Ep. 75 Dealing With Infertility
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It seems like everyone knows someone who has experienced a struggle with infertility -- or maybe you have struggled with it yourself. In this episode, Kristin shares her experience dealing with infertility along with some thoughts on how to manage it, as well as what someone can do to help a loved one struggling with it.
Here’s what we talked about:
The best thing you can offer someone going through infertility
Why a trial that seems so wrong is actually the most right thing for us
What makes acceptance so much more powerful than resistance
Why Kristin doesn’t like the idea of “battling” infertility
Specific things to say and ways to offer help
How the hard stuff in life allows for connection and compassion
Links Mentioned In This Episode
Kristin’s blogpost - What I would tell an infertile woman
Kristin’s blogpost- What seems wrong is actually the most right
Kristin’s blogpost- How to feel protective of my suffering
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Recap of Episode
Thinking about Infertility Differently
Stop Resisting what seems “wrong”
That was my most painful thought throughout the whole process: “It shouldn’t be like this.” It was the resistance of what was.
It seemed so wrong, that I couldn't get pregnant, it felt like I had missed something really important. It was like we’re all in this course of study and everybody had moved on to the next level and I was still stuck in the pre-baby stage. And I missed something along the way, like I just got kind of skipped over.
Later, I discovered that I could think about it a different way.
That the thing that seemed wrong (not being pregnant) was actually exactly the trial for me. And instead of missing the course of study that everybody else was doing, it was actually this personalized curriculum, this very special class for me to go through to figure out what my purpose was, to figure out what I wanted from my life, and to think about my entire spiritual life.
What if this thing, this really hard thing was sent perfectly shaped for you to be the kind of person that you can be -- and you're battling against it?
Your Personalized Curriculum
The last month I've been diving into my scriptures and learning more about God and how he connects with us. It's always very personal, very individual. And nobody's curriculum is exactly the same. Because we all learn differently and we all experience things differently. So to think of it that way it really can be uplifting and empowering. It can give you a little more confidence in your trial, when you realize this is your own personalized curriculum just for you…. Sometimes we think of it as a punishment, but really it's always out of love.
How to manage your emotions about your infertility
Now I kind of look at my infertility and think of it like this little sad creature, as if it’s something I could hold in my hands and say, “Oh, it's okay. I'll let you be here with me, because you have something to teach me.” And it's not something I need to rip out of me and throw as far away from me as I can get it. I can kind of take care of it and accept it. I can let it be part of me, even though it's painful and thorny and unpleasant, sometimes/most of the time/all the time.
I think an important part of the process is making sure that you're processing all your feelings as you have them.
I think the part that compounds those hard feelings, like sadness and anger, is when you add extra drama on top of it. There’s the mental chatter that comes on top of the feelings that are already part of the trial. (There’s the feeling and then there’s the judgmental thoughts about the feeling either directed towards yourself or others.)
If you knew for certain that what you wanted was on the way, how would you feel and act right now?
You can feel however you want about the whole thing, including being sad.
How to Help a Loved One Facing Infertility
Don’t try to relate specifically or tell them about somebody you know who struggled with that and now has 5 kids. Instead…
Connect with them without giving them advice
Everyone has something hard in their lives. I might not know specifically what it's like to go through those things. But now that I know what it is to suffer over something, I can connect with them. I can have a conversation with them and be connected on an emotional level that I wouldn't have been able to before.
It’s the hard things that connect us and pull us together.
Instead of offering them advice, what could YOU do to lessen their stress?
Be very specific in your offers to help.
One great idea is to give them a list of options to choose from!
Here’s an example:
“I’d love to help you in some way. I could:
Come over and babysit
Come over and chat
Bring you cookies/ice cream/brownies
Bring you dinner
Clean your kitchen
Fold your laundry
Take you to a movie to distract you
Get pedicures with you
Go to dinner
Choose any of these that sound good or think of something else that you want right now and I will do anything that you need!”
A few things you could say via text or in person
That must be so frustrating.
It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling.
I know what it's like when it feels like nothing is working.
I had a friend who went through a similar experience with infertility, and I saw how hard it was for her. I'm so sorry you're facing that too.
Want More On The Topic?
Then you’ll love reading Kristin’s blogpost - What I Would Tell an Infertile Woman
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