I distinctly remember during our arduous fertility journey knowing that I would one day be a parent. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew I’d be a mother. It was non-negotiable in mind. Somehow, that confidence didn’t transfer once I was pregnant. I spent the first trimester riddled with fear that there would be no heartbeat. I spent the second trimester fearful that I would have a late loss. We opted out of first trimester testing but did the 18 week anatomy scan. I was sure something terrible would be revealed about my baby at that point. Once that proved we had a perfect baby girl, my fear turned to the possibility she would be born still. None of this panned out. I had a relatively easy birth and a brilliantly healthy baby. However, my fear didn’t stop. It shifted to the next thing….SIDs, kidnapping, etc.
As one of the women in our book put it, “anxiety is free floating and will attach to anything”. I realized this quickly on and made a firm decision that I could not live my life in fear. Doing so would not create the childhood I wanted for my daughter nor the motherhood I wanted for me. Intellectually, I was able to separate out the things I could control from the things I couldn’t. Specifically, the only thing we can ever truly control is our reaction to events. We can reduce risk by doing proper research and taking appropriate precautions but ultimately, we control nothing but our own minds and heats. This is easier said than done.
You have probably heard a lot about mindfulness and meditation. There is a reason they are so trendy. They work! A regular meditation practice will help translate that intellectual knowledge of control into a deep, heartfelt experience of acceptance. There is a lot of noise about meditation and I find that people don’t really seem to know what it is. It is not a blank mind. It is a mind focused on one object. I give explicit directions on how to meditation in our book along with other resources for developing a practice. Like any skill, it takes time and patience to develop. You wouldn’t consider running a 5K without some training, same with meditation. Once you get in the swing of it, it becomes easier. Mindfulness comes from meditation. It is “presence”, or “being in the moment”. The point of developing mindfulness is to catch your mind when the anxiety or fear starts to take over. So, when you are waiting to take a pregnancy test or going for a treatment, instead of having your habitual response of fear or anxiety, you can separate from it. The anxiety can become its own entity and not take over your mind. This will help you throughout your entire journey whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant, or currently are a mom.
Sharon Praissman Fisher is currently accepting clients at her practice, Nurtured Well, LLC