I was recently talking with a woman who is struggling with where she is at in her fertility journey. She has been going through treatments for a while doing IUI’s and IVF and had experienced pregnancy loss. I could really relate to what she was saying about feeling angry, confused, bitter, jealous, and abandoned by God.
She also said something interesting. She said “I just can’t be positive all the time”. I hear that a lot from clients, that they feel pressured to be positive, happy, and grateful. The messages are so prevalent in today’s society. “Good Vibes Only” t-shirts are everywhere. There is a lot of science to back up what gratitude can do for us. How it rewires the brain to be happier, makes us more resilient, and is a huge part of manifesting what we want in our lives, I use gratitude all the time in my work with clients and daily in my own life…
There are times when gratitude is inappropriate and damaging.
1. When other people try to get you to be grateful.
This usually comes in the form of a comment from a well intentioned person. “I know you are sad about the miscarriage, but at least you can get pregnant.” or “Stop focusing on what you can’t have and be grateful for what you do have.” or “Why are you so upset about not being able to have another child? Be grateful for the one you already have”
It is NOT okay for someone to force gratitude upon you.
It won’t make you feel better.
They are saying it for their own benefit, not yours.
They are uncomfortable with your grief. They are upset that they don’t know what to say to make you feel better. It’s totally natural and understandable, and often comes from well meaning friends and family who love us.
The problem is that when someone tries to force their idea of gratitude on you, it dismisses your feelings. It essentially says “Please stop displaying your emotions, it’s making me uncomfortable” And the only thing worse than dealing with the grief, sadness, anger, and ALL the difficult emotions infertility can bring, is being told to keep them to yourself. You end up feeling even more isolated and alone than you did before.
You are allowed to have feelings. Even the unpleasant ones. You are allowed to express them freely when you choose. You are allowed to sit with your grief when needed. Don’t listen to anyone else who tries to give you THEIR silver lining. You get to choose your own moments of gratitude, when you’re ready.
2. When you expect gratitude of yourself constantly
My clients are usually women who are smart, driven, and super hard on themselves. They expect to not only deal with everything fertility treatment is throwing their way, but to do it with a smile on their face while they perform at 100% everyday. It is not possible, and it’s not healthy.
3. When you use it to shortcut uncomfortable feelings
Gratitude should never be used as a way to avoid your difficult feelings. If you find yourself trying to short cut your feelings, skip all the uncomfortable ones, and go straight to gratitude, take a pause.
What you resist, persists.
If you continuously resist the grief, it will not go away. It stays there. Trapped in you. It festers and grows. Then it spills out at inopportune times. (Hello crying in the middle of the grocery store!) It demands to be felt, to be dealt with. You cannot avoid the hard feelings. You cannot go around them. The only way is THROUGH them. They must be felt before they can be released. Journal your thoughts, scream into a pillow, punch something that won’t punch you back. Put on a sad movie and cry your eyes out. Feel and release. You have to experience them fully to let them go.
In summary, quit accepting the pressure to be grateful ALL of the time. Don’t accept that pressure from yourself or anyone else.
If you need help navigating difficult feelings, reach out! There is no shame in it! Feel free to email me at Devon@devonbaeza.com anytime or fill out a few quick questions HERE to get a free 20 minute call. AND don’t forget to get your FREE copy of “15 Crazy Ways to Make Money for IVF” plus my number one visual savings tool!