As my husband and I head in tomorrow to do our initial blood work, I realized all my fears and anxieties that were with me every step of the way last year are reappearing. We thankfully went to our church's Taize service tonight for Maundy Thursday which helped me refocus my energies. I, all of the sudden found myself becoming scared it won't work instead of positive that it might! NOT GOOD! For whatever reason, those feelings of dread starting seeping their way back into my brain trying to bring me down. Well, this time I'm not going to let that happen. It's not about what I did wrong or that I didn't have enough faith. I can't think like that. That kind of thinking inevitably leads to failure. So, with National Infertility Awareness Week coming up next week, I decided to bust a few myths that I've had about infertility as well. Two of them, closely related are that stress can affect your chance of success and you need to pray more or to give it up to God "more" to get pregnant.
Although hard to believe, stress really doesn't play a role in the embryos chances of implanting. Sure it doesn't help us any during the process. It can break us down, make the symptoms of the hormones worse, or make us more on edge, but stressing isn't the deciding factor. I can stress all day long about resting enough or taking it easy. I can worry about what I ate or didn't eat. I can worry about moving too fast or making sudden movements. In the end, none of that matters. If you think about it, women get pregnant all the time without knowing it (which makes me sick to my stomach sometimes). They go on about their daily routines and activities for weeks unaware, exercising normally, jumping at scary movies, playing tug with their dogs and still somehow that little embryo decides to attach without fail. How is it then that during our 2 week wait, we women stress out to the max about every little thing?? Answer: because we're women, first of all, and second, we don't want the failure to be our fault. We also want to be so in control because we already feel taken out of the equation that anything we can do to be a part of the baby-making process, we will do.
I'm already there for our next attempt. I have relieved myself of all work responsibilities, strengthened my spiritual life tremendously, removed most, if not all, negativity I can find from my life and even bought all new items for my bed rest. New sheets, comforter, decorative pillows, blinds, drapes, bed tray tables, books and oh yeah, attitude! Well the last one wasn't bought, but changed over the last year to better suit me. I have done all of the things I can think of so that I can't possibly stress as much as I did last year, right? WRONG. I will, but I have a new solution this time. It's not up to me if I get pregnant. Fortunately, that load has been lifted off of my shoulders. I can relax and meditate and be calm throughout those two weeks knowing whatever path lies ahead, it's going to be okay. It's not about "praying enough". (Myth #2) I hate that terminology. As I have mentioned in the past, you can't pray your way out of situation. You have to pray for the strength to get through it. If there's one thing I have learned in the past six weeks, it's that my faith is not about making all the struggles disappear, but rather seeing me through them and coming out on the other side triumphant in whatever fashion that may be.
I recently held a bible study at my house on Sunday evenings and it happened to be about faith. So I can't take credit for all the wisdom I am about to share. These women have helped me realize so much more than I could have ever imagined and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
1. In whatever storm you are facing, God will either calm you in the storm so you can get through it or you may be the fortunate one that he calms the storm for. For my infertility storm, this next attempt may be the calming of the storm and I may end up successful or I may just need to be calmed period. This may not be my season. Either way, God will see me through. Therefore, I should not stress over it because as we've already learned, it doesn't help or hurt the situation. (so insightful, I surprised myself!)
2. God will give us more than we can handle (miscarriages, numerous attempts at fertility treatments, no ability to conceive, etc) so that we learn to turn and lean on Him. Thanks, Melissa! I have always been a believer of "God will never give you more than you can handle", but now my mentality has completely changed because of that statement and I love my new way of thinking. It's so comforting. For me, I have lost a few friends over the infertility issue, and it's so nice to know that I will always have God to lean on and calm me in a storm.
3. It's not about your faith, it's about God's plan and his path for you. You can have faith and pray until you are blue in the face about what you want. If it's not on his path, it's not going to happen for you. So I just find myself on my knees praying mothering our own children is my path. But guess what, if it's not, I bet motherhood is still on my path somewhere. It could be a little farther down the road or in a way that's not my first choice. Your faith should be based on the right intentions and motives, not because you want something so bad from God that you think your faith will "buy" what you want.
So when my negative feelings returned today, I found myself at church pushing them out of my mind. If it doesn't work this time, I will not take on all of the guilt of it not working. It will not be my fault. I cannot stress over if it will happen because I can't do much to change the outcome. Going into tomorrow knowing the same situations will bring back the flood of emotions I felt last year, I will stay strong in my faith knowing that I am calm throughout my storm. If God then chooses to quiet the storm as well, I will be undoubtedly blessed. Women struggling with infertility have to remain positive no matter how hard that may be. You can't get caught up in the negativity of it being our fault or focusing on the wrong details throughout the process. This is a chance to create lives, sometimes multiple lives with the love of your life. This could be the start of something so beautiful and wonderful. I wouldn't want to look back on this process with negativity and harsh feelings if it turned out to be the time we conceived our child. I would want to celebrate the fact that God created this process to help us achieve our dreams. So bring on the shots! I'm ready!
Here are some links to explain more about fertility and the background of NIAW: