I was out for dinner with friends when one announces she’s pregnant. The other one says “I’m pregnant too!!” Excited squeals followed. I sat there and tried to be excited too. But the truth was, I had been trying to conceive for 8 months, I just had a miscarriage a couple of months prior, and I desperately wished I could join in and say “Me too!”.
But I couldn’t.
This had happened to me on numerous occasions. More than I care to count. Anyone who has spent more than a few months trying to get pregnant can probably relate.
I wanted to feel happy for them. Instead I felt my insides shrink. I wanted to burst into tears as they enthusiastically talked about their great news. I felt myself getting quieter than I wanted to, not participating in conversation, sitting in silence wishing my night out could end.
I sat there like this for several minutes. My two friends were completely consumed with their news to notice how I was feeling.
It was in this moment that I decided that this was not how I wanted to spend my evening. I didn’t want to feel miserable. I wanted to have fun with them.
I knew that I needed to get a handle on my thoughts and I would start to feel better.
I couldn’t change what had happened to me. I couldn’t change any of the circumstances. But I could change what I was focusing on. I could choose what I was thinking. It was possible to feel better.
I sat there, and like a completely sane person, started having a conversation with myself in my head.
I didn’t try to discount my feelings or try to suppress them in any way. I was allowed to feel the way I was feeling. I was allowed to be sad about my circumstances. But I didn’t want it to consume my night or my ability to have a good night out with friends.
The goal of the conversation in my head was to enable me to feel a little bit better. I wasn’t trying to jump to being ecstatic about my friends being pregnant. I was just trying to subtly shift my thoughts to make myself feel a little bit better.
I began to make statements in my head and noticed how each felt. My conversation went a little something like this:
They’re both pregnant right now and I’m not. Not good.
I can enjoy this glass of Merlot. A little better.
Why is this happening to me? I want to be pregnant. A little worse.
I know one of these ladies also lost a baby previously. I know there’s hope. A little better.
She was sad at the time but I know she’s much happier now. A little better.
Everything would be easier if I was pregnant right now. A little worse.
I struggled to get pregnant the first time too and I know that made me a much better parent. A little better.
I kept thinking these types of statements for a couple of minutes and simply feeling them out as I said them in my head. Did it make me feel a little bit better or a little bit worse?
The intent was to keep thinking of things that made me feel a little bit better until I got to the point where I was feeling good again and I could enjoy my evening, even if it included conversation about having babies.