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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 16, 2021

Episode 11 Cozying Up With Our Infertility Buffers


Last week we talked about buffering in for many that was a bit of a Mind Blow. gotten some DMs, from folks with questions about buffering. And first let me tell you, thank you for your questions. I don't know if I talk as much as I should about how much I would love to hear from you. And really explored deeper some of the topics that we talked about in the podcast, a couple of the questions I got, I'd like to just go over today on the podcast and dig a little bit deeper into buffering, though, if you have any more questions, please feel free to send them my way. But I'm going to kind of cover off on the common themed one that came in this week doing things like drinking, eating, enjoying sweets, enjoying shopping is not a bad thing. And I'm not telling you not to partake in those things. But it's when you are going shopping and buying something you don't necessarily need or you're not planning to buy and then you're home. And you're upset with yourself that you took part in that action that you spent money on something that again, you don't need that's just going to collect dust on a shelf or in a cabinet. Or if you go out and you're having some cocktails at a social event, that's not a problem. But you'll know when you're buffering, if you're just feeling disappointed in yourself later, or that you feel regularly that you go for something or feel like doing this action is a crutch to you in certain situations. But please keep enjoying life, enjoy a glass of wine, enjoy your cupcake, whatever it is, enjoy it. If it's not a problem in your life, there's no need to sit here and tell yourself that you've got to sit and live your life with blinders on. And many people hear about buffering. And they think that they have to give up doing things out of fear that they are buffering. So I'm not trying to be a buzzkill to anyone, but wanted to make sure I address that. And you know, frankly, it was something when I was going through my coach training, that I remember asking my instructor, if it was a problem if I had a couple glasses of wine when I went out with my girlfriends, or if my husband and I cracked open a bottle at dinner or something like that. So covering off on that. So let's recap for anyone that has not listened to Episode 10 yet an overview of what buffering is. And of course, I'd invite you to please go back and listen to episode 10. Because we got pretty in depth in last week's episode buffering could show up like you're feeling anxious, you're feeling frustrated. So you go for food, when you're in the midst of a conversation with somebody and maybe a questions asked a view about your desire to have kids. Do you have any kids and you're feeling uncomfortable. So you step away from the conversation and go graze that a food table or go up to the bar and order a glass of wine. Because you want to disassociate yourself from engagement in the conversation. And then your brain tricks you to think that you're happier. Now, because you've had this little dopamine hit from eating something or drinking something, it's getting you further away from a result that you want. Maybe you want to be able to have those type of conversations and not be rattled by questions like that. So when you have a question asked of you, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you're going to that external thing to soothe yourself from the discomfort you're feeling from that conversation. That is what you'd consider buffering. So as you become more aware of buffering and what it is just first note that there's no need to judge yourself if you are buffering. But just remember that there's nothing outside of us that could ever fix our discomfort or our uneasiness or our dissatisfaction. We think if we keep taking a specific action, we're going to feel better by getting that little dopamine hit, but it just makes us more reliant on something external and more reliant on something other than ourselves to create the feelings and the peace that we want to have within ourselves. And we can totally stop Giving our power away to an action or to a thing. Start learning how we can accomplish the things we want to do with our lives for ourselves and with ourselves. False pleasure is really what keeps us from having a full sense of well being within ourselves. Because what we're doing is using up our desires for what we want to achieve when we are overing, overeating, over drinking over scrolling over shopping. So overing, meaning like buffering, so the list goes on. But really constraint is what gives us that freedom to find the wellbeing we want in our lives. So if you learn how to constrain from a place of love, you'll then be able to learn so much about the true you, it certainly is going to be a challenge in the beginning, because it's something that feels very foreign to us. When we feel discomfort, we shy away from it. But when we become more aware of what we're feeling that drives us to that external thing, we're just starting to build a muscle in our minds, muscle in our thought patterns that will allow us to learn to identify what we're feeling that's driving us to this action. As we start to become more of that aware of that, we'll start to see what we're missing out on when we're camouflaging our feelings with that action. As I said in the beginning, it's going to feel really yucky, when we start to question ourselves and tell ourselves that we shouldn't have that cupcake to soothe that discomfort or the going for the glass, the wine maybe isn't useful, we're going to start to ask ourselves, why do we even want to start exploring these actions. But you know the answer, and only you can define why you want to stop these actions is it because you want to lose weight, and you want to get rid of the weight gain that maybe you experienced after all your fertility medications. And that wait is still looming a few years after you're done with your treatment, and you're just sick of hanging on to it. Or maybe you're sick of feeling crusty after a couple cocktails the night before, and you just don't want it to be a road thing for you to come home and pop open a glass of wine to learn how to relax from your stressful day. In the beginning, I'm going to ask you to just start to define why you want to achieve or feel or accomplish the things that you do. Because when we aren't willing to feel a feeling, we are restricting ourselves from really exploring the opportunities that we have and the talents that we have and the desires that we have with our life. And it's like my mentor Brooke Castillo describes when we push a ball underwater and just try as hard as we can to keep that ball under that water, eventually you get tired of holding it down. And then next thing you know that your arms can't hold it down anymore, and that ball pops out of the water with exponential greater force. So the same thing with trying to restrict or push down your feelings by covering them up with this external something by overing. And then next thing you know those feelings are there. And if anything, they're coming back at you with greater force because you're not addressing them. So I'm going to offer you an opportunity to just get curious with your emotion. And maybe when you feel that discomfort instead of going for a drink or purchasing something, when you're out at the store, just start to see what it feels like in your body to feel that emotion. Maybe where you feel it in your body. What's the sensation is it a tingling feeling a tight feeling. And the more we allow it, the more we build evidence for ourselves that it doesn't kill us. imagine your life without the actions or the items or the buffers that you're using. You'll feel fear lacking or deprivation. And you'll tell yourself, my life is going to be such a drag simply because we're conditioned to have that external thing. Give us some pleasure. So I'm going to offer you a couple ERJ options. The first is just keep on doing what you're doing, respond to the urge and don't achieve whatever goals you're working towards. The second is coming at it from a sense of resistance and almost white knuckling and allow that emotion and urge to be there and do nothing or three which is in my opinion, always going to be the most beneficial to you is allow the urge to be there and just simply observe it just try doing nothing. Because having an urge doesn't mean something's gone wrong, but being a to be present with it, maybe describing what's going on during paper thinking, watching it. And practice having that urge. And being in a place of peace, allow it to just be present, not steering yourself away from the attention of it, and white knuckling through it because it's still going to be present. And you're going to never really become one at peace with feeling that urge. Because what basically happens is you have this trigger, then you have a thought. And then from that thought you have about maybe words, people said, you're having a feeling that feels uncomfortable to you. So that's when you want to avoid that feeling, and respond to your action. The grace and love you show yourself, when you get curious about why you buffer is going to be some of the greatest work you allow yourself to do. Because you start to recognize the feelings that seem uncomfortable to you. And you'll start to see what you're restricting yourself from achieving because you are unwilling to feel that feeling as you're starting to collect the data on when you buffer and what's going on for you when you buffer. There's one rule that applies to the data collection that I'm going to ask you to start doing. It's to have zero shame or self judgment when you notice what you're doing. So think of athletes that tape games and rewatch them are musicians that record themselves and listen back to how they perform. They don't do it to judge themselves, they just basically do it to see where they can do some more work and what they can practice more on so they can show up better in their next performance or

game. So I want you to start by writing down what buffering activity you want to focus on. Maybe it's shopping for entertainment, maybe it's drinking, eating, you Peck and then I'd like you to sit there and start to do some paper thinking and understand why you want to stop what part of that activity is not useful to you. Take shopping, for example, as of buffer behavior, your why for stopping shopping, maybe because you already have a closet full of clothes that you don't wear and your closet is super cluttered, and you don't want to have a cluttered closet, and that you'd rather invest your money in something with a greater return. So get to know your why those y's are going to be what motivates you to take maybe a pause from doing that activity and lets you decide that you're more important than doing that activity, your y is going to be what's more important. So let's say you go shopping to home goods, and you find yourself walking in the door with a bag full of knickknacks wrapping paper, maybe some hand lotion and a candle. And you're like, seriously, Ilana, I bought this, why would I buy this, I don't even need this stuff. So that's when you would take out an urge worksheet so you can download it from my website. Or you can maybe just create notes in your Notes section of your phone or write it down on a piece of paper. But I want you to get very specific about the things that you're going to write down. So here they are, this is what I purchased. So get very specific. This is where I purchased it. So what store the name of the store location. This is when I purchased it. So the time of day that you purchased it on your way home from work was that you left the house to go shopping because you were bored waiting for your husband to get home from work. Just get very specific about when you purchase it. The reason I purchased it was it because it was marked down. Next, get clear on what you were telling yourself when you bought it. Next point is going to be what pattern you're noticing. And when you notice this pattern happening, what's an alternate thought or feeling or action you'd rather take. And then lastly, the most prominent thing I learned from doing this is and fill in the blank. Because when we become curious and honest with our observations, we can start to advocate for ourselves and then we can really be the one to put ourselves in our goals and our desires and while being in the forefront of our lives. Though I hope this is helpful for you. 

I'm going to have this available on my website and also for download if you go to the link tree on my Instagram bio and start to use this guide and get curious about what's coming up for you. And then lots of exciting news to share with stitch coaching my guide to meaningful holidays is ready for download. You can find it on my web site at stitch You can also link to it from my bio on my Instagram page. The other exciting thing we're going to be doing with the guide is on our December 11 life after IVF virtual meetup, which I know many of you have enjoyed being part of we're going to actually go through and fill the guide out together so that we can start to equip ourselves for the holidays that are just around the corner. Oh my gosh, it's crazy to think so. Thanks so much for listening in this week, DM me any questions you have. Have an awesome week everyone. And remember, never stop believing that you can discover your meaning