TTC: Have a think back…when your doctor calls you with a negative result, when your beta numbers are falling, when you’re waiting for your next period to begin and it’s just not coming, when you feel everything is getting closer and then your TTC goalposts move and everything feels so damn far away – what do you say to yourself? Can you remember?

When things aren’t going well, many of us become our harshest critics. If you think back to the words you use, what do you say? Often we’re not even aware of how we speak to ourselves. Do you have some go-to phrases that you use when you’re giving yourself a hard time?

I remember after one set-back, going into the bathroom and looking any myself in the mirror. I leant in towards myself and said, ‘This. Is. Never. Going. To. Work.’ The despair and the shame I felt was palpable. After that, when things didn’t go my way, this phrase became my mantra. It was hard to shift. You may have something you regularly say too. Perhaps you can relate to some of these phrases below? I know I can.

What you say when you’re afraid/angry/sad

  • ‘I’m an idiot. I feel so stupid that I dared to believe it would work.’
  • ‘I don’t deserve good things, I’ve always been unlucky.’
  • ‘Amber had her first baby at 34, who am I kidding? I’m way too old.’

A new phrase you can try

If you can catch yourself when you’re being critical or focusing on an unhelpful thought, try adding this simple statement after the thought:

‘…and that’s OK’

For example, you might say to yourself:

  • ‘I want to scream, I’m so frustrated…and that’s OK’,
  • ‘I hate that my fertility journey is so consuming…and that’s OK’,
  • ‘I’m scared…and that’s OK’.

These three little words are so important because they allow you to soften the harsher thought with acceptance. I believe the first step towards happiness is acceptance. It’s acknowledging where you are, how things are and how you feel, without judgement or wanting it to be different. Knowing that it is OK to not be OK is a powerful reflection.

What you are going through right now is tough. Being able to express how you are feeling is not only important, it’s essential. The words ‘…and that’s OK’ allows you to be non-judgemental towards yourself and accepting of what is going on in that moment. You are not trying to fix it, spin it, or make it better. It just means that at times life sucks and you feel awful…and acknowledging that without beating yourself up, really is OK.

This is hard but important work, and you are doing beautifully. Never forget.

*TTC Trying To Conceive