“Happiness is not dependent on circumstances being exactly as we want them to be, or on ourselves being exactly as we’d like to be. Rather, happiness stems from loving ourselves and our lives exactly as they are, knowing that joy and pain, strength and weakness, glory and failure are all essential to the full human experience.”Kristin Neff
Living with infertility or pregnancy loss is so hard in every way, and the urge to push these fears and feelings off to another time is an entirely human response. But if we want to give ourselves the best chance of being healthy, balanced, and receptive to whatever the future may bring us, then we must face ourselves and accept our experiences. If we can have the courage to ‘live with the moment’ and embrace both our hardship and our joy, then we are better able to accept the realities of our lives, whatever they may be.
How do we live with the moment when the moment feels overwhelming?
Do we ‘get through it’? I.E. bear down, keep pushing, work harder, tell ourselves that we can take that well-earned rest once we’ve done this one more thing…
Do we accept ‘living with the moment? Recognizing that things will be hard; that pain, disappointment, loss – that these are a reality; and that dealing with things in the moment can free us from carrying the baggage of depression or anxiety…
Often I find myself with the feeling that if I can just get through this next thing, then I can relax and focus on me. I just need to get that promotion. I just need to find the right partner. I just need to get to this next level. And then I’ll be good, then I’ll be happy, then I’ll be ok…
And I go and do the things necessary to accomplish these ‘needs’. I work hard, and I sacrifice, and I push myself. But what I have found when I do put in the effort and achieved my goals – I’m not really any more satisfied for having met that last need. Usually I find that I just have a new need, and bigger need, and I’m really not closer to being better or happier or ok.
Holding onto hope
Often we say ‘I don’t want to get my hopes up,’ but does that really mean: ‘I don’t want to open myself up to disappointment’? Well, that train of thought can really impact our spirit in the moment or day-to-day. Holding onto hope – it helps keep our heart open and our spirit alive. Keeping an open heart in order to recognize and process emotion day-to-day is the most essential lifestyle modification I can encourage for patients.
Living with Intention
TCM is a mind-body medicine. If not properly processed, your emotions will impact your organ systems especially our endocrine and reproductive systems. These sensitive systems depend on the brain for proper hormonal regulation and become desensitized, erratic and/or more vulnerable to stress as we age.
Acupuncture, therapy, exercise, meditation, nutrition, herbal supplements, etc… ALL have significant impact on the emotional effects on the body, but also important is your mindset throughout the course of your day. Like setting an alarm to step away from your work for a stretch or brief walk, or eating mindfully – these thoughtful and engaged choices can really help your stress response and reset your mind and body. Is there a way for me to live with intention, where I’m not simply working through a punch-list of life? Is there a way for me to accept that sometimes I won’t be my best, I won’t always have it all together – that ‘it’ will get done – eventually… but maybe not right now?
Can I give myself permission to just be with the moment? With something like infertility and pregnancy loss, something so big in our lives – sometimes it helps to accept some unknown, accept some chaos, and accept that there will be things in our life that can get put to the side while we embrace the most important things: our health, our peace of mind and our connections with our loved ones.