How To Pull Yourself Up And Find Happiness During Infertility
Even though I'm not on the other side of infertility, I still like to regularly check in with myself about what I've been learning, how I'm feeling, and what I can be better at. I feel like when I do this, it brings meaning to all of the pain, tears, and anger. It makes me feel like something is coming out of this even if it's not a baby…yet!
After six years, two failed IVF transfers, a miscarriage, and countless one-lined pregnancy tests, it's hard to find the good. It's hard to see why all of this is happening to us. There have been seasons of this trial that just feel never-ending—like the pain, the bitterness, and the loneliness will never stop. Although this trial may never end, that doesn't mean that the pain, the bitterness, and the loneliness have to live on.
The main thing I have taken away from my infertility journey is that I can't control everything, but I can control my happiness.
I think we’ve all had a time in our lives when we have thought, "I will be happy once so and so happens.” Why are we hanging our happiness on uncontrollable outcomes? Why do we set ourselves up for that pain? That heartache? If I could just get this house. If I could just get this car. If I could just get this job. If I could just have a baby. When does it end? When do we allow ourselves to be happy? My favorite quote by Gordon B. Hinckley says it best, "Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."
Life is meant to be so much more than waiting. Obviously goals and reaching for more are SO important, but it's not worth holding out on our happiness!
But how do you find joy during something like infertility? Something that somehow leaks into every part of your life and destroys the joy? It destroys the "Congratulations" you want to give to your best friend who just told you she's pregnant. It destroys the desire to be at family parties because every sibling has kids except you. It even destroys the intimacy between you and your spouse, because you've been trying to have a baby longer than you have not. Happiness, especially living with infertility, is not something that just happens by accident. You have to make the conscious effort to place happiness into your life.
There was a time where I truly thought I would never be a mother. This was when I was living in a culture where being a mother was the peak of all existence (and I am still in this culture). It's what gave every woman in my life pride and purpose. I had nothing other than my want to be a mother. All of my friends were moms. I had no hobbies (unless you count symptom-checking on Google). My husband was busy working and going to school. I hated my job. My one out was to become a mother. That's all I wanted. And I couldn't have it. Talk about living in actual hell.
I wish I could tell you it was an overnight switch of "Okay, I'm going to be happy now," but it wasn't. It's taken me four years to find hobbies, to find a job that gives me purpose, and to find my joy again. I can honestly say I am in a place where I don't HAVE to be a mom right now, but I still know I will be one day!
That was also a big shift in perspective for me. The world we live in is such a 'I want it now' mindset. And when you're building your family, mostly everyone gets to have that mindset except us. We have to wait and plan and then re-plan over and over and over again. That's not what our brains have been trained to do. We have a goal, we make plans to accomplish the goal, and then we reach it! Never has a goal taken me 6 years to accomplish. If it does, I must be doing something wrong, right?
But what if, to find TRUE happiness, I needed this wait. I needed to have hobbies so I won't become a mom that is lost in her kids. I needed to create hobbies with my husband so we still like being with each other when the kids move out of the house. I needed a passion to inspire my children to do something they love! I needed to reignite the spark with my husband so we can keep it alive even after kids are here. This wait has allowed me to find happiness not just for right now, but for years to come!
Although I've ended up in a great place, throughout this trial I've had many reasons to keep living in the gutter of sorrow. After being knocked down time and time again, how can you not? I've been blessed, because I've also had so many things lift me from that place every. single. time. I've had a husband that sees me in that place and physically picks me up from it. I've had family that will provide a helping hand and pull me up. But most importantly, I've had myself. I've discovered me and what makes me happy. I've surrounded myself with purpose and love and passion. I've created a space where I now have stepping stones to pull myself up to see the beautiful view that is my life.
By living in the gutter, how am I supposed to see the love my husband shows me? How am I supposed to see the beautiful home we've made? How am I supposed to see the amazing future we have ahead of us?
You guys, pull yourself up. Ask for help. Find your hobbies. Quit your toxic job. Find your passion. Do anything and everything you can to see all the blessings surrounding you. Not only will you be happy with where you are, but you will be in a much better place to receive what's to come.
Pull yourself up. There is a beautiful view waiting for you.
Chelsea Knowles is 28 years old and has been married for 7 years. She is a dog mom and gymnastics coach, and she and her husband have been trying to have kids for 6 years now. They were officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility and have had several unsuccessful medicated cycles, including two failed IVF transfers. They also had one miracle pregnancy with no fertility treatments that tragically ended in miscarriage. They are not pursuing fertility treatments at this time but feel their first baby is waiting for them in adoption! Chelsea and her husband are feeling so hopeful for the future and are so ready for their family to grow.