TTC: How do you overcome lack of support from the most important people in your life? Some of us have supportive mothers, in laws, sisters, friends and family, but some do not. If this is you, know you are not alone. When you have someone in your life who isn’t supporting you like they should as you ttc it can make you feel hurt, let down and disappointed and this is where guilt, blame and shame often show up. Rather than switching on your inner critic and looking at what you’ve done to make it happen, know that sometimes it isn’t you it’s them, and sad as it is they’re probably not going to change.
My friend Sarah told me ‘My mum just doesn’t seem to get what I’m going through. Every time I speak to her about doing IVF for my second baby she talks about how I should be grateful for what I have and I shouldn’t try and force it to happen, and why don’t we just adopt’, she recalled. ‘I am so sick of feeling judged by her thinking that we should be content because we already have a child. Sometimes all I wish from her is that she’d just listen, give me a big hug and hold the helpful advice’.
Often those that we love don’t know how to support us when we’re struggling and it can be difficult for us to voice how we are feeling without getting angry, frustrated or annoyed. Giving books on fertility struggles can be helpful to let loved ones know what you’re going through (Conquering Infertility by Alice Domar is one good option). But honestly sometimes as much as we would love support, those who we want it from don’t have the capacity to give it. So what do you then? One way I found was to create a Loving Supporter List – a group of people that do get you and what you’re going through. I wrote down on a piece of paper all those who I really felt were on my side and I would keep this little list in my pocket (particularly if I was going to doctors appointments or having medical procedures). Next to the list of names I wrote down what I would imagine my supporters would say to me, things like ‘I’m so proud of how you are handling everything’, or ‘look how beautifully you are doing’, or ‘I love you so much, keep going!’ When I felt wobbly or vulnerable I would take out my list and look at these phrases and the list of people that love and support me unconditionally. I cannot tell you how powerful this is! It felt good to know that they were in my pocket, with me when things got tough. Rather than focusing on support that you don’t have, try and focus on the love and good energy coming your way from those that do. Conjure it up, bring it to life, breathe that backing and support into every pore to help you get from where you are now to where you want to go.