For many, the first time we ‘try’ to conceive a baby, naturally or otherwise, can be quite exciting. Hope, optimism and joy abound. The idea that in 9 months or so there might be a ‘mini-me’ joining the family is cause for celebration.
Skip on a few months or years, when trying naturally hasn’t worked and perhaps a round or two of treatment has been unsuccessful. Where is the excitement, the joy, the anticipation?
If you’ve been in this position, it can feel like a wise move to keep excitement in check. It makes sense to avoid daydreaming about onesies and sleepless nights. If we don’t feel the joy, the pleasure, the love that comes when we imagine being parents, the disappointment and heartbreak will be easier to swallow when it comes, right?
It’s true. Shutting down those beautiful feelings of excitement and anticipation helps to lessen the anguish when another IVF cycle is unsuccessful. It can work, to numb our emotions…to stay level headed and measured. We protect ourselves by avoiding the daydreams and reminding ourselves how slim those chances are.
I’ve done it. I’ve made the choice to stay small, to stay closed to possibility and save myself from heartbreak. If I can’t be certain of the outcome, surely it’s wise to avoid all the anxiety that comes with that uncertainty and simply numb my feelings. It’s easier and safer that way.
I’ve learned though, that numbing vulnerability in this way doesn’t just kill the potential pain of loss or failure, it also dulls my experiences of joy, love & creativity. Researcher & Storyteller Brené Brown writes that we cannot numb selectively, if we numb the dark, we also numb the light and I have lived that truth.
I’ve come to a place more recently, where I am choosing to enjoy the process. I’ve given myself permission to get excited about a future pregnancy, to imagine how our home might change with a young un (or two!) running around. I’m willing to let myself enjoy the wishing and the dreaming, in the knowledge that this may mean an increased sense of disappointment if things don’t work out. However, I make the decision to open myself up to disappointment with loving intent. I don’t want to get hurt and I’m not being reckless. My intention now is to enjoy the present moment, to live it fully and embrace possibility.
I’m prepared to take the risk of getting hurt, of being vulnerable. I think it’s worth it. I want to look back on this journey with no regrets, regardless of the outcome. If, someday, our family grows beyond the current unit of 2, I want to look back and smile at the memories I’m making now.I have what it takes to pick myself back up again if I’m knocked down. So do you.
Have you been in this place? Is it scary to even consider the possibility that things might work out? Do you think you can put on your big girl pants and open your heart up to possibility?
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