It’s easy to be happy some days. It’s easy to be optimistic, hopeful and positive that at some point things will turn around again. On those days, I have this inner knowing that eventually I will wake up feeling alive, blessed and centred in the family focused life I’ve always dreamed of. Yet, at the same time, the bad days always come around – those treacherous days where I feel like I’m falling apart because nothing’s working the way I want it to. Doubt and depression rise slowly to cast their silent shadow in spaces that hope and certainty once filled, and the underlying sense of sadness becomes that much more palpable. I find myself feeling like a marching quiver tree in the semi-arid Namaqualand desert acutely aware that in order to thrive I need to make my way to higher ground, to a place where I am better able to breathe, refocus and support my well-being.
Motivational speaker and author, Dr. John Demartini, wrote that “The quality of your life is based partly upon the quality of the questions you ask yourself daily.” I’ve incorporated this philosophy into my life and you may have noticed that I have a tendency of including questions in the blogs or articles that I write. So, when I am plodding through the troughs I try to ask myself questions that I know will help redirect me in a positive direction. I ask myself things like:
How do I want to feel?
What will help me cultivate those feelings?
And the one question that I often encourage my TTC sisters to examine when they are feeling overwhelmed – What is the most healing thing that I can do for myself right now?
I’ve learnt to trust the answers that come up because nine times out of ten, they’ve helped me get to a more grounded mental and emotional space. One practical idea that I stumbled upon while examining these questions was to create little ‘love notes’ for myself. These ‘love notes’ are like touchstones that guide me back to myself, back to a place of wholeness and calm. They take various forms. I jot down impromptu inspirational notes in my journal to refer back to when I need a pick-me-up. I write affirmations and short uplifting messages on cardboard bookmarks and place them in the books that I’m busy reading. My favourite love note is a kind of pep talk letter that I wrote for myself. I keep it in a special box on my bedside table and reading it on my lowest days always lifts my spirit.
I’ve accepted that as humans we are cyclical creatures. We’re always shifting through seasons of life and cycles of emotions. I’ve written about this many times before – while I’ve surrendered to the fact that there are so many things that we cannot control when it comes to subfertility the one thing I know I can exert some level of influence on is the way I feel and how I choose to approach this experience. Creating love notes for when the going gets tough is one small way of doing so.
How do you offer yourself love and care on the bad days?
What helps uplift you when you’re feeling low?
I believe that it is important to reach towards these things whenever you can. This simple practice of crafting love notes has been a bit of necessary soul balm from time to time. So,if you would like to create your own ‘love notes’ for days when you need a pick-me-up, then here is a little guideline:
Write Your Own Love Notes
Think of one of your close friends or family member, someone that you care very deeply for. You want good things to happen for them. You want to see them happy, thriving and living out their dreams. Now imagine they were going through a rough patch.
What if they are struggling with the exact same thing that you are experiencing? Navigating subfertility, going through the gruelling process of fertility treatment and trying to cope with the sense of loss, failure, anger, depression and a whole host of emotionally challenging curveballs that come with the territory?
What would you say to them to offer some comfort and reassurance?
How would you encourage them to care for themselves and their emotional well-being during their lowest moments?
What would your PEP talk for your friend sound like?
I’d like to encourage you to write down your thoughts, capture your words of comfort and encouragement for a moment.
Then turn the things you’ve jotted down into a compassionate pep talk letter. But instead of writing your friend’s name, write your own name. Write down all the things that you need to hear when you find yourself sinking into that sometimes dark and lonely place. Pour all your love into it.
When you are done, fold the letter and put it in a safe place where you can access it later on when you really need to hear those words.
If you like, select some of your favourite lines and write them on bookmarks or make affirmation cards with them so that they are easy to use on a daily bases.