Making Decisions About Joy

Infertility is the thief of joy. Or so it seams. The emotional pain of infertility cannot be denied. Investing so much of your heart and soul into the dream of having children is bound to feel raw when that vision isn’t fulfilled.

Emotional pain, also known as suffering, is something we know all too well if we’ve struggled with infertility. Thinking that this will be the month only to find out once our period arrives that it is not, comes with a kind of soul crushing weight that only deep dreams can press upon us. 

But are you willing to be in the space of suffering indefinitely? When there is no clear end in sight to the infertility road we end up being distressed travelers with every element of the process. We are consumed by actions caused by the emotional pain we’re wading through.

Worrying that you can’t control what is happening.

Fussing about what is happening.

Fretting about what might happen. 

The good news is that you don’t have to live in that space one minute longer than you want to. 

But you must choose to leave it behind. 

I know sometimes we want to carry the badge of our burdens and hardships. As if the number of years you’ve been trying to conceive will make a difference in the end.

It will not. 

What does matter is the amount of emotional pain you plan to put yourself through. Or rather, not put yourself through until you reach your goal. 

As part of your human experience you are meant to feel both joy and pain, in equal proportions throughout life. None of us, even those that don’t struggle with fertility, get by unscathed by those ratios. 

So with as much emotional pain as we put ourselves through with infertility, why are we choosing to leave so much joy on the table?

We think we are entitled to our suffering and that we must go through it. 

No. That is not true. 

As the saying goes: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Here’s my take on it. Anticipate the pain and learn to allow it. Your brain is going to offer up so many thoughts about everything you are going through which are going to lead to painful emotions. 

That’s okay. In fact, that’s good. It means your brain is operating correctly.

But here is where you have to step in and guide it. Your brain will want to live in the space of suffering indefinitely. You must actively choose to not let it stay there. You must learn how to recognize this and step in to put an end to it when it is going on. 

You have to befriend your own brain. I’m serious. You have to get to know it so well that you can anticipate what it is going to do, and then step in when you want it to do something differently. I know that sounds a little crazy, but it is true. You have to actively be the one guiding your thoughts to change your life and to make the decision about experiencing joy. It is the only way you will get there during infertility. 

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Infertility Mental Health Checklist

Managing your mental health during infertility can be a challenge. With this checklist, you’ll learn nine tools to help you get through the struggle with your sanity.