Often with the beginning of a new year one finds themselves reflecting on the past year, success and failures, and hope for a fresh start. When one is managing infertility the idea of the New Year can bring on many questions, Will this be the year we have success? Will this be the year we start or add to our family? I will change how I eat, sleep, and exercise and this will be the key to success. The New Year can come loaded with hope and renewed vigor. It can also come loaded with the what if’s? And will this be the year? So how do we cope with the anxiety that can accompany a new year? Self-Compassion.
Self-compassion seems to be a buzz word lately but perhaps for good reason.
“Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?” –Neff., K. ND. www.selfcompassion.org
Practicing self-compassion has been show in multiple studies to increase resiliency when dealing with the ups and downs of infertility treatment. By recognizing what we are feeling, acknowledging it, and attending to it allows us to process the emotion versus pushing it aside and letting it build.
Often when in the thick of treatment our thoughts can turn to self-blame and this can lead to depression and anxiety. Instead of self-blame try using self-compassion and talking to yourself as if you would talk to a friend. Instead of “I am a failure. Why can’t my body just do what it is supposed to?” try “This was really disappointing. It is normal to feel frustrated and upset. Maybe you need to give yourself some time to process what is going on. What do you need right now.”
Some great resources to learn more about self-compassion are:
So as we begin the New Year that will certainly contain highs and bumps let’s also think about if this is the year to focus on being kind to ourselves.
Natalie Reiter MEd LPC/LPCC
Prairieland Counseling Services LLC