The secret to managing the infertility “clock”

That dreaded clock keeps ticking… and you’re still waiting.

I know what it’s like waiting for your next cycle, the next fertile window and hoping against hope that next time will be more “successful” – it will be your “lucky month”.

It’s impossible not to count your life away by the number of unsuccessful cycles you’ve had since you started trying. More than you could have possibly imagined, I know. The constant waiting and hoping. The two-week-wait… the fertile windows… and so on, and on and on.

The landmark events throughout the years – birthdays, Christmas’s, that you thought and hoped that there would be another little person around to enjoy it with.

And then there is the ageing; you’re getting older, which means your eggs are getting older, which means everything, and everyone is getting OLDER!!

And still the clock keeps ticking… and still you keep on waiting!

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Time anxiety is the feeling that you’re running out of or wasting your time.

When you dig deeper into time anxiety, you get into deeply rooted fears about death or more specifically about wasting your life.

The fear of wasting life away is not uncommon – this has plagued philosophers since civilisation began. There is the universal feeling that life should be meaningful, and therefore it is not to be wasted.

So really anxiety about time, is anxiety about meaning.

For many their well-being is determined by the importance of the value they feel they are creating with their life. It may be easily perceived that there can be nothing more valuable therefore than creating life.

So, when it comes to infertility, the anxiety is about life having no meaning without children. Or more precisely who are you if you don’t have children?

Finding yourself stuck in the “infertility time cycle” with no apparent ‘successful’ conclusion feels like the epitome of ‘wasted time’ and for many there is the literal sense of running out of time.

Many women experiencing infertility find themselves constantly pulled between wanting to keep going and wanting to give up. Being ruled by the internal “what if’s” – what if it’s this month? What if I can’t get pregnant? What if I don’t have children? And equally, from the internal feeling that life is stuck and perhaps there is something else you could be doing – but then it comes right back to, what if?

What concerns me most is the value that is put on having a baby. And worst still that you feel like your life has no meaning without children.

I can tell you that’s not true.

I can also tell that it’s not enough to just say it’s not true because your retort will be, but if I don’t have children what is my purpose?

And here is the crux of it – purpose.

How do you find your purpose?

When life becomes stuck it can feel like walking through life with blinders on – it’s tunnel vision, the sole focus is getting pregnant, how to get pregnant, why you’re not pregnant yet.

You’ve got to take the blinders off – look around, take the world in, join in, be more present.

And that my lovelies IS the secret.

Being present is the secret to managing your anxiety AND to finding your purpose.

The present moment means being fully alive and aware. When you’re aware you know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, what choices you have and that you chose to be as you are.

Anxiety comes from worrying about the future – what will or won’t happen, is your life meaningful or not, are you doing/creating meaningful things, what’s your purpose or what if you never know, what if you waste your life and on and on and on. You can’t be present and worry about the future.

Meaning can only come from knowing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it; which means you must be fully aware and fully present. You can’t worry about the future and find your meaning in doing so.

Remember whether you’re worrying about the past or the future you’re doing it now – in the present moment. And it’s actually robbing you of time – real time, to do something, to do anything.

To combat time-anxiety:

  • Become aware of your anxious thoughts and feelings.
  • Be more reflective about what lies underneath the anxiety – how do you feel about your life in general? Do you feel your life has meaning? Do you feel you have a purpose?
  • Be more present – practice being in the now, focus on what you need or don’t need, focus on what you enjoy and bring your attention to what you have or what is.

Lastly, be gentle with yourself – journeying through infertility is a process, overcoming anxiety is a process and healing is a process.

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