It appears that both Cathy and I have taken inspiration and insight by books recently and I really enjoyed Cathy’s post last week on the four agreements. Simplicity and self-realisation really are the key to a more fulfilled existence.
That said, it’s so easy to be enveloped in our own struggles, especially with ongoing fertility issues as it can sometimes seem as if there will never be an end to the pain. The longer the struggle, the more part of your life it becomes and the more you surround yourself with people who you can relate to, who understand, who bring you comfort. That’s totally natural and it can be very helpful, however, after 4 years of fertility issues, this week I was given a glimpse of the other side of the coin; what happens when you unexpectantly find out you’re pregnant.
This week, my friend lent me “The Headspace guide to a mindful pregnancy” by Andy Puddicombe and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking to calm their mind and connect with the present whilst trying to conceive or during pregnancy. After reading so many IVF specific books and articles, this book was quite a welcome shift in perspective as it doesn’t focus on IVF at all, but rather groups all pregnant women in the same way; which I guess, we all are once that embryo implants. There’s no difference physically in the process or the development of our pregnancy just because we may have had fertility treatment.
The book touches on subjects that my husband and I have never had to think about and one in particular made me really stop and think: what if receiving the news that you’re pregnant is actually terrifying, unplanned and upsetting?
I sat for a long time on the chapter “Receiving the news” as it really made me think about all the people who are in the exact opposite situation to us; just carrying on with their lives, making plans that don’t involve babies in the immediate future, perhaps struggling to get by financially and then WHAM! they see the double line that all of us crave but to that person or couple, where we would be ecstatic, for them it brings fear, confusion and anxiety.
What difficult decisions they must have to make, how quickly they must have to adjust to the news of their pregnancy and how difficult it must be if the relationship is new or on the verge of ending.
Reading this chapter of the book was the first time I actually felt empathy towards pregnant women. It’s something I hadn’t realised up until that moment that I’ve not been able to do for 4 years, having always thought how lucky they were and how blessed.
Just because someone else has what you want, doesn’t mean they don’t have their own battles to fight and their own anxieties to deal with.
This was a really powerful moment for me and I ran up to my husband and said: “We’re so lucky that we won’t ever have to ever be disappointed by being pregnant”.
Finding this new level of empathy has made me feel like I’ve really unlocked some rooted issues around my thoughts and feelings towards pregnant women and I’m so glad to have found this new perspective as it’s pretty unpleasant to know that you are carrying around some bitterness inside you that you struggle to control.
Andy talks about the 4 foundations of meditation in this book and the one I always have to remind myself of is; Impermanence.
“Everything changes. This is an indisputable fact. Yet so often, we live our lives resisting this simple truth and, in doing so, we cause ourselves a huge amount of stress and heartache. The foundation of impermanence asks us to accept that change is inevitable and that nothing and no one ever stays the same, be it the things outside of us – such as circumstances, family, job, relationship – or the things within us, such as our emotional and physiological state.”
Therefore, we won’t always be struggling, and neither will the unexpectedly expectant women, who are our friends.
Has the notion of changing perspectives and moving away from “the grass is always greener” resonated with you this week? Have you read Andy’s book and found it helpful to shift your own mindset? Wherever you are on your fertility journey, I’d love to hear from you.