faced with this we have the choice to say either:

“Its too much, its impossible, I can’t go on…. so I give up”

OR

“Impossible just means we haven’t found the solution yet!”

I know which choice I am making!

How about you??

Chase the impossible this week until it becomes POSSIBLE!

Happy Monday 🙂

 

Judgement in Fertility Struggles

I Won’t let Judgement Rule My Fertility Struggles Anymore

Being judgemental is something that is easy to do. I judge you, you judge me, and most of all we judge ourselves.

We don’t always like to admit it, but we all do it.

Sometimes judgement can be a good thing…we can make positive judgments! Too often it can be a self-destructive or cruel.

Often we don’t realise the impact that what we think has on others. Or on ourselves.

We forget that everyone else, just like us, has a fundamental fear of not being good enough, not fitting in, not being liked.

Reality is, sometimes being judgemental feels good. Up there on your high horse, you get the satisfaction of thinking you are better than someone else in that moment or situation.

But are you really?? Do you need that sort of validation to feel good??

What has being Judgemental cost me??

Judgement has been a theme for me in my fertility challenges. I judge myself heavily. I’ve then judged others – you’re not doing this or that as well as me!!! – to justify my behaviour.

I realised I’d developed a pattern where I was either being too hard on others or too hard on myself.

I’d become convinced unless I was ‘perfect’ I would never get pregnant. But then I’d be ‘perfect,’ get so strict with myself, do every step just right…and still not get pregnant!!

It’s not sustainable behaviour so eventually I’d go totally the other way, then punish myself for that….and cycle around again.

Instead of validating myself in a reasonable way, and sorting out the emotional stuff going on underneath, I found I was either silently judging you or silently judging myself.

On closer examination I was really trying to drown out that little voice in my head saying ‘you are not good enough no matter how hard you try’.

I’ve realised being judgemental is that it is something I do when I feel afraid, insecure or limited in my beliefs.

What Is The Key to breaking the Judgement Cycle?

For me it’s this:

Getting to the heart of the matter.

Fertility challenges can over take your life. They can peel back the layers of the onion to the very core of your deepest insecurities.

On our worst days we judge ourselves heavily for these.

On even worse days these are hard to admit to ourselves so we cover them up, instead judging others for things we think will make us feel better.

When I find myself feeling judgemental I now:

Look in the mirror 

When you judge others you are often judging yourself!

If ever I find myself judging someone else I ask – what is really behind this?

Spend time looking at the belief’s I’ve developed or uncovered about myself – good and bad.

Then I look at the actions I am taking to reinforce those beliefs.

What I might need to change about those beliefs and behaviours that don’t support me and the person I want to be?

This can be confronting but also completely liberating!

Choose to shift my focus

We forget that we have the ability to choose how we feel about this, and about ourselves. We can choose:

  • What we believe about ourselves,
  • What meaning we assign to the things that happen,
  • The actions we take

What we think, we become – a choice to make a simple, deliberate shift in focus makes all the difference.

Choice brings such freedom. Choice and Freedom. Two things that until now felt so rare in my fertility struggles!

Is it that simple???

My answer is yes!

What is challenging is remembering that it is that simple.

The path to self-acceptance is a rocky road. I know I have days where I stumble…but I like understanding why and how I can work on it.

How do you cope with feeling judgemental while going through your fertility challenges?

 

Thoughts shape who you become

Monday Musing

I think this is so powerful!!

What we think really does shape who we become. Ironically we often don’t put enough thought into what we think.

We spend a lot of time deciding that the outside world shapes us and creates our experiences, when really it is us, and our thoughts that do so.

So make your thoughts count this week (and every week to follow!) –  think like the person you want to be, the person who is and has the things you want to have!

Have a GREAT week! 🙂

xx

 

Miscarriage aftermath

What Happens After a Miscarriage??

Last week I spoke about what I wish I knew when I was when facing my first pregnancy loss.

Today I’d like to talk about something I think is equally important and not often discussed – the aftermath of a pregnancy loss.

As the miscarriage process was playing out I didn’t think about ‘what next’.  The now was so hard it felt impossible to look forward.

When the ‘what next’ become the ‘now’ I again discovered things I wish I knew beforehand…

So What Can Happen After A Pregnancy Loss?

Hormonal Crashes!!

This was a major one for me, so much so I call it the BIG CRASH!!

When you fall pregnant adjusting to the surge of new hormones gives you all those wonderful symptoms. When you lose a pregnancy your body again needs to adjust to sudden hormonal changes, which can cause a whole other bunch of symptoms.

Think PMS on steroids…..

It can hit you like a wrecking ball!!

This may differ for everyone but both times it took about a week after the loss for my body register it was no longer pregnant.

When my body let go of all the pregnancy hormones I had a total collapse.

I felt hollow like someone had scooped my insides out with a spoon. It was so hormonal that I was unable to stop crying and my whole body ached with it.

The first time it happened it took me by surprise and was so out of character that it was terrifying (for my husband as well!!). I thought I’d lost my marbles!!

With my second loss this crash was still bad but I knew it was coming, and would pass, so I was prepared for it.

More Hormonal Crashes!!

Again this might differ for everyone but for the following two to three months, I had mini-crashes that hit me out of no-where.

In hindsight these were mostly timed with hormonal shifts in my cycle – ovulation, cycle end and so on.

They were not on the scale of the BIG CRASH but they were definitely storms to ride out…

Cycle Changes

Some people bounce straight back. Others take awhile.

My doctor told me to expect my first cycle after the loss anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.

It can be a tough wait not knowing when things will revert back to normal, especially if you are keen to get back onto trying ASAP.

I found it reassuring to know that if it took awhile that was normal – remember your body is grieving the loss too, and taking time to heal!

My Advice to Coping with a Miscarriage

Let yourself grieve in the way that feels natural to you.

There is no right or wrong here. You feel how you feel.

I did things like:

  • Wrote a letter to my babies
  • Spoke with friends who had experienced miscarriage
  • Cried on my husbands shoulder for hours
  • Wrote in a journal
  • Meditated
  • Yoga

Find what feels good for you and go with it.

Give yourself time and space.

This is both a physical and mental ordeal. Don’t underrate that. Take the time to rest and recover, give yourself space to collapse if you need to.

Accept it might take time to feel human again.

The grief process in any situation is around 3 months. For some it might be shorter, for some longer – again there is no right or wrong.

I was hard on myself about still feeling so sad a few months after my first loss. I know now this was perfectly ok.

I certainly wasn’t helping by having an expectation on how long I should feel crappy for!!

What advice would you offer to those who are recovering from a pregnancy loss?

 

 

Pregnancy Loss Miscarriage what to expect

What Really Happens with a Miscarriage??  

Losing a pregnancy is an experience I would never wish on anyone…. but I do know that if it does happen to you it helps to know you are not alone.

I’m still surprised when I speak about my losses at how many other people then share a similar experience. Despite miscarriage being common it’s still not something we openly talk about, especially the finer details.

As a result there is not a lot of information out there about what it is really like.

Some things I didn’t know before my losses:

A miscarriage is often not something that happens quickly.

There is definitely that moment where you hear the dreaded news that your pregnancy is not going to make it – but its rare that in that exact moment the loss actually occurs. Often you then wait – for your body to let go of your baby naturally or for an operation to help that process along.

That wait can go on for days or even weeks

This part is very hard. It’s the worst kind of limbo – you can’t move forward and you can’t go back. I felt afraid to leave the house in case the miscarriage suddenly started, and was scared, angry and sad all at once.

Often Doctor’s aren’t forthcoming about exactly what is going to happen physically, at least not to the level of detail you might want at that time.

Both times all I was told was to go just home, expect to start bleeding soon and to come back in a week for a blood test to confirm I was no longer pregnant.

My losses were ectopic’s so I ended up requiring surgery, as such I can’t personally speak to a ‘natural’ miscarriage. Honest chats with people who have endured this have revealed there is a lot more to it than my Dr told me!

I recently read an article about a woman’s experience of miscarriage that laid it all bare. It’s not an easy read, but I think these are important stories to share – if you are interested click here.

So what advice would I offer to those who are facing a miscarriage?

  1. Ask Questions. I was guilty of hearing the news, and – as I was in shock and devastated – just going home. Not wanting to bother people or come off as stupid I didn’t call my Doctor back to say um…what is actually going to happen?? What’s normal? What should I be concerned about?
  2. Educate Yourself. If you are worried about it and you are the type of person who would rather be forewarned as to what might occur I recommend talking to, or reading forums/blogs from, others who have been through the same thing
  3. Don’t Feel like You Have to ‘Just Solider On’. A pregnancy loss is hard both physically and emotionally. It’s difficult if you don’t want to share with work or family and friends that this is happening, but you need to make time and space to grieve and heal.
  4. Don’t Bottle It Up. Find something that feels comfortable for you – talk to your partner, your friends, get on forums/chat to others who have had the same experience, talk to a counsellor, your doctors, write a journal or a letter to your baby…just get it out!

Like so many things on the pathway to pregnancy there is no silver bullet to coping with a pregnancy loss.

You just have to muddle your way through until you find a way out the other side of it – or as someone said to me “just keep breathing until you feel alive again”. And trust me you do eventually- even if it takes awhile!

What are some of the things you wish you knew before your pregnancy loss that might have helped you cope better when it happened?

Reflexology Guide Fertility

Hump Day Hints – Reflexology

There are many unpleasant things you can be faced with when “trying new options” to increase your chances of getting pregnant!

Reflexology, I promise you, is not one of them!

What is Reflexology and how might it help fertility?

Reflexology is basically a massage which involves applying pressure to areas of the feet, hands and ears. These areas are thought to align with certain organs in the body, helping to improve circulation, remove stagnation and inflammation.

I’d read a few studies that said that Reflexology might have some benefits for enhancing fertility – in particular for:

  • Increasing blood flow to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • Helping to balance hormones by focusing in on areas of the endocrine system
  • Stress Reduction

I am a big fan of a massage, I thought – what can it hurt to try it?

In amongst all the tablets and invasive treatments I figured – at worst it will be a haven of time to pamper myself with the placebo feeling of “I am doing it for enhancing my fertility”…and at best, it might actually work! 🙂

So I found a practitioner who worked at a clinic specialising in fertility and pregnancy massage and started a course of treatments.

Reflexology is a bit like peeling back the layers of an onion. The points on my feet that hurt like nobodies business in the first few sessions suddenly felt great in subsequent sessions. Then other areas started to ache instead.

After about 5 sessions it just felt great all over, and so did I! I found it fascinating to learn what parts of the body those sore spots were linked to!

Sure enough, within a few months I fell pregnant for the first time – naturally!

Now I’m not saying this was all down to Reflexology…. but I certainly feel it was part of the equation.

It definitely, in conjunction with acupuncture and diet, played a role in regulating my hormones and helping my body to feel more balanced. I think a big factor was stress relief and some dedicated “me-time”.

It felt good to be doing something nice for my body and my soul!

So if you are looking for something different – and enjoyable for a change! – to try as part of changing up your fertility enhancement routine it might be worth a look!

Unless you hate people touching your feet it can’t hurt right?? 😉

 

Infertility Blame for couples

The Infertility Blame Game

When experiencing fertility issues the topic of blame comes to light eventually.  You are doing everything you can but its still not happening for you so you begin to search for a cause, a cure!

Sometimes that finds something quickly – ah ha! – but other times it turns up nothing – unexplained infertility. Either way we search to assign reasons as the unknown is much harder. And often with assigning reasons comes assigning blame.

  • Self-blame
  • Blaming your partner
  • Blaming your genetics
  • Blaming your miss-spent youth!

It’s a slippery slope.

Self-blame is something I think women in particular do very well. I know I have.

See in our case, on paper, a lot of this trouble we are experiencing is technically down to me. Hubby is already blessed with a healthy child, and all his test results come back with flying colours. Me – I’ve uncovered a laundry list of fertility impediments- blocked tubes, endo, MTHFR gene issues, natural killer cells…

I remember just after we’d had a million tests done I was getting what felt like daily letters to say something else was deficient. Hubby finally got one (turns out to say, of course, that his chromosome studies were perfect!) and I caught myself for a moment feeling almost hopeful that there might be something small wrong with him too so I didn’t feel like it was all on me!!

Bad wife!!! 😉

Of course I don’t actually want anything to be wrong with my wonderfully perfect husband! I love him and I’m blessed he is so healthy. And the less problems to overcome the better!

I think that feeling I had is a symptom of the fact that the reality is its not nice (whether its you, your partner or a combination of you both) to be at the root of the ’cause’. No one wants to feel that they are the blocker to their own dreams as well as someone else’s.

So what’s my advice to beat the infertility blame game?

Accept, as my wise husband says, that infertility is a couples issue not an individual issue.

Regardless of whether one of you has a clear cut issue or not conception takes two, you are a team. It is the responsibility, experience and dream of both of you. Your setbacks, losses and wins are all shared, no matter what the origin.

Look after your relationship!

Blame is hard on both sides. It hard if you are blaming yourself, if you are feeling (true or not!) like you are being blamed, and if you are the one directing blame. Blame can get self indulgent – and sometimes devalue how hard it is for the other party – and it can get nasty. If you find it sneaking in, talk it out!! Don’t let it fester.

Focus on the solution, not the problem.

It’s important to know what you are up against, especially if there is specific medical issues that need to be overcome…but if you spend too much time wallowing in all the “whys??”  and “who’s” then you lock yourself down into that version of yourself – you start to view yourself as broken.

A big thing for me has been owning my situation and accepting it just is what it is. I’ll probably never know exactly why. I needed to draw a line in the sand, and start from there. Blaming myself was taking energy away from things I can change going forward and anchoring me to things I couldn’t change, making me feel disempowered and negative.

My body is not broken, its strong and amazing and deserves my respect, support and trust.

How have you coped with the infertility blame game?