I have been thinking a lot lately about the ‘gift’ of fertility struggles. I know, i know…what a great gift! Heart break, treatments, frustrations, the list goes on. It’s one of those ‘gifts’ I have no doubt we would have all happily passed on & let some one else appreciate! I know that there is not one of us that would have willingly volunteered for this route, but by making us so conscious about conception, maybe our fertility struggles can actually bring the most beautiful strengths to our pregnancies. Strengths that can benefit us, and the babies or children that may eventually come into our lives, in the most amazing ways.
So often when we think about the effects of fertility struggles on pregnancy, the focus is on the worries and fears it creates: the anxiety about our bodies’ ability to stay pregnant when getting pregnant has been so difficult. Appreciating how our experiences of fertility affect pregnancy is so important, but maybe there’s another way of looking at things too.
Maybe there is a whole new way of joining up these dots, ways that focus on seeing the strengths and joys that the fertility journey can bring to pregnancy, not just the worries.
What the lessons that open up to us when we are made to pause and become more conscious about conception,
…like the courage and the patience we are pushed to find,
…the ability to listen to ourselves, our own hearts and our own bodies,
…trusting our instincts and figuring out what we really need to take care of ourselves… can bring to our own lives, our pregnancies and, for the babies that find their way to us, even our parenting too.
I’m sure it’s possible for some people to see these strengths developing at the time, but it’s so much easier with hindsight to see the positives you gain from these experiences. How the roadblocks that created so much havoc on your path to pregnancy, the ones that caused the tears, the heartbreaks and the frustrations, were the exact same ones that pushed you to consider what was ‘out of kilter’ in your life, where you needed some extra care, space or attention, or what you needed in order to bring yourself greater comfort or balance, physically or emotionally.
It’s made me wonder…aren’t these the exact same strengths that help us to be the best parents we may eventually go on to be, and the exact same ones that we can teach to these children that may we may be lucky enough to parent one day, so they can grow up feeling as healthy and happy as possible?
It’s not only on an emotional or psychological level either that the strengths of conscious conception show up.
Even when we look at diet and lifestyle, we can see that our diets before conception not only make a difference to our chances of conceiving and the health of our pregnancies, but also affect the lifetime health of the babies we create. Pre-conception health and well-being has also been shown to have an effect on the levels of stress hormones these babies will go on to experience throughout their adult life. (Seckl & Meaney 2004). It’s truly magical to think, that by becoming more conscious ourselves, about conception and pregnancy, we are raising the level of health and consciousness that our children-to-be may have.
What an argument, then, for being pushed to do as much of this learning that we can before we conceive. Of course fertility struggles don’t need to be part of this process at all, but I wonder how much easier it is to give ourselves the permission and motivation we need to learn these things for our children-to-be than it would be to do just for ourselves.
I know that if somebody had even dreamed of saying to me that fertility struggles were a ‘gift’ at the time, I would have gladly suggested what they could do with it (!!). I’m sure that’s how many of you will feel too, especially while all the fears and uncertainties of pregnancy are overhead, but i hope that, however small, there may be some comfort in knowing that having to walk a different path doesn’t just bring worries and fears with it, but some amazing strengths and joys too.
If any of the issues about pregnancy after fertility struggles, loss or anxiety are affecting you and you would like more information and help, please feel free to contact us, and it be would be a pleasure to support you every step of the way.
With love and warmest wishes for your pregnancy and beyond,