Cultivating Personal Strength and Resilience through Infertility
I’ve always been an early morning person. I love the quiet and the sense of mystery that you find when the world is still slowly waking up. The air is fresh. The sky blushes in soft pastel hues. There is a special kind of peace to its stillness – one that makes me feel grounded and grateful for a little moment to gather my energy before tackling the demands of the day ahead.
My husband and I try to do an early morning nature walk at least three times a week. It’s refreshing to start our day this way, to get our blood flowing and to witness how life gradually returns to our surrounds. Recently, on one of our walks we noticed that blades of young green grass where rising up from the dry black tufts in a field that had been cleared by a fire. It was a striking scene. The contrast of renewed life growing from the scorched earth sparked deep thoughts about resilience, personal strength and the idea of finding the courage to keep growing despite the blows we may have been dealt. It’s so interesting how things happen sometimes, how we all take massive knocks when life get tough and we don’t know how we will survive. Yet, even when you don’t think that you have the strength to, you somehow find a way to move forward and reach beyond the proverbial ashes of defeat or depletion. We go through this so often during our fertility journey and I’ve found that many of women in the TTC (Trying To Conceive) community who I interact with don’t give themselves enough credit for the strength that they’ve showed.
My experiences in the aftermath of my ectopic pregnancy loss four months ago put a lot about inner strength and resilience into perspective for me. The initial weeks post-surgery were quite easily the hardest I’ve had to live through. I felt defeated and honestly thought that I’d never get over the heartbreak. I didn’t know how to lift the relentless and debilitating sadness that permeated everything. It scared me how low I felt. I was frightened that this would be my permanent state of being, and I struggled with the idea of not knowing how to be okay again.
Since it was clear to me that I needed help to move through the depressive and unfamiliar space I felt lost in, I reached out for emotional assistance. I found supportive people to talk to, and I made a conscious effort to take small day-to-day actions that supported my wellbeing. It was hard at first, just breathing felt like a heavy burden. Slowly, the layers of depression began to lift. One day at a time, I found it easier to breathe through the heaviness and putting one foot in front of the other seemed a little less daunting. I felt more able to tackle everyday tasks again. Several weeks down the line, I was overcome by surprise. I realized that I actually felt okay. I was starting to feel strong again and as though the worst was behind me – a place I was so fearful that I’d never get to. It taught me to appreciate the strength in spirit we often take for granted.
How do you cultivate inner strength and resilience when you feel disempowered or discouraged by the curveballs in your path?
A Strategy for Cultivating Personal Strength and Resilience
One approach that I have found very helpful is the following:
When you are feeling at your weakest, take a moment to acknowledge the resilience you’ve already shown on this trying journey. Even when you didn’t feel strong or brave, you’ve managed to keep breathing and take one step after the next to keep yourself moving forward. Facing fertility challenges is an enduring life experience. When the low moments hit and you’re feeling deeply wounded and vulnerable then you can rebuild a more positive and affirming outlook by shifting your attention to what makes you feel strong, self-assured and what feels expansive or empowering.
An insightful article by fertility and birth hypnotist, Ginger Lily (Zoetic Birth & Fertility), says that when you focus your mental energy on identifying with your strengths then “you essentially rewire your brain to see yourself as strong.” Ginger Lily adds that “what you think about and focus on becomes firmly planted into your life.” She says that therefore, when you identify your strength and praise yourself for your resilience, your resilience grows as a result.
So, with that in mind, I invite you to think of a time in your life or a challenging situation where you’ve had to draw on your inner strength to overcome something that felt extremely difficult at the time.
How did you find the courage to do that?
What did it feel like to come through something you thought you may not survive in one piece when you got to the other side of it?
How can you connect with your inner strength and draw those qualities into your current situation?
If you like it, you can write the answers that come up for you down in a journal. That way, you can revisit them whenever you need some encouragement. Remember to acknowledge and honour your inner power and your ability both to survive and thrive in spite of your life’s challenges. Affirm your own strength. This fertility journey isn’t easy and you are an incredibly strong woman in the face of all that you endure and overcome.