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The "So Now What?" Podcast

I am a Fertility Survivor.  The kind you enter into treatments hoping you will never be... childless.  After several rounds of IUI and IVF, at some of the leading Fertility Centers, I was told I was no longer a candidate for fertility treatment.  It left me asking myself...

So now what?

For the years that followed, I tried to put myself back together and tell myself I would be OK, but I wasn't.  I was shattered - I felt alone and failed by the whole process and especially, my body.  I yearned for others that felt the pain I felt and someone that could help me navigate a life without a child. 

I didn't find it, so I decide to create it.  

Fast forward to today. I am still childless, but my beliefs about my life have changed.  I decided that I can create meaning and purpose in my life even though I am not a mother.  I've learned to love myself and the body I felt failed me as a woman.

If you've been on this journey, hop on and join me as we create something we were not offered.  Let's create a sisterhood for the bravest women I know.  We brush ourselves off and don't let terms like: Failed, Unexplained, Miscarriage, Not-viable or Advanced Maternal Age define us anymore.  


Oct 25, 2022

This week I want to talk about part 2 of Episode 58 where we talked about people feeling sorry for us. If you haven't listened to that episode, I advise you go back and listen to that first and kind of get a little bit of context about what I'm going to talk about this week.  This past weekend we had a wedding in our ethnic community. If you don't know, my family is originally from Serbia, so we have a very close-knit community.


I grew up in an area that had a ton of people from Serbia. A lot of people in my high school. A lot of Events for us to go to as kids, traditional dances, folklore, all this type of stuff. It was really like a fun environment to grow up in. So there was a big wedding for a family that my family has known for many generations.


And historically, weddings used to make me really sad, during our fertility journey, but especially after we found out we couldn't be parents because you know it's like you go to this wedding, you see this couple. I would put myself back into that place of all the things I didn't know were waiting for me.


All the challenges that I had no clue were ahead of me when people were wishing me years of good luck and many kids and prayers about growing and fruitful family. So weddings historically have taken me back to a place that I felt really sad. I felt a lot of emptiness, a lot of self pity.


 So that's exactly what we're going to talk about this week. How self pity holds us back and how of all the negative emotions that exist, self pity has no place for us.


 I see way too many women with infertility have their dreams robbed by self pity. So let me first clarify. Self pity is much different than self-compassion. The definition of self pity is excessive self-absorbed unhappiness over one's troubles.  That is much different than having self-compassion, I think a lot of us go through a period of feeling self pity and absolutely no judgment for that because.


Just something that you might not be aware of is optional. We start pitying ourselves because we're not happy, and we start to feel bad about feeling bad. So like my wedding, for example, I could start feeling sorry for myself because I feel incomplete, which makes me feel bad. Totally disempowered and then feel like I should just skip the wedding.


I shouldn't go. I shouldn't report my podcast. I shouldn't teach a class. I shouldn't work with any of my students today. And then I'm feeling bad for feeling bad. Why do I have to be the one that feels this way or the one that does all the work on myself?


 It's because I'm entitled to feel better.  I decided, I made a decision that I don't want to indulge in any kind of self pity, and so I shift my mind and recognize that oftentimes I make my negative emotional experience so much worse by feeling bad about feeling bad. So are you with me? Have that experience of judging themselves because they feel like they shouldn't be feeling the way they do.


 If you find that you're doing that, you can take action and decide that that is just not a useful way for you to feel. When things don't go as you had planned, and we feel as though we did everything we should and things just shouldn't be so hard for us, and we shouldn't have to work as hard as we do to wake up and feel good about ourselves or do this thought work and do this paper thinking, and we're asking ourselves, why is this happen?


Why do we feel like we're not good enough? And then start comparing yourself to the people out there that get pregnant so easy. So you see, self pity comes from identifying and thinking of ourselves as victims of our infertility. We feel as if something should be different.


So we externalize the cause of our issues, comparing ourselves to others, and accepting defeat when we haven't even lost. And that's why there are so many people that maybe try one of my exercises or read one book or listen to one podcast about life after failing IVF and it doesn't work right away, and then they quit and they say, I'm too broken.


I have way too much heartache. This is reserved for other people. I will never feel better because my road through infertility is just something that you never recover from.  So they.  end up quitting and then ensure that they are never going to get to the other side of things where they feel fulfilled again and they feel like they are thriving again.


 They're just creating more proof that they should feel sorry for themselves, and they shouldn't have what they really want.  Self pity is very sneaky. And oftentimes it comes in and you don't even notice it, and you'll start to feel bad about yourself and for yourself.  I'll give you an example.


Have you ever noticed that when someone is going through something horrible and you might say, Oh my gosh, I am so glad that is not me. I am so glad I'm not having to go through. That's what your brain is saying about you. When you are sitting in self pity, it's like, oh gosh, it sucks to be you.


You're the worst-case scenario. you are the person that no woman wants to be.  You're basically going through this situation that you're claiming is horrible. But then you're feeling horrible about feeling horrible. So self-pity is one of the most indulgent emotions, and we then give in feel sorry for ourselves, and instead of changing what is changeable, we give up and feel bad about giving up on ourselves with no recognition that giving up is not the same as losing. Giving up is failing on purpose.  I want you ladies to think about how you want to feel. And when we put self pity in our F of the BFA cycle, the belief you'll act cycle. When we're feeling self pity, it's most likely that the action we're going to take is to quit, slow down and accept defeat. Giving up is not the same as losing. Giving up is failing on purpose.  You do not need to give up on creating or seeking a future for yourself that feels like you are thriving or feels like you are fulfilled or purposeful or meaningful because you have infertility or because you did not have the children that you always dreamed of. Taking the action, quitting, or giving up on yourself or on your desire to feel something that feels more fulfilling or feels more purposeful, does not relieve yourself of pity. In fact, it perpetuates and then you feel even more sorry for yourself because it didn't work out for you.  Then you start blaming other people and things other people say or believe or take on the beliefs of people that are feeling sorry for you around you. And then there you are.


You're never getting out of this cycle of self.  Be really aware of this and ask yourself: Am I feeling self pity?  You know you're feeling self-pity if you make a lot of excuses, you don't follow through on a lot of your actions.  Self pity is hard to see these things in ourselves.


We don't want to see what we're doing, we see that the world is a tough place and that we have this terrible circumstance of infertility or childlessness, and we don't own all of it.  Whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself about something or about my infertility or the life that I believed I had to live because I was unable to have children.


I felt like I needed to tell the world how unfair my life was or how. Other people just have things so much easier than me, or that as much as I try, I just can never feel better, and I have this injustice of what happened to me.  Self pity thrives on helplessness. You have this story that you create, this belief that you create that there's nothing that you can do but sit around and feel sorry for yourself or feel incomplete, that this horrible thing happened to you. You did nothing to deserve it. What I promise is that you can change your thinking about it when self pity is whining and complaining. So when you hear yourself whining, and of course I hear myself whining too, and I'll catch myself and I'll be like, Wow, I'm really feeling sorry for myself.


I feel like I'm entitled to more, and yet I don't want to take the action to get more out of my life. I just want to sit here and feel sorry for myself. You can't feel sorry for yourself and indulge in self pity and also take effective action at the same time. It's clear that you're either doing one or the other. It feels terrible when someone feels sorry for you.


We talked about that in last week's episode, and you never want someone to pity you, yet you are doing it to yourself when someone is pitying you. You don't necessarily want to be around them, but you're doing both. When you have self pity, you're feeling sorry for yourself and you're feeling sorry for yourself.


So it's a terrible place to be and it's just not useful.  Again, remember that feeling sorry for yourself is much different than having self-compassion. One of the reasons my students have so much growth and thrive and feel fulfilled after working with me is because they learn the skill of self-compassion in a way that moves them forward, not in a way that sets them back, not in a way that they have a list of 10 things, not to say to women with infertility.


They realize that they want to have a life that feels so freaking good again because they don't want to give up on who they can be in their future because they couldn't have children.  We don't do that by feeling sorry for ourselves. We do that by being very curious when feelings come up, when feelings of sadness, feelings of en.


Feelings of comparison come up. We get crystal clear on how those emotions move us towards the person we want to be in our future that is thriving, feels fulfilled, feels purposeful, wants to leave a legacy behind. Behind that does not need to include having a child.  If this at all piques your interest, or you're wondering how you can make that transition.


If you are somebody who wants to be that successful person in your life again, and that person that is fearless and that person that goes after their dreams and their goals, I can't wait to help you.  Know that this is not reserved for special people like me or the women that I've worked with in my community, that you have every perfect gift within you right this minute to create a life that feels so fabulous again.


 Have a beautiful week. I love you. And remember, it is never too late to discover your meaning. I'll talk to you next week.