Thoughtful Thursday: Affirmation

March 12, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday¡Hola desde España!

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?

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25 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Affirmation”

  1. Mel Says:

    I don’t have any affirmations I’ve used beyond my sister’s suggestion of doing what I need to do to get through the moment just so long as I’m not creating more problems for myself along the way.

    But I really like your affirmation. I’m going to try that during my next round of anxiety.

  2. ana Says:

    No, I don’t have a mantra, but its a great idea, and I’ll try this during my next anxious moment. I do try to compartmentalize my feelings the way you do—to trick myself into forgetting until I genuinely feel better. However, I am not as strong as you—I can’t say “just for today”, but I get through hour by hour! Usually after the first few dark hours, I’ve gotten busy enough to move on.

  3. Nicole Says:

    How did I freakin’ miss this news??? Oh Cass, I am so excited for you!

    And I loved this post. I too jumped on the chill train this cycle and amazingly, I’ve made it almost to the end (or hopefully just the beginning, like you!).

    Can’t wait to see the fun bebe stuff in the near future!


  4. It’s funny you posted this today.

    Yesterday I left my checkbook (with a couple of valuable things tucked into it) somewhere. NOT like me. DROVE me crazy. Realized it at night, after it was too late to retrace my steps and track it down.

    I suspected I left it at the credit union. If the clerks retrieved it I was OK. If a patron did, I could be at risk. I built about a zillion scenarios in my head.

    The credit union opened at 9 am. Yoga class was 8:30-9:30 this morning. I debated whether to meditate or skip it and solve my problem.

    I decided on yoga. I tried to be mindful and present, but my head kept going to the “what ifs”. I witnessed myself tying myself in knots over the scenarios I created. Sometimes I was in the past (what happened to the checkbook?) and sometimes I was in the future (what will I do if the finder cleaned me out? stole my identity?)

    Over and over again I would bring myself back to the present.

    I eventually used a simple mantra. “All is well now. Now is all there is.”

    My checkbook is back in my purse.

    Long story — sorry.

    May your mantra bring you peace. Now. You are a wise woman.

  5. Nity Says:

    WHAT!!! YEAH!! Somehow I just got to see the BFP part in my catch ups. Whooo Hooo!!! Congrats chica.

  6. Kymberli Says:

    My mantra during my personal TTC journey (almost 9 years ago) is very, very close to the first one that you listed. In it’s exact words, it was this: no matter what happens good or bad, every day I am one day closer to my baby. It’s shortened form, it was simply “one day closer.” In those times when yet another high schooler (or middle schooler) told me that she was pregnant or when my very sister, then a 17 year old senior in hgh school, got pregnant, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said to myself “just one day closer. This is one day closer. I’ll get through this and then I’ll be one day closer.

    Now as a surrogate, it’s different. Now my mantra is, “just let them find happiness, no matter what happens.” That’s a tall order if a baby isn’t involved in the making of that happiness, but ultimately, that is what I hope for them.

  7. Cat Says:

    The closest I’ve probably ever come is an insirational paperweight I have that says “What would you attempt to do it you knew you could not fail?” I really like your “Just for today” one, though. The white knuckle thing is so true, and I really wish I could just relax and enjoy that we’re so much closer than we ever have been before. Just for today, I will enjoy this.

  8. Kristin Says:

    My mantra came from the much missed Grrl of Chez Miscarriage…NBHHY…or Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet.


  9. My mantra was “one day at a time” when that was to difficult it was “one moment at a time”. That seemed to work better. I could only take one moment at a time and put one foot in front of the other. Often saying both those phrases in my head. They got me through A LOT. Congratulations again and I hope you’re having a WONDERFUL time!


  10. I don’t have affirmations so much as worst-case scenario plans. I like to think about the absolute worst-case scenario and then I figure out how to handle it. Usually, I brainstorm it out with my husband. “If this doesn’t work, then we’ll do this.” We put together a plan and then hope we never have to utilize it. As an amateur survivalist, I’m a big fan of mentally and physically preparing for the worse — for whatever reason it just calms me down, although almost every other man that I dated before my husband did not like this particular aspect of my personality.

    Still, I totally get you on the new anxiety that a positive beta brings. I think your vacation solve is perfect for that. Just keep on having fun and stay as busy as you can — for like the next 3 months.

  11. leslie laine Says:

    I absolultely love your post today – it was such a God-send, exactly what I need as I head into Day 4 of the Two Week Wait from Hell. It was wonderful to read your post and all the comments – I’ll be back tomorrow to see what else is here because it’s been so helpful. I particularly love what Kymberli said – I’m going to use that one when I wake up at 3 a.m. tonight.

    My mantra is a mix of several things. First of all, I love the line from “Who Moved My Cheese” – “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” That’s exactly the kind of attitude that got me through this cycle.

    Also, I have begun to look at our IF situation as a journey, realizing that everything we do is leading us closer to our dream of becoming parents.

    I am also learning to lean more on my faith than I ever have before. I really believe that there were many gifts directly from God in this last cycle, and whether or not it’s going to end in a pregnancy – I don’t know. But, as Cat said, we are certainly closer than we’ve ever been before.

    There’s a lot of hope in that.

    I’m thinking of you as you get through each day of your new pregnancy and hoping for the absolute best.

  12. onepinkline Says:

    My mantra is “we’re one day at a time around here.”
    I might need a shorter one if we get a few more days (weeks?) under our belt.

  13. WiseGuy Says:

    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?

    For someone like me, who counts a pregnancy when nobody else really believes it and has no pee sticks to show…life is really tough. I do not have words…but a strong spirit…a spirit that may be down but is never out. Somewhere down me is a very strong belief, that I am meant to be a mother. It has to happen. Even though I have never verbalized it, I feel it.

    Maybe when I get pregnant, I will need verbal reassurances (I will be a touchy anxious Chimpanzee then, I tell you). My mother was my touchstone. She had her words. Nosssir, nothing worked for me.

    What pushes me forward is just my beliefs.

    All the very best…. and I am so glad that you are having such a good time with Quixote. 🙂

  14. samcy Says:

    Mine is “one day at a time”. Deal with IVF “one day at a time”, deal with negative cycles “one day at a time”, deal with the burning desire “one day at a time”, get through work “one day at a time”.

    It seems to work for me. But I like yours too. I might try them and see how they fit sometime.

    xxx

  15. Rebecca Says:

    Mine would just be something like “Well you survived this far, babe, what makes you think now is worse?”

  16. Wishing4One Says:

    Beautiful post. I don’t have a mantra per se, but I always try to think positive and not negative (as hard as it is after so many failures) until beta day. My friend, what a positive outlook and such wisdom in this post. I like others will try to take some of your examples and use them for myself.

    Hey, swim across the Med we could meet up in Alexandria! Enjoy yourself and have fun!

  17. Dreamingsoul Says:

    I didn’t have a mantra while going through the 8 years of TTC hell that was my life, but now that I am 15 weeks pregnant, things are different. I am terrified of losing these babies. So terrified that I refuse to buy a single baby-related thing. At my 13 week appointment,my doctor said that my chances of miscarrying now are slim to none. So, when I start to feel those pangs of terror creeping in, I say to myself, “slim to none…slim to none”. I know better than to believe it completely, but just maybe I won’t be that horrid statistic.

  18. Liv Says:

    Here via LFCA.

    Felicitaciones!!! Wow, I am so happy for you. And you’re right, what amazing irony as you described in your previous post. I hope you enjoy a lovely holiday. I’ll be thinking of you there in my beloved Espana hoping you get through each day one step closer.

  19. Brenna Says:

    Oh my gosh, I missed this news too!!!! WOW! I’m so hopeful and happy for you.

    I don’t really have a mantra or affirmation. I do tell myself that it’s my choice–I can choose to be fearful or I can choose to be hopeful. I try to choose hope. Granted it doesn’t always stick, so I’ll borrow your “one moment at a time” and try to keep my hopeful moments more frequent than my fearful ones.

  20. Photogrl Says:

    As someone who is in the middle of beta hell, this was NEEDED today. Thank you.

    I have a crazy mantra this time, too. Something along the lines of “My womb is a calm and comforting place.”

    Might not help stave off another loss, but it sure can’t hurt, right? 😉

  21. strongblonde Says:

    i know this anxiety well. i also use the one day at a time approach and also “breathe”… and “it will all work out”

    still so happy for you 😉

  22. Eve Says:

    I completely understand your guardedness with the BFP, I was exactly the same way with mine. I just couldn’t let myself think too much ahead because that would mean a harder fall if indeed it wasn’t to be. We didn’t even do baby shopping until I was past 6 months.

    As far as a positive affirmation, I don’t have a set phrase that I use. But I definitely believe in living in the moment and not projecting too much into the future…that only causes me more anxiety. Instead of meditating, I spend time in prayer asking God to grant me peace about whatever’s to come. That seems to help me that most.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacay!!!!!


  23. I like your affirmations and the idea behind them. I don’t think it would be possible to be totally anxiety-free, ever (in BOLD!!), and that extends to once theoretical child becomes real. Once that happens, you exchange one set of fears for the next set and it goes on and on…but that’s the beauty of parenthood.

    I must admit I totally agree with your holiday comment. I was camping at Easter when I got a BFP with our daughter, then this last christmas I was camping when I got the BFP with rainbow baby #1. Its the best feeling in the world to be on holiday and its only now that IVF has drained our funds and sucked the joy out of our lives that I relish each and every rare, stolen moment of holiday!

    Sorry I missed your TT on the day itself. I’ve been messed up but starting to get out of it a little.

    Hoping like mad that your beta is doubling nicely/appropriately.

    xx

  24. MoDLin Says:

    Amazing that I read this post now. My husband is going through something difficult and just a few days ago I told him about “Just for today, I will not worry.” It works for me for so many things.

    Best wishes for 40 special weeks with a beautiful delivery.

  25. Holliser Says:

    Mine is “I will”.
    The month that I conceived, I had let go of the fear of never becoming pregnant. I simply informed myself that, eventually, I will be pregnant.
    And I still tell myself that.


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