Thursday, April 4, 2013

Are you willing to love your future child unconditionally?

Imagine your future, your child has made a mistake. They have not lived up to your expectations. You are disappointed, upset and angry. How do you react? Do you shout? Do you tell them just how awful they have been? Do you sit them down and list every bad thing about them? Do you keep running over their mistake, time and time again, days, weeks, even months after the event?

Or would you view this mistake as part of their education? Do you explain calmly why you are upset and then how they could act differently in the future? Do you encourage them to take risks and to know that mistakes are a part of life, the way that we all learn?

Now ask yourself each of these questions again, but with a slight twist.

Are you willing to love yourself unconditionally? The first time I asked myself this question I responded with a blank. I had never even considered that this could be a question, could be a choice. The voice in my head that keeps me motivated, keeps me pushing forward and moving onwards and upwards has slowly over the years become my worst critic. “I should have tried harder. I wasn’t focused enough. I am so disappointed in myself.”

When faced with infertility and month after month of failing to succeed at the thing I want most in the world, that voice in my head has became harsher, more critical and just plain nasty. “What is wrong with me? Why is my body failing me? I’m too stressed. This is my fault. What if I never get to be a mother?”

Trying to conceive, and viewing each month you get a negative result as a failure, chips away at your self-confidence. However, developing self-compassion allows you to be kind to yourself when you need it the most, and eliminating negative self-talk allows you to handle stress in a more constructive way. 

The first step is simply to become aware of how you speak to yourself. For most of us, we are so used to talking to ourselves in a negative way that just becoming aware that this is not helpful is a massive leap forward. Whenever you notice yourself using negative self-talk evaluate if there is productive outcome to be taken, if you are telling yourself off for smoking for example, when you know this has an adverse affect on fertility, then replace with a kinder more supportive statement.

Negative self-talk
Replace with

I must stop smoking/ drinking/ working till midnight.
I now choose to put my health and that of my future child first. I can do this. I choose to do this.

Failed again!
This was just one cycle. I can be kind to myself. How can I best take care of myself at this time?

I am too stressed to get pregnant.     
Take 3 deep breaths. Stressing about being stressed is not helpful! What can I do today to help myself unwind and relax?

Why is my body failing me?
My body is designed to create new life. How can I best support my body?

I will never have a baby.
I am willing to do whatever it takes to become a mother.

Learning to be more compassionate with yourself and less judgemental of situations in your life will allow you to do the same for others, which in turn will allow you to be a better parent.  You can learn to change that voice in your head that berates you and finds the negative in every situation, to a voice of compassion and, with practice, be your very own cheerleader! 

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