She wrote about how much better her life was now that she was a mom.
I was immediately angry. Bitter. Sad. Resentful.
The “Why Me’s” crashed over me for a few minutes, and then I pressed stop. I made myself pick apart why this particular post made me feel that way. Two years into infertility, I’m not always so triggered by Mom Posts. But there are moments. And in those moments, I am working to reframe my thinking. So, I stopped and asked myself why I was so triggered. Why did this post make me feel bad? As I sorted through my thoughts like they were options in Cher’s closet, an intriguing ensemble popped up on the metaphorical screen. If I’m honest, it’s one that had caught my eye before. But I usually just pretend it isn’t there. Give it my best “as if!” and move along. This time I took it out and tried it on. I felt the fabric of the thought – it was smooth, stretchy. I knew it would cling to my body. I slipped it on – a perfect fit. Then I felt it constrict. Like I was suffocating. I was never going to be able to take it off. I was going to wear this thought forever.
I don’t really believe I am ever going to be pregnant.
I instantly wanted to take it off, to strip it from my skin, to throw it away. But that thought rang so true in my mind that I was immediately wrecked. I could feel it in my bones. Tears pouring down my face as I confess to my husband this hideous thought as if it is the absolute, undeniable truth. I am ashamed. I am triggered because in this moment I fully believe that I will never have what she has, that my life will never feel complete because I will always be without. I have FOMO in the worst way.
There it is. I said it out loud. This heartbreaking thought I’ve been harboring for months, skipping over it because it hurt to look at. Maybe if I pretend it isn’t there it will go away. Well, it didn’t. It forced itself to the surface. And so I fell asleep with tear stained cheeks believing that I just spoke the worst truth of my life. Fully believing I will never carry our child.
In the morning I woke up to one of our cats wandering across my body… scratch that… stepping painfully across my chest. The usual. And my first sleepy, waking thought was, “When I am pregnant we are going to have to kick the cats out of our room at night.” I startled into alertness. Recognizing what just happened. More tears as I shared this momentous moment with my husband.
It was then that I remembered that a thought is just a thought. Just because it crosses my mind doesn’t make it real or true. People have somewhere around 50,000 thoughts PER DAY! How could all of them be true?! The truth is that thoughts are just thoughts. And we don’t know what the future will hold.
Sometimes I am so sure that we will be parents. Others I am drowning in despair because I know that we will never have children of our own. These are both thoughts. And it is up to me to take them captive. To use my thoughts to give me hope and courage. To use my thoughts to push me into practicality and research. (When I am ready.) To not allow them to take up room in my heart if they do not have a place there. It is up to me to call thoughts what they are – just a thought. And focus my mind on what is true, what is good, what is lovely.
We can actually train our brains to shut down our negative thoughts. It is something I am still practicing, and I have no doubt I will for the rest of my life. But thoughts are just thoughts. They are not reality. Allow your mind to focus on the good. It will allow your heart to do the same.
I do not know what the future holds for us, but I’m planning to be where my feet are and to fill my heart and head with all that is good.