Stop the Whiplash

After all of the stress of the past year, everyone feels that the start of this new year would be the light at the end of the tunnel. We have had enough stress, heard enough horror stories, and felt enough sadness for a lifetime. If you are trying to build your family, these stressors may be compounded by treatment, disappointments, and the other difficulties we have had to learn to live with.

We have turned the page on the calendar. The world was excited for change and hope. Then the news of the attack at the Capitol shook us to our core. How could this happen? Our collective bar for shock and upset keeps rising. Just when things seemed better, with many hopes for peace and a vaccine that could return us to some sense of normalcy…we were reminded that life is unpredictable. And that is something upon which we can rely.

The the attack on the Capital was shocking and upsetting in a way I pray we never witness again. Surely, we will be feeling the effects of that experience for a very long time.

Like everyone else, I get upset. I have bad days, and sometimes for no apparent reason. But I often seek solace in two concepts that I remind myself of when I feel the rug is pulled out from underneath me.

The first, as I have said in several videos (if you have not seen them, follow me here on Instagram), to quote Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything. Sometimes we have winters that are mild, and sometimes our winters are long and brutally cold. But if we hang in there, spring will come. It may not feel that way sometimes, but it certainly will come.

Second, when life is out of control, it can feel very stabilizing to focus on the things we can control.

Here are some things you can control when you are family building:

  • Choosing your donor
  • Getting information from your doctor. Plan an appointment with your doctor to review your treatment. It’s often difficult to speak with your doctor after-hours or over email. Set up an appointment with him /her to get their full attention so you won’t feel so rushed or stressed.
  • Learn about your options. If you are confused about a procedure, find a reliable resource like the American Society for Reproductive Medicine or RESOLVE (not Google) in order to learn more about your treatment.
  • Get support. Find a qualified, licensed mental health professional who specializes in reproductive medicine. Don’t go it alone.

Here are some general things you can do to feel more in control of your mood anytime:

  • Have fun alone. If the world is disappointing you, dance, sing, watch a fun (or funny) tv show. Have you ever heard that term, “dance like no one is watching”? The most fantastic, wonderful, lovable person you know is you. Embrace yourself.
  • Start a new habit and celebrate it. The best way to acquire a habit is to do it regularly. The average time it takes to build a habit is 66 days. In 12 Step programs, they advocate 90 days. Can you commit to something small for that amount of time? Maybe drink more water, eliminate one food, meditate for 5 minutes a day or start a gratitude journal. If you celebrate your successes along the way you are more likely to keep going.
  • Take on a new project. When you put energy into something and see a result it can be very stabilizing, especially when the world around you feels out of sorts.
  • Do you have a room you want to redecorate? Would you like to learn how to make sushi, or bake fancy cakes? There are many great classes to be found on line. How about learning a new language? You can listen to the lessons while you are doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher.

All of these things can provide a benefit. The results that these activities produce can leave you feeling fulfilled and happier. The real bonus is being able to take care of yourself, and one of the ways to do that is to notice when life feels out of control. Have your feelings, but then take an action to help yourself feel better.

We can’t control the world around us but we can choose to make our lives better by exerting effort in areas over which we do have some control.

Doing these things can change our little corner of the world, and make our lives a little better. Might we still wake up tomorrow to bad news? Yes, but at least our world will be a bit better than if we did nothing at all.

Stay safe and remember we are here for you.