Fertility patients constantly experience emotions that are two opposite ends of a spectrum, SHAME and COURAGE. That is the naked truth of fertility endeavors.
It is the courage that keeps one moving to seek medical help, keep trying one cycle after the other, opt for fertility treatments that are no guarantee for success and continue trying again after failed cycles and pregnancy losses. This is an act of COURAGE that often takes lengthy years of wait, patience and perseverance.
And among the midst of above, constant reminder of unworthiness and failure leading to SHAME, self-doubt and low self-esteem. Even highly qualified professional women and couples fall through the cracks of fertility related emotional turmoil leading to shame, blame and lack of worthiness. It is a vicious cycle for fertility patients.
If you can relate, read further.
Couple of years ago, I happened to learn about Brene Brown and got hooked to her works and asked for more. She is a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is a well published author and fabulous public speaker known for her style of storytelling with humor and powerful message. She is an author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. Her TED talk power of vulnerability has had over 38 million views and very popular among PhDs and postdocs helping them build resilience in challenging careers of re-search.
Her powerful messages are hands down the BEST making her worthy of Noble prize in her life time for her contributions in exploring human emotions and connections in my humble opinion 😊.
Clearly her research is directly applicable to fertility patient for its shear resemblance on the human emotions experienced by every single one of them at some point in fertility journey.
Five key messages from her here will help you understand your emotions and hopefully intrigue you to follow her closely to provide with strategies to combat fertility struggles.
“In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there can still be so much shame around reaching out” It is important to recognize the discomfort and be self aware, reach out for help when things don’t work in your favor. To seek help is not considered weak but rather courageous. It is okay to say if we are seeking medical help for procreation, using a therapist or attending a support group because the people who tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses in this world
“Failure can become our most powerful path to learning if we’re willing to choose courage over comfort.” Every failed cycle is an opportunity to learn and dig deeper when you gather the courage to get back yourself up and continue the pursuit on family building path. I understand it is easy said than done but that is the only positive mental attitude that will help you keep moving.
“Give ourselves permission to both be imperfect and to believe we are enough.” Whether you conceive with medical help or use third party for reproduction or go through adoption, remember to NOT feel stuck in the negative emotions of resentment and regret. Remember it is going to be okay whichever path you chose, there is no right or wrong choice.
“If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.” Rising Strong is a book about how owning your stories of struggles gives us the power to rise. Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and the clearest path to a wholehearted life.
“Self-compassion is key in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy.” We often associate vulnerability with feelings we want to avoid. The core of vulnerability is shame and the way you overcome shame is by opening up your creative outlet in terms of arts, crafts, writing, music, dance, anything that allows you to engage in creating something new. This will help you build the courage to be imperfect and develop self-compassion.
This was just a tip of iceberg by Brene Brown on human emotions, she is widely published on leadership guiding one to be authentic and a daring leader. If any of the above topic got you more curious and looking for more information, I welcome you to follow her on several different platforms of audiobooks, TED talks, podcast, youtube videos and soon on Netflix.
I am hoping Brene Brown reads this brief post and gets intrigued to venture into fertility space.