Thoughtful Thursday: Affirmation
March 12, 2009
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday is inspired by my recent positive beta following Perfunctory IUI #7. As I have discussed before, this cycle carried none of the hopes of most other cycles, and therefore none of the anxieties.
Since the news, though, I am not entirely anxiety-free. Every trip to the bathroom involves examination of the toilet paper under a metaphoric microscope, for traces of blood and signs of danger. My wistful “what if” moments are tempered by doomsday “what if” scenarios and recollections of past miscarriages.
One thing that has reduced my anxiety is being on holiday. I highly recommend it. There was not a trace of anxiety, for example, when I was sitting at the beach yesterday looking at the Mediterranean. I was aware of being pregnant, but nothing about infertility or potential/past miscarriage ever crossed my mind.
Something else that has reduced my anxiety are positive affirmations. Some might call them mantras, but for me that conjures a meditation context. My little statements do not occur during moments of mindfulness, but more commonly during moments of freaking out. I also like to say affirmations sometimes during neutral moments, just to give myself a pep-talk.
Historically, aside from TTC, the affirmation that has helped me most in life is, “Just for today…” and then filling in the blank. Just for today, I will not be angry. Just for today, I will not worry. Just for today, I will let myself be happy. I like this because it does not deny emotions — it just compartmentalizes them. It gives me permission to experience them tomorrow. This affirmation actually involves playing a little trick on myself: by tomorrow, the emotion in question has often passed, and I can continue as before without having to have wallowed in that emotion.
Obviously, affirmations can apply to TTC, infertility, pregnancy, and beyond. Rife as this whole process can be with potential disappointment, waiting, frustration, and anxiety, affirmations are perhaps better suited for reproduction than for most other aspects of life.
Newly-BFP Fallopian ‘Tudes posted earlier this week with her own affirmation, “One day at a time.” Regular pregnant women seem to do a lot of forward-thinking, but those of us who have lost pregnancies in the past (or who had a hard time achieving pregnancy in the first place, or both) tend to white-knuckle it through each day.
There are a few affirmations that I have been using this week.
- “I am closer.” Whatever happens, I am closer to ending up with a child. If this pregnancy continues, I am closer for obvious reasons. If it does not, I will then have experienced my third loss, which will spur Dr. Full Steam Ahead into recurrent pregnancy loss testing.
- “Maybe.” Just maybe this will work. No guarantees, no setting myself up for a fall; merely a little hope.
- “Just for today…” Just for today, I am pregnant. Just for today, I will enjoy this. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but today if I feel like buying something that I may never be able to buy anywhere else, I will. Uncharacteristically, I have allowed myself to make a physical acknowledgement of the pregnancy by buying a couple of “gifts” for the baby during this holiday. You will see them at upcoming Show and Tells. These objects may take on other meaning tomorrow, but just for today, they are gifts for the “theoretical child” — as DH likes to call it. Apparently he has his own set of thoughts that help him deal with the situation.
Do you have affirmations that have helped you through TTC/infertility/pregnancy/life? If not, is there something else that you say to yourself to get through difficult times?