By: Claire-Maurer Hogan, MA, LPC, NCC
What do you do when a person close to you gets pregnant and you can’t … no matter how hard you try? While undergoing this journey, give yourself some grace and allow your relationships to look a little different in an effort to conserve your emotional out-put and preserve your well-being. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is permission to set boundaries. Just as physical boundaries allow us to decide who is able to touch us, come close etc., emotional boundaries allow us to decide who has access to affect our emotions. Here are some ways to establish boundaries that will make your fertility journey easier:
- Take expectations off of yourself that stretch you too far. If you used to host every friend’s baby shower or attend every child’s birthday party, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to send a gift and politely decline. If you are your friend’s sounding board for all the little discomforts and complaints they have about their pregnancy, gently back out of that role and give yourself some space from that friendship if needed. Relationships that have meaning have an elasticity to them… they can ebb and flow when needed and still be strong in the end.
- Surround yourself with support. If your girlfriends or family don’t seem to understand the emotions that seem to constantly be on your mind and heart, lean in to those who do. This may be your fertility center’s support group, personal counseling, books that encourage you or fertility forums that connect you with like-minded women. It is not always your mom, best friend or husband who provides the most comfort; sometimes it is people who seem to be put in our path for this time. Maybe that co-worker who checks to see how you’re doing, or that old friend who has opened up to you about her struggle… Our strongest pillars can be in the most unexpected places.
- Amp up your Self-Care. Now more than ever, find ways to make regular deposits in the areas of your life that build you up. Get rest and nutrition, indulge in a massage, find ways to connect with your spouse, put old passions such as reading or yoga back in your routine… Make investments Emotionally, Physically, and Spiritually.
- Process feelings of resentment or anger. These feelings are common and normal, but can become toxic if you hold them in for too long. Lean into a counselor who can provide you a safe place to feel everything you’re feeling, and take that weight off of you.
To learn more contact Claire Maurer-Hogan, MA, LPC, NCC at 586-576-0431 x229. Her greatest passion is walking with women who are on their fertility journey.