- Allison Ramsey, Fertility Counseling Specialist
Infertility is Weighing You Down
Next time you root through your purse, tossing aside all the unnecessary stuff so you can finally find your keys, consider what else you might be carrying. We carry with us our regrets and sorrows, our plans to do better next time, and a picture of our future lives as a result of all our hard work. We are always somewhere else. To be in the past or the future is to carry with us all the pain, even though it is either over or hasn't even happened yet. The word suffering comes from the latin root "ferre" meaning to bear or to carry. Suffering literally means to carry underneath.
Because our suffering is carried below the surface, we cannot see other's suffering. And they cannot see ours. It is helpful to remember this when we imagine that we're observing the perfect life of another. It is an illusion. We are always judging our insides by someone's outsides. When you see a pregnant lady it is painful, but remember you don't know her journey to that place. Your friend's coworker is pregnant at 46 - but you don't know that she likely had to use a donor egg or the series of miscarriages that lead her to that choice. Comparing stories is never helpful because we're all on our own journey. Unless your comparison reminds you to have compassion for others, then that comparison is just another burden you carry.
I have something for you to try. The next time you begin a walk or a hike outside, pick up two or three small rocks and hold them in your hands. While you're walking think of the particular pains that you would like to let go of. Feel their rough or smooth surfaces, their edges, their temperature, their shape in your hand. Carry them with you for awhile, meditating on their weight and burden for your life. When you arrive at a body of water or a point in your walk that feels acceptable, toss the rocks, one by one as you physically relieve yourself of the burden.
Some suffering is bound to return. But we can have practice identifying each rock as a burden we're aware we're carrying, and to create a new relationship with it. Just being free from it for a few minutes can lighten your mental load and give you time to reset your priorities and intentions for the day. Doing this once a week can strengthen your tossing muscle and lighten the load as you walk this path.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and fertility counseling specialist in the Asheville area. She’s a member of Resolve, The Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Contact her to start feeling better.