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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.  


Nov 9, 2021

I'm excited to learn what you were able to gather from last week's podcast, when we talked about failure, and how we have a fear of it. I worked with two clients this week that actually we're making pretty big decisions regarding career changes. And there's a lot of that indecision that comes in, am I making the right choice? Am I going to be happy? Am I going to be letting people down if I don't show up for them, as I think they're expecting me to. And I think that we made some great inroads, with people just realizing that no matter what decision you make, as long as you believe in yourself, and believe in the reason you have to make it, there's no fear in the failure. Because failure is just simply a thought. And something that we can choose to keep us from moving forward, or something that we can choose to learn from about ourselves, something that we can get excited to see how we do in a different environment. 

So send me a DM, or send me a message and let me know what's something that you recognize this week that would have traditionally scared you, because you feared failing. But maybe you took a chance this week to try something different and do something new. So now is a perfect time to transition to a topic that may be foreign to some, but something that I think will definitely pique your interest. It's called “Buffering”. What's buffering, I'll give you a couple different examples of how I describe it. It's avoiding a feeling or avoiding feeling a feeling because of the discomfort it will show you. It's when we use external things, to change how we feel emotionally, to not fully experience or fully show up and face the truth in our life, because we don't want to feel the negative emotions that come along with it. When we take part in an action, or an activity to keep ourselves from fully experiencing our lives, or when we decide not to show up and face the music, our brain is wired to believe that we should have more pleasure in our life. So it seeks things outside of us to decrease our pain. When we don't want to face the truth of our lives because we don't want to experience any type of negative emotion and look to something that is external or not tangible. So an item of thing. We change how we feel internally, and partake in an action. So that way, we're taking ourselves off course of feeling what it is that's giving us discomfort. We think there's something wrong with us if we're not happy all the time. And so we buffer because we feel entitled as humans to feel happy and pleasure all the time. And as you're listening to this, you're probably thinking of course it makes perfect sense that we'd want to increase our pleasure and reduce our pain. Is that what we're trying to do as humans?

You might have heard of the term “dopamine”;  it's a term that's thrown around a lot. And according to my research, I looked at Harvard Health Publishing, dopamine can provide an intense feeling of reward. And dopamine is most notably involved in helping us feel pleasure as part of the brain's reward system. So something like alcohol, shopping, smelling cookies, baking in an oven, having a cocktail, all these things can trigger dopamine release, or a dopamine rush. So this feel good. neurotransmitter is also involved in reinforcement and that's why once we try one of those cookies, or have a glass of wine We might come back continually for 1,2,3 more. So in today's day and age, when there's countless ways to seek pleasure, we're constantly bombarded with ways to feel pleasure. So eating, drinking, shopping, scrolling social media, playing a game on your phone, consuming alcohol, the opportunities are countless and more accessible now to us than ever, and the external pleasure providers, ie, corporations and organizations that make money on delivering pleasure to us have found a way to make us believe that we are definitely needing this type of pleasure for survival when these organizations and corporations take advantage of that by playing into our desire to seek pleasure, we start to believe those actions almost seem like they're important to our survival. And they become so important to us because they've tricked our brains into thinking that that pleasure or that dopamine hit is the most important thing that we could possibly seek in our lives. It becomes a reoccurring issue in our lives, because pleasure wants us to generate more pleasure. So the more we purchase, the more we purchase, the more we cocktail, the more we cocktail, the more we snack, the more we snack, the more we scroll, social media, the more we continuously scroll, social media. And then we begin to expect that we're entitled to experience pleasure all the time, we feel that there's always an escape from our negative emotion at a hands reach, you can just boom, pop on your phone, get on Instagram, get on Facebook, tick, tock, whatever it is, and just take yourself out of any type of negative emotion you're feeling. And immerse yourself in the entertainment of that. And we can always feel pleasure at the blink of an eye, because it's so immediately available to us in so many ways. So you may be listening and thinking, of course, life's a hard battle, doesn't it make sense that we will just buffer our way through it to make it to that and eat as much as we want drink as much as we want, scroll as much as we want, buy whatever we want and go into debt. So I hate to be your bearer of bad news. But all that pleasure does not add up to happiness. Because of that equal and opposite consequence that comes with all the false pleasures.

And false pleasures referenced as something your brain has an inordinate reaction to false pleasure allows us to escape into this pleasure place. And it allows us to buffer from reality. 

I mean, it would definitely be peachy if we could have all those pleasure after pleasure with no consequence, just positive, positive, positive stuff. And all of us would be in Pleasantville, on the same happy train. And nobody would care to strive for anything in their life, because they were never challenged by anything, and only experiencing pleasure. And we feel so much pain on the other end of these false pleasures. Because once the initial pleasure has subsided, and the bag of chips is empty, you step on the scale in the next on the next morning, and you're in despair. And we're like, I wish I did not have this buffer in my life. Eating that bag of chips, when you come home to an empty house after work may offer a temporary release from negative emotion. But what it's really doing is taking you away from feeling that negative emotion. And those emotions always come back harder than they started. So when you go out and buy yourself a handbag that you can't afford, you have that quick rush of pleasure about it. And then you have a credit card to pay. And then you have the lack of money. And then you stress about it because you bought this bag that gave you minutes of pleasure while purchasing it and posing in the mirror with an eye on your shoulder. But now you're going to stress about how you're going to pay for it. There's always an equal and opposite consequence. That makes it so that the false pleasure is never really worth it. Even though in the act of doing it. We tell ourselves that it is you can actually trade all of the false pleasures in your life for well being. And when you choose to go with well being over a false pleasure, you'll start to offer yourself an opportunity to gain confidence and then that confidence starts to create more More confidence. And the more confidence you have, the more centered you feel, the more well being you have, and the more you have to give and offer the world. And I believe that when we reach our ultimate happiness, and when we're able to be the best version of ourselves and show up in the world as such, we live such abundant, full and meaningful lives. But when we're in pleasure seeking mode, it's impossible to give of yourself, because we get into a consume mode, where all we want to do is consume, whether it's food, whether it's drink designer items, I want, I want I want consumption, consumption, consumption. And in that mode, we're basically circling on a spin cycle of false desire that never gets us to satisfied. It's like the whole running with the Joneses, where you're trying to one up and have more and do more and travel more and have a bigger house than have a greater closet, then have a bigger car than you're always trying to outdo the person next to you by consuming, consuming, consuming, but you can't really get enough of something you don't really want. And if you're trying to escape a feeling of something that is not bringing you pleasure, you're always going to have to be escaping in order to cope. Could you begin to imagine what your life could be like, if you didn't buffer? Imagine what you're so afraid of? What is that feeling that you're so afraid to feel that eating a cupcake drinking a bottle of wine could take away for you?  With the holidays coming up, many women who've tried to have children and can't are starting to dread upcoming gatherings, and conversations and questions around the status of their motherhood. So Aunt Sally asks you when you're going to have a baby. And in order to escape the discomfort of the conversation, you go over to the appetizer table on Thanksgiving, and you eat because the act of eating in your mind allows you to detach from the words that were just asked of you. And it appears that digging into a cheese ball, it decreases the discomfort you feel. Because clearly Aunt Sally does not know how devastated you are, because you've spent the last two years in IVF hell and you weren't able to have a baby. But that quick dopamine hit in our brain that we get from eating the shit out of this cheese ball with Ritz crackers is the positive thing because of the relief it offers us. And then here you are less than less aware of the discomfort you're having, because you're focused on the food you're eating instead. And getting pleasure from the bites of the cheese ball and the Ritz cracker just to escape your conversation in your thoughts about your conversation with Aunt Sally. And then fast forward to the end of the night where you're feeling sick. Your pants are tight tightness in your throat because you're so absolutely stuffed. And there you are judging yourself for the amount of food that you inhaled. And then guess what? The negative emotion is still there and present to you, you're still gonna feel anxious and frustrated, not by Aunt Sally asking you if you're having a baby. But because of what you're thinking about your holidays, and what you're thinking about the fact that you feel empty inside because you don't have a child in tow with you. But we think we're going to feel better by taking this action and getting this quick jolt of yummy in your mouth or excitement of buying something extraordinarily expensive or out of the norm or something that just seems like such a luxury. But then the negative emotion is still there looming under the surface.

When do we decide that we're done with buffering and done with false pleasures? For many of us, we don't even know where it exists in our life, or how to even start to begin to identify it. Because to be quite honest, it's not always raising its hand and bringing attention to it. But in the coming weeks, I am going to deep dive and teach you how you can become more aware of it. It will be a hard sell, because I'm going to be teaching you about cutting things out that seem very pleasurable in your life. But if you're ready to be a person that doesn't want to rely on other people or doesn't want to rely on other things, or frankly anything external of you for their happiness, join me back here next week. We'll be touching on how we can recognize where buffering is showing up in our lives and how we can recognize it. And what we're going to do with our brain sends us as a wild goose chase to find a desire to take you out of your negative emotions. Maybe just because you're feeling sad or you're feeling empty inside, but I'm going to save all that for next week. Can't wait to talk to you then.

In the meantime, visit my Instagram @stitchcoaching S-T-I-T-C-H coaching. And also available this week is my “Guide to Meaningful Holidays”. You can download it free on my website. I'll also have a link to it on my Instagram page. So appreciate all the supportive feedback. Please remember to leave me a comment or give me any feedback you have any questions you have. I'm always open to a DM message me. Let me know if there's something you want to chat more about. Or if you want to go a little bit deeper into some of the topics that we're covering. I'm always happy to help explain things a little bit further.