I know you just sat down to read this, but quick, go grab a pen and some paper.
Now that you are back, write the following five statements down. Write them with a little flare… doodle a little too.
In a moment you are going to stop reading, walk to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, smile and read these phrases out loud. Take your time and pay attention to how you feel. REALLY – STOP READING! Go!
Now that you’re back…
What was this experience like? Did you believe what you were telling yourself? You should!
So often women email us or blog about the emotions they feel as a result of their fertility journey and inevitably at some point during these conversations they compare themselves to others. I have heard, “my sister got pregnant on the first try…”, “my mom didn’t have trouble getting pregnant…”, “my best friend miscarried, but has been able to have two more children since…”, “my girlfriend got pregnant right away after having her 1st child…”, “my brother and sister-in law just had twins and I can’t even talk to them…”, “but my husband and I have been trying for years and nothing is happening…” and on and on.
It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. But, in that comparing, it is easy to completely forget that no one else in the universe is exactly like you are genetically (well unless you’re an identical twin), no one else’s physical, emotional and spiritual past, present and future was, is and will be exactly like yours.
By comparing your fertility journey to someone else’s, you are judging yourself and others. This inevitably leads to jealousy, hatred, hurt, and resentment…to constant negativity, and these emotions may overwhelm a person. They guide daily decisions and permeate everything we see, hear, say, think and do. These negative emotions can rob a person of joy!
“Comparison is the thief of Joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
How then do you stop comparing yourself to others? This process will be different for each person, but here are a few tips to try…
1. Think Good Thoughts!
One of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal is our mind. We know that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This is the Law of Attraction. Science has shown that thoughts and emotions (and the resultant stress they can create) have an effect on fertility.
To avoid negativity as a result of comparing, find a way to fill your mind with good things and change your thoughts every day. The following practices may help…
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Use a daily fertility mind/body program like Circle & Bloom
- Create positive affirmations
2. Learn the Emotional Freedom Technique known as EFT
EFT is a fantastic technique whereby body tapping is used to turn negative thoughts and feelings to positive ones. It can help eliminate stress by reducing emotions such as anxiety, worry, and fear. EFT then encourages your own natural positive, rational, and healthy thoughts and feelings to come forward. This technique is wonderful because it addresses both fertility and stress reduction at the same time. EFT is also a highly effective technique at removing psychological blocks to conception. Past traumas, memories, beliefs about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, can all affect how you truly feel about having a baby.
3. Talk to a Professional
There is no shame in admitting you need help and a professional can provide the guidance and tools you need to quit the comparison game once and for all.
Be honest with yourself… is jealousy and resentment overtaking your ability to interact with the people you love and value, whether they are having children or not? Has it become difficult to be mindful that the people in your life have their own challenging struggles with deep rooted feelings and emotions and that your interactions with them – or not – may be hurting them? If so, it’s time to seek professional guidance. Sometimes, the depression and anxiety caused by infertility becomes too much to handle alone and navigating the emotions you feel should no longer be attempted alone. There is help for individuals and couples struggling with infertility to learn how to redirect their thoughts.
4. Keep Other Dreams Alive
Dust off old dreams, hobbies and/or interests that you set aside and stopped doing while trying to get pregnant. Make plans to fit these activities back into your life, set new goals to accomplish them, even come up with new interests. The goal is to stay busy and not just focus on trying to get pregnant. That you are trying to conceive does not define who you are. It is but one aspect of your life. Both you and your partner need to get out and do things that interest you. Staying busy helps to keep the mind focused on other important parts of life. Do something that makes you happy every single day – you deserve it!
I am by no means suggesting you should ignore your feelings about your fertility journey. This would not be healthy. No one else knows what this process is like for you… you deserve to feel! When something happens that feels like a setback or that tempts you to compare your journey to others, take a short amount of time (a few hours to a few days, but not more than that) to acknowledge your feelings and emotions in a way that offers a form of release – cry if you need to, lock yourself in a bedroom and scream into your pillow, escape to meditate, vent to your husband or partner, sit and pray, etc. – But then move on!
Be reminded that others may not know the extent of your hurt and still seek your love, approval, and want you to be happy for them. Be reminded that there is more to you as a person that makes you who you are than this one part… trying to conceive. Be reminded that you are loved. Be reminded that the best is yet to come.
Yoko Ono has said, “Transform jealousy to admiration, and what you admire will become part of your life.”
- Rodriguez, H. (n.d.). 6 Things Every Woman Should Do For Her Fertility. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/6-things-every-woman-should-do-for-her-fertility.html
- Orloff, J., M.D. (n.d.). 5 Strategies to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – OMTimes. Retrieved from: http://omtimes.com/2012/07/5-strategies-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-others/
- Derian, S. (n.d.). Stop Comparing: An Alternative to Competing with People. Retrieved from: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/stop-comparing-yourself-to-others/