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Shake It Out: Fit & Dealing With Infertility

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By Sara Baker

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off.

As I have shared with some of you, I have been dealing with infertility issues for the last 2 years.  The last 3 months have been especially hard as some of our ‘easier’ options came to an end and we started looking at our final option. I started seeing a therapist to help me through this time mainly due to my extreme roller coaster mood swings going from a place of gratitude for my wonderful husband, family, friends, job that I love etc., to anger, self-pity and playing the victim.

During this time I have been working on letting go or as the artist, Florence and the Machine calls it in her song, “shake it out.”  This song really spoke to me with very powerful lyrics (written in italics throughout this blog). One of the main emotions I had was anger.  This was so hard for me as I do not consider myself an angry person.  I am generally upbeat and positive but I found myself becoming more and more angry.  Angry at the world, at science, at my body, at my workouts, you name it and I was probably angry about it. :)  However, I knew that I was not going to get anywhere (even with medical treatments) if I could not move on from these negative emotions.

And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope

As we have talked numerous times on the mind-body blogs, having expectations often set us up for failure and it is not what happens to us but how we react to it.  Expectations themselves are not a problem, per se, but the potential disappointment–or in my case, anger–that we feel when our expectations are not met. For my life, I had a specific life planned out for myself and a timeline to go with it. The all of a sudden, it was not happening the way I wanted it to. I am a very goal drive person. All my life, I would set my goals, work towards them, accomplish them and move on. Period. This situation–infertility challenge–was so different. I could not just simply work harder and accomplish this goal. Frustrating. Infuriating. Saddening. And at times devastating.

I am done with my graceless heart so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart.

One key realization I have come too–infertility was and is basically out of my control (with the exception of a few lifestyle modifications). Working harder would not accomplish anything, and would only give me even more reasons to be angry. So. I am left with: Well, what am I suppose to do now?  How could I shake it out?  I needed to find a way to restart.

Jill and I

I spent a lot of alone time during these months (oddly, enough, listening to Shake it Out on excessive repeat since I really identified with the lyrics).  I went on long walks by myself, I meditated, I continued my yoga practice, which at this time was much more mental than physical.  What I really focused on the most was when an angry thought came into my head, I noticed it, I realized it did not serve me in anyway and I let it go. I finally learned to change my expectations.  I realized that 20 years from now it will not matter if I had a child in 2012 or 2014.  This has not been easy.  I still have to work on this every day, thoughts that do not serve me come in my head often; I recognize them and move on.

I am now at a better place than I have been in months.  I feel at peace with my situation and have really learned to ‘shake it out,’ get rid of my expectations and move forward, away from thoughts that do not serve me.  I still have options in front of me, I still have so many things in my life to be grateful for and realized that I will get through this.  When I was at my lowest point, just very, very sad, I turned to my favorite lyric in the song:

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

So if you are struggling with something, doesn’t matter if it is your diet and exercise plan or your job or family, if you feel like you are dancing with the devil on your back, think about how you can shake it out.  Can you change your expectations?  Can you change your attitude? Your perception? Can you identify the negative thoughts that do not serve you and move forward?  I look back at these tough times and though they were extremely painful at the time, I never underestimate the value of what I learned about myself.  In every moment, in every challenge, in every obstacle, there’s a lesson to be learned.

Remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn.  XOXO Sara

Related: Getting Real: Tara’s Ex-Exercise Addiction

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