I know what you are thinking…
“I wish I was the old me. The old me…before infertility.”
You may become disconnected from a version of yourself that is no longer accessible: “Where did old me go?” It will be as if she never existed…she’s so far removed from your current reality. That realization could inspire a real downward spiral of emotions that leave you just bewildered and beside yourself. I’ve been there.
What does “making space for a baby” mean to you? The kind of space making is more than rearranging and redecorating a room to be a nursery, although that could be part of it. It means more like being able to ask yourself: Does it mean that you transition from full-time to part-time work? Or, do I take up a hobby to take my mind off of the worrying that comes with the process. In my view, both count for making space for a baby. Both actually do their own part in ridding yourself of worry and stress by doing less or doing more relaxing and soothing things to take lower the cortisol levels. Does it mean saying no to certain things and people in order to prioritize where you place your energy? Is it about recognizing areas of resistance in your life according to what your family-building goals are? These types of questions are what I mean about taking time to think about how you can make space for your baby.
At some point in my journey, just before getting started, I was invited to a baby shower. The RSVP was a few weeks before the actual date of the shower so I wasn’t able to wait to see how I would be feeling the day of and what my mindset was going to be. I opted to decline going to the shower as I knew I just didn’t want to get triggered, and instead I decided to select a gift from the registry to pass along to a mutual friend who would be attending the shower.
It actually gave me quite a lot of insight when I was looking through her baby registry! There were things I didn’t even know what they were for! I laughed at how little I knew about what is needed for a newborn. I had been concentrating so hard on the IVF part and all the related family planning aspects that I had never permitted myself to really look at these types of items. I picked out something sensible and reasonably priced, but until it arrived, I still wasn’t sure what I had ordered!
This really isn’t about going out and making a baby room and buying all the clothing ahead of time. Although I’m going to say – well, yes, it can be! I have heard of women who took pleasure and delight in going out and buying a piece of baby clothing here and there to keep them motivated during the TTC cycle. It’s like when I buy a new piece of workout attire. I’m more motivated to get myself to that yoga or Pilates or cycle class if I have that to wear.
If it keeps you motivated and looking forward to the journey…why not? I think it’s safe to say that we have all passed an article of clothing in the store and took a moment to pause and look longingly at it. Maybe it’s a dress or a pair of shorts! I bet it’s super cute too!
So, what are you telling yourself in those first few seconds after you have caught yourself looking at the baby item? What was the thought that came in right after catching yourself? Was it “Oh wow, I can’t wait! My baby will look so cute in that!”? Or was it “Well, I might not have a baby even at the end of this fertility treatment process, so I don’t think I’ll get it.”?
These are the far-ranging thoughts available on a scale of possibility and there are 101 thoughts to think in between. One thought is dwelling in the consideration of a potential outcome, and the other is a thought that precludes the elements of possibility and curiosity. The second is already shutting down any potential with the inclusion of the negative thought.
It includes taking care of yourself during this potentially stressful fertility treatment process. Some couples feel fine during the TTC cycle and they experience much less stress than others at different points in the journey. Same for single parents to be! It’s possible to encounter stress at any point! Making space is the recognition that you may need to take care of yourself at various points along the way and pre-selecting the sources that speak to you most.
Again making space for the baby has less to do with buying items for the baby’s arrival and more to do with the willingness to identify, audit, and correct those thoughts. This skill is invaluable in the TTC journey but that master skill is one thing that I can take to the old version of myself now and present her with something that I have gained from all of this.
It also applies to you too! Let go and declutter your life; you can get rid of the non-needed. Physical clutter often leads to mental overwhelm and less ability to cope with emotions. I don’t think I’m going Marie Kondo completely…I don’t think I will ever be a minimalist but I notice that I have been doing a subtle, very subtle decluttering around friendships. My Facebook proved that. I realized, looking through my Facebook, my facebook no longer reflected where I was in my life! Many of those friends on Facebook…I have long since lost contact with them and I realized they could never be friends with the version of who my higher self. My higher self included, but was not limited to, becoming a mother!
There are some helpful apps in development, and while they’re no substitute for therapy or coaching if you need it, these are more like guided visualizations to listen to when in a particular situation.
It is so important to your fertility journey to be able to engage in positive and nurturing self-care. It’s about being open to trying different things. For me it was beef bone broth. I cooked it up with the least sexyof all vegetables, a cabbage, and I really felt I was onto a very decent low calorie, high nutrient soup. The poor cabbage, it is seriously in need of some rebranding! But initially, I thought that I just didn’t think I could go there. It’s about remaining open, open to making changes for the chance to have a successful round of IVF. Making space for baby.
Making space for baby is also about doing an honest audit in your life about what you can let go of as you enter the fertility treatment process. You could ask yourself, “Is there anything in my life that is not serving me?”
I know that I needed to do a little mental clutter clearing around the relationship with my father. A period of time went by where we did not speak for about 7 months. Eventually we started speaking again. I took a hormone test three months later and discovered that I had adrenal fatigue and that those low levels were likely to influence my ability to get pregnant.
I guess the stress of trying to family build during a pandemic, conducting a cold shoulder campaign with my father, and trying to keep my rental property business from going under in 2021 really did a number to my adrenals. I decided to meet a nutritionist to attempt to make some changes and ultimately decided to delay my cycle start in an attempt to give my adrenals some additional healing time.
At first glance, letting go of major emotions and wounds may seem inconceivable. For me, it was letting go of a grudge which was based on a narrative I had on repeat in my head about what happened between my father and me. I realized that spending my energy in believing that narrative no longer served me…anything…at all. I literally had no space to hold onto that storyline and I was tired of letting it bother me. I was due in for some decluttering! I wanted to make space for all the new things that I wanted to appear in my life!
Don’t beat yourself up! I think it’s worth doing an ‘audit’ in your life to look at where you also may hold on to energy and ask yourself if it is worth releasing so not as to be a continual trigger while in your TTC journey.
Where You Can Make Space in the TTC Process
Physical (Getting rid of the impulse buys from Anthropologie’s sales racks you have work 2x)
Relational (Family, friends)
Professional (is it possible to step away from projects? Less hours?
Diet (For me it was making space for…bone broth!)
Focus on an area of life where you need to clear out the crap, and make space for new kinds of abundance to come in. I’m not saying that clearing out your closet will cause you to get pregnant! We would all know just exactly who was trying to conceive were that the case! But there is a relationship between clutter clearing and making space for what you want in your life to come in. This could look like graciously distancing yourself from those that impact your life and mindset. This could look like clearing out old contacts our of your phone or Facebook page. You get to choose!
I’m here for you! I’d love to hear about some of the things that you have done to clear the space for your baby to come on your path to motherhood and to clear the path for your evolution to your higher self!