How Can I Stay Positive During infertility?
We feel honored today to be joined by Melissa Sanford, who is a life coach who helps women deal with the emotional ups and downs that come from struggling with infertility issues. Melissa herself is trying to conceive, and has done many years of research on staying positive during infertility.
How can I stay positive during infertility?
There are many ingredients necessary to staying happy and peaceful during infertility. These include fully grieving your losses, pursuing your passions and nurturing yourself and your marriage just to name a few. But the most important thing you can do to stay mentally healthy during fertility issues is manage your thinking. And I don’t mean just walking around trying to think positive thoughts, I mean picking out painful thoughts, questioning them and then consciously replacing them with thoughts that feel better. Here’s how this Notice/Question/Replace process works.
1. Notice what you’re thinking
The first step to staying positive is to actually notice what you’re thinking and find the painful or limiting thoughts. Seems simple, right? Well, it can be tricky to get down to the thoughts at first. If you’re having trouble I recommend first tapping into how you’re feeling. Are you sad, angry, anxious or confused? Your feelings are actually driven by your thoughts. Once you have figured out the feeling, ask yourself why you feel that way and write down any thoughts you uncover. (Note – if you’re feeling great there’s no need to do this work on your thoughts).
2. Question the thought
Step two in the process is to question whether or not the thought is true. It’s simple, but powerful. So, read the thought you wrote down and ask yourself this: “Can I know with 100% certainty that this thought is true?” If your answer is yes, that’s okay. You may really believe it’s true. But oftentimes, the answer to this question will be no. Realizing that your thought is not completely true removes much of its power.
3. Replace it with a true, better-feeling thought
The last step is to replace your thought with a different thought that is true AND makes you feel better. You cannot replace a thought with what you think you should be thinking – that never works. You must choose a replacement thought that you believe and that improves your feeling state.
Let’s look at an example. I had a client who was feeling completely hopeless about her fertility issues. When I asked her why she felt hopeless she answered “Simply put – I’ll never be a mother. My body will never sustain a pregnancy. I’m pretty much not getting the family I dreamed of having.” There were three separate painful thoughts that were leading to her feelings of hopelessness. Let’s plug the first thought into the Notice/Question/Replace process.
Notice – Her painful thought was “I’ll never be a mother.”
Question – When she asked herself “Can I know with 100% certainty that thought is true?” the answer was no. This immediately started shifting her feelings.
Replace – The client chose a replacement thought that was true for her and felt better: “I know I’ll be a mother someday but motherhood may look different then I thought it would.”
This thought work gave the client instant relief as it often does. I use this process daily in dealing with my own infertility and I know it can help you, too. Infertility is a winding road fraught with disappointments, uncertainty and wildly shifting emotions. So, grab a pen and paper and get to work on your thinking – it’s the surest and fastest path to peace.
To learn more about Melissa, and living with peace, joy and abundance in the midst of infertility, see her website: http://findingfertileground.com. Also, be sure to check out her new Fertile Ground Coaching Circle! http://findingfertileground.com/coaching-circle