"I've Lost Myself": How to use Affirmations
When we were going through our first fertility journey I felt like I lost my identity. I lost myself. I lost my sense of self. I used to be a carefree, music-festival-loving, eat-what-I-want, drink-what-I-want kind of girl and I was happy - I thought.
When my sole aim in life became: ‘must get pregnant at all costs’ I became unrecognisable. I changed my lifestyle, my diet, my whole way of life, trying to control an uncontrollable situation. I didn’t eat sugar, I didn’t drink, I cut out dairy - then brought it back in again. I was reading books about the Law of Attraction, writing letters to myself, spending half the time on the phone to the fertility clinic and constantly second-guessing non-symptoms (then losing myself in a rabbit hole of fertility forum threads looking for confirmation that my itchy left knee was indeed an early sign of pregnancy).
I know I’m not alone.
Time and time again I hear the same thing on Instagram:
I feel like I’ve lost myself.
I hate what this experience has done to me.
Infertility has taken so much from my life.
I hear you team. I was there. Really, really there.
But what happened in the end was that I FOUND myself...my true self, my real self, my absolute best, life-loving, confident, kind, creative, motivated and truly content self.
OK sure, I lost the pre-infertility version of myself. That much is true. But truth be told, she wasn’t as happy as she pretended she was. She was woefully lacking in confidence; self-esteem and steeped in a sea of frustration, inertia and anxiety.
Unexpectedly, after about a year and a half of trying to get pregnant, I found a way, way better version of myself.
My infertility experience gave me so much. It gave me drive to discover what I was capable of; purpose to share what I found with others; motivation and, ultimately, every round of treatment that failed actually led me, eventually, to my successful IVF and to my daughter.
But honestly, even without that ending I had already found my best self - before I knew I would have a baby.
About 8 months before our successful IVF, I became deeply aware of my infinite ability to cope, and not only to cope but to thrive. I became someone better, someone so much better: because I was mothering myself.
So, I would not change my experience. I still wouldn’t change it as I go through secondary infertility now. It’s my life and I don’t want to swop my life for anyone else’s. I am worthy and capable and powerful, and so are you.
You can see infertility change you and hate the change. Or you could, gently and with grace, choose to see that although many things are not under your control right now, you can surrender control...and choose not to hate the changes.
You can choose to own it. Because owning it is not fighting it. Owning it is embracing it.
This does not mean that you don’t cry, grieve, scream or throw things...the opposite. You do all of those things too. Go for it.
This does not mean infertility is not one of the hardest things in the world: it is.
This does not mean you are failing right now if you’re feeling like shit: that’s normal and you’re not alone.
This does not mean you should do this all on your own: support is amazing, both professional and from your peers.
TRY THESE REFRAME AFFIRMATIONS
I used to not ‘get’ affirmations. Like, what? You just... say something? Yep.
It’s that simple. They are so powerful if you let them - who knew?! You can call them Growth Thoughts too if you like. Works for me.
I have lost myself
I am finding a new version of myself
I don’t know who I am anymore
I am changing and growing every day
Why is this happening to me?
I am going through something and I am learning
I can’t move on while we’re going through this
I am living my life and looking for the benefits in the changes I’m making
Infertility has taken so much from my life
I am learning so much from this experience
I hate infertility
I accept my current situation
(if this is too hard right now, try ‘I accept that I cannot accept my situation’...this removes the tension)
You can write these down, you can chant them in your head, you can record them on your phone, you can share them on Instagram, you can do whatever you like with them.
You can make your own up too. If a destructive, anxious-making or triggering thought pops into your head, recognise it and see if you can turn it into a Growth Thought instead.
Note: make sure you allow the feeling or thought to exist before you switch it round - there's absolutely nothing wrong with having them in the first place - it's completely normal.
I’ll be live on 6.3.19, 8pm GMT to talk more about all of this. Please join me.
See you then. Alice X
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