Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Control, Confidence, Clarity & Calm
I’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to women tell me about their fertility problems, as well as reflecting on my own fertility journey. It has become clear to me that there are four key areas where women struggling with infertility need extra support. I call them “The 4 Cs,” and they are control, confidence, clarity, and calm.
A lot of women find that once they’ve received a diagnosis of infertility, life feels a lot like everything is spiraling out of control. Most immediately comes the realization that motherhood is not just around the corner as you had thought it was. Then relationships with friends, family, and even partners often change. Time-consuming, sometimes confusing, occasionally heartbreaking, and always expensive doctor appointments and treatments then get added to the mix. And to top it all off, treatments often require hormones that throw you totally off balance. Out. Of. Control.
Nothing can shake your confidence in yourself quite like having the word “infertility” handed to you. Most of us spend the first part of our lives assuming that when the time is right, having some fun unprotected sex a couple of times will get us that baby. It’s a pretty unpleasant surprise when you learn that’s not the case! But there can also be other insecurities too. Maybe you’re concerned you won’t be a good mother. You might fear that your body will never be the same again after you have a child. Or maybe you simply can’t imagine how you will ever find the strength to deal with your fertility problems.
Navigating fertility problems can sometimes feel like swimming underwater in a muddy lake: it’s really hard to see where you’re going. Sometimes the problem is that you don’t have enough information and you’re trying desperately to figure out the problem. Other times the problem is too much information. This is especially true when Dr. Google has been called in to give a second, third, and fourth opinion, right?!
You’re feeling out of control, your confidence is shaken, and you’re having trouble figuring out what to do next. What does that all add up to? If you answered “lots of stress”—ding-ding-ding—you guessed it! There’s just stress on top of stress, and excess stress is definitely an enemy of fertility. (You can read more about that here.)
So what on earth is a gal to do?
Here are a couple of relatively simple things you can do to start your journey to recapture the 4Cs:
Let’s do some writing!
Get a piece of paper and write down all the things that worry, upset, or bother you regarding your fertility. This list should include the really big things like, “I’m scared I might never become a mom,” as well as the somewhat smaller things like, “I get upset every time I’m out and I see a pregnant woman.”
Once you’ve finished your list, look back at each item and decide if:
a) you definitely have the ability to do something about it,
b) you’re not sure if you can do anything about it, or
c) you know that you definitely can’t do anything about it.
This exercise helps you regain both control and clarity. Control comes from knowing exactly what you are, and are not, able to influence. Once you recognize that some things are beyond your power to change, you can stop worrying about them! Clarity arises because you can start making an action plan of all the things you can do to help yourself out.
Create your personal mantra.
This exercise is all about confidence. Using the list you created above, think about where you need the most support and confidence-boosting. Then come up with a positive phrase that reinforces the attitude and mindset you’d like to have. Some examples might include:
“I am a complete person with or without children.”
“My partner will always think I’m the hottest, most amazing woman s/he has ever slept with.”
“Eventually I will become a mother, one way or another.”
Put your new mantra someplace where you’ll see it several times during the day, and make it a point to repeat it to yourself as often as you can.
Is it cliché? Totally. Does it work? Totally.
Spending some time each day connecting with your breathing can do wonders to help you find a sense of calm. You don’t have to have some fancy meditation ritual. All you need are a few minutes during each day where you can sit quietly and pay attention to your breathing. If that sounds impossible to you, here are a couple of simple imagery suggestions to go with your breathing:
Let your mind wander off somewhere scenic and beautiful. Beach, forest, mountains, real or imaginary—doesn’t matter, as long as it’s someplace where you know you would feel relaxed. Stay in this place as long as you’d like, and come back whenever you wish!
Make a mental map of your body and how each part of you is feeling. Do you have any aches or pains? Tightness or tension? Can you use your breath to alter these feelings?
If you try any of these strategies, I’d love to hear how they work for you. And if you’re interested in more ways to increase your control, clarity, confidence and calm, all while boosting your fertility, send me an email and we’ll set up a time to chat.