So often along this road of infertility, we find ourselves lost in regret, don't we? Thoughts occupy our mind and our time, of dreams slipped away, hopes unrealized, and the litany of coulda, woulda, and shouldas.
But after the pensive pity party of one, we always feel better, don't we? Ummmm, not so much.
So, why do we do it?
We do it because it's EASY. It is so easy to be hard on ourselves, and yes, by regretting the things we had no control over, but like to pretend we did, we are being unreasonably hard on ourselves. Even if we do not place the blame on ourselves, by envisioning all of these so-called missed opportunities and lost aspirations in time gone by, what we are really doing is failing to accept our reality.
It took me a long time to admit that. A long time. I fought tooth-to-nail that my reality was, in fact, one of sorrow, suffering, and being stuck in place, only aging along with my peers as their lives moved along effortlessly. The comparisons ran rampant, as I found it much easier to look outside of my own life at others', and avoid confronting my inner torment. My reality, if you had asked me a year ago, WAS shattered dreams, broken expectations, and withering hope. And I would defend that truth vehemently.
Only, it wasn't truth. Nor was its opposite - that my present life was picture perfect, full of sunshine and void of tears, with no cares in the world. And more importantly for me to realize - neither was the life of anyone around me either completely hopeless or completely fulfilled.
In coming to accept our reality, we need to first understand that regret for days gone by is harmful; it is a waste of our energy, and can take its toll on our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Then, we need to begin finding areas in our lives where we can honestly and without reserve find gratitude - not with the rose-colored glasses of denial or naivete, but rather with the Truth in our hearts, changing our perception of how we view our reality.
Our reality is simple: we have infertility. For some of us that means we have no children. For others, it may mean we only have adopted children. For still others, no living children on earth. Only one biological child. A mix of biological and adopted children. Foster children. The list goes on, but the one main undertone of our reality is - we do not have control over our family size, our family planning, and when and how children will enter our lives, if ever. This is our reality.
And reading that may seem like a trigger to a pity party of regret. It certainly used to be, for me. But not anymore.
Because by accepting our reality, that we have NO CONTROL, we are suddenly free - free from trying to control what we never could! Suddenly, the blessings we've never before realized are brought to the forefront as we begin to live each day for that day alone. (I can sleep in, today! I can go on an impromptu vacation this weekend with my husband! I can go out for drinks with an old friend after work! I can play with my pets outside while gardening! I can make plans on a whim, and then change my mind just as quickly if something better pops up!)
Above all, we have the power to change one vital point of perception when it comes to our infertility. We have often lamented the time we can't get back, thinking of all of the cycles, months, years in which we never conceived, never gave birth, never adopted. Instead, we need to direct that energy to TODAY. Today is the time we can't get back! We only have one chance at today- we can choose to spend it regretting yesterday, but that will only add more yesterdays of regret - or we can choose to spend it by living it, by accepting our reality and moving on from the past.
Whether or not we go on to have children, more children, or children we lost count of, this is time we can't get back - and one day, believe it or not, we may all find ourselves regretting that we lived these days in regret.