The recurrent monthly cycle and conversely the delayed or absent cycle keeps the mind tethered to the “object” of fertility. Because infertility is often paired with painful emotional experiences, the mind is swept into the loss, regret, or guilt of the past and the anxiety, dread, or fear of the future. Moreover, monthly cycles seem to stretch on and on, creating a sense of time passing by. Repeated failures, missed opportunities, and loss of kinship with others now pregnant and parenting, build increased tension. While one side of the continuum of time is weighted by the past, the other side is burdened by the future. The present is squeezed thin, leaving little room to experience the pleasures of the moment.
Mindfulness inclines the mind to stay in the “now.” Rather than getting lost in past events or future fantasy, the “object” of attention is moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness. Mindfulness trains the mind to see from a neutral lens. This perspective enables you to not identify with experience as me, mine, or I. Without carrying the added baggage of judging yourself or your experience negatively, you are better able to attend to what occurs one step at a time, one moment at a time. Taken off automatic pilot, you can then choose how you wish to respond. As you shift out of feeling like a victim, such qualities as patience, acceptance, trust, and non-judgment are cultivated. You can then “stay the course” and weather the challenge of fertility.
Informal Mindfulness Practice:
Throughout this week, whenever you notice the mind lost in the world of infertility i.e. escaping into the past and regretting—“if only,” or fantasizing future
failings—“I’ll never get pregnant,” reel your mind back to the present moment. Notice the trees as you walk down the block, the feel of sudsy water on your hands as you wash dishes, the in-breath and out-breath as you’re sitting by the computer…Bring yourself into the “now.”
“Do what you can,
with what you have,
where you are.”