TTC: How many times have you looked at your partner or loved one and thought how much you adore them and in the next moment visualised something terrible happening to them? Or how often has your cycle been going well and you ovulate on time and you’re so happy, but in the next second you think ‘well I’ll believe it only if we conceive this month’? Or how many times during a cycle of IVF have you’ve collected a number of mature eggs and you’re so relieved and in the next second think, ‘what if none of them fertilize’? If you have felt this way you’re not alone.
Dr Brene Brown Author of Rising Strong calls this feeling ‘foreboding joy’. Something marvellous happens and at that very moment of celebration we visualise terrible tragedy. Why do we do this? She believes that joy is the most vulnerable emotion we experience, more than anger, shame or fear – it’s joy. It’s scary because we believe that if we go there and really feel it, then we open ourselves up and invite tragedy in at the same time. So if we aren’t good at being vulnerable (and not many of us are), at the same as something wonderful is happening like a successful cycle, high beta numbers or a strong heart beat, we immediately think something will go wrong. We subconsciously believe that if we start thinking the worst, we’ll beat vulnerability to the punch.
So how do we turn ‘foreboding joy’ into, well… just joy? According to this new research practicing gratitude at the moment when you get good news, rather than thinking ‘I’ll believe it when it happens’ is the way to bring you the greatest amount of joy. So next time you’re in an IVF cycle and you have a number of large follicles, rather than thinking ‘I’ll just wait and see how they go before I celebrate’, instead say ‘who knows how this cycle is going to go but for today I’m really grateful for the follicles that I have’. If you can relate to this next time something positive happens, celebrate it for what it is in that moment with no provisos or conditions. This will make you happier, more content and dare I say it, more profoundly joyful too. And who doesn’t need a bit more joy in their lives as they try and conceive? Next time something good happens, try this.