The bitter-sweetness of infertility – how to cope
“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” These words of wisdom were spoken by the famous modern-day philosopher Forrest Gump in the 1994 film of the same name and character played by Tom Hanks. And it rings especially true when learning how to cope with infertility.
So true. You just don’t know what you are going to get. Life is full of some sweet (milk chocolate) moments and some bitter (dark chocolate) moments. It’s those bitter moments that make the sweet moments extra good. Then throw into the mix that some things (and people) are just downright nutty.
Who would’ve thought that life would be like this? Maybe as a young child, you dreamed of getting married, having a home and being a mom with multiple children in tow. Maybe you never really thought about it and life has been fairly easy up to this point. Or maybe you always just assumed when you were ready for the next stage of life it would be ready for you and now that you are ready for kids, it’s not happening as easy as you expected.
The truth is, we can plan all we want. We can even have the best plans and intentions, but life doesn’t always turn out how we plan. Any fellow planners out there? Boy is that extra hard for people like us. In reality, we don’t know what type of chocolate we will pick out of the pretty box of life. Sometimes we bite into a bitter piece and sometimes it’s sweet. But through it all, life is a sweet gift.
It takes the downs, to make us appreciate the ups.
So how do you keep the bitter pieces of life from leaving a bad taste in your mouth and making you bitter?
Here are 3 Secrets to a Sweet Life:
Find Your Sweet Spot. What is going well in your life right now? Your life has a lot more pieces to it than just infertility (or at least it should). What gets you excited to think about and do? Invest time, energy and resources into these things! Maybe it’s a career change, going back to school or getting a certification, a hobby, writing a blog, starting a business, decorating, learning a new skill or traveling, the possibilities are endless.
Share Your Box of Chocolates. We weren’t created to do life alone. Share your bitter and sweet pieces with friends and family. So many couples are on their fertility journey alone. It doesn’t have to be that way. (Note: Pick the right friends and family to share this piece of life with, stay away from the nutty pieces.)
Move From a Box of Chocolates Half Empty to Half Full. It is completely understandable to be disappointed, frustrated, and heartbroken with where you are at in life. But don’t stay there long. Feed your hope, not your heartache. This has to be daily and sometimes even moment by moment. What can you do each day to feed and fuel your hope and keep a positive attitude about life? You may not be able to control a lot of things, but you can control your attitude about those things.
I have come to realize that most bitter seasons, end up being bitter-sweet. Like the time my husband Brian was a police officer. He had been an officer for a few years and we knew it was time for him to be promoted. A sergeant’s position in the School Resource Division would be opening soon.
This was perfect for him.
We had been Youth Pastors and he had a heart for youth, parents and is a great role model for young men. He purchased the study materials for the sergeant’s test and found out it would be 6 months to a year or so until the next testing. He just needed to keep checking for when the test would be. At this point, we really needed the increase in pay, so it was a priority for us. Well, needless to say, he didn’t check back enough and we went on vacation in the summer and came back to the test happening in 2 days. I was so mad at him for not checking. He hadn’t been studying regularly, but he took the test anyway. Of course, others tested better than he did and he didn’t get the promotion.
We had no idea how long it would be until the next test. Again, I was so mad and frustrated. If only he would’ve been studying. If only he would’ve been checking in more for the test. He was frustrated with himself too. Why wouldn’t God want Brian to be promoted? He was a great leader and influence, had a heart for youth and we desperately needed the money!
Well, the spot was filled with someone else and a month later that Sergeant’s position was moved back to patrol on the night shift. God knew that the position would change and it wasn’t the best fit for our family. As it turns out, Brian ended up making more money without promoting through overtime jobs with the school district sporting events, all while having a family-friendly work schedule. Thank you, God, for not giving us what we wanted, but what we needed.
You never know what you will get with life and how each piece will really turn out. The outside may be bitter and dark, but when you get down to the middle of it, there may be a sweet surprise.
How are you doing with the bitter-sweetness of Infertility? If you aren’t quite sure, get my FREE “Thriving Thru Infertility” QUIZ – just fill out the form below.
Wishing You Nothing But The Sweet Life,
Tiffany Jo Baker MA, CLC – Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach (+3x Surrogate)
Tiffany spends her time helping couples birth their dreams by navigating the road and relationships well while trying to conceive as a Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach. As a 3x Surrogate who has birthed 5 babies for couples dealing with infertility, she knows the importance of faith, support, peace and a plan while on your fertility journey. For more tips, encouragement, and inspiration, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.