TTC: Do you ever wonder to yourself, ‘when will it be my turn?’
Resentment is part of the fertility story for many of us. Resentment is such a corrosive, relentless feeling because it’s so obsessive. The amount of time anyone can go through the list of someone’s faults, again and again can be very tiring. Time and again I hear stories of women as they ttc feeling resentful about what they are going through, or about the pregnancies of friends and family around them. In nearly every case women are aware that they feel resentful and often it’s an emotion that doesn’t sit easily with how they perceive themselves to be.
One my students Becky told me ‘infertility is so isolating, even from the people we love the most. It makes me feel that I’m a bad person who can’t be happy for others. It’s the worst’.
Feeling bad about being resentful makes a difficult situation even harder and this often shows up in anger or self destructive behaviour towards yourself or the situation that you’re in. During my own fertility journey I felt resentment many times. And I’m not alone in feeling resentment. Brie told me ‘I remember catching up with a friend in a park and her friend was there, a woman with a whole tribe of children who told me ‘I just need to look at my husband and I get pregnant’. I felt so annoyed with the ease in which she told me this story’.
If you’re struggling with resentment as you ttc, try working through this process by using my Purge tool below to get clear about what you are resentful about and importantly what your role is in creating the resentment. I know this might sound crazy but resentment has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with you. The person or place that you feel resentful towards probably has no idea that you feel this way, they’re happily going on with their life, and it’s you who is the one that suffers.
Step 1. Create a list of people you feel resentful towards.
Don’t forget anyone, make the list as long and comprehensive as you like. Include everyone’s name, fully blown resentments and those you only feel slightly resentful about.
Step 2. Pinpoint why you resent them.
Next to the person or organisations name, write down the reason that they’re on this list. Maybe it’s your younger sister who didn’t want to be pregnant but told you ‘her ovaries just couldn’t wait’, or the nurse who took your blood and bruised your arm…However big or small, even if it feels trivial or insignificant write it down. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be honest.
Step 3. Identify how this has affected you.
It could be your sister who is pregnant makes you feel inferior, and this affects your self confidence. The nurse who carelessly bruised your arm taking blood makes you feel that you’re just a faceless number at the clinic and this affects your confidence in their ability to help you successfully conceive. Explore the ways that the resentment affects your identity and the ability to feel safe, loved and secure.
Step 4. Describe how you have contributed to this.
Now write down your part in the problem. With your sister, perhaps you need to tell her how the news of her pregnancy is affecting you and share with her about what you are going through and how difficult it is for you. This part of The Purge is such an important step and can sometimes be hard to identify where you contributed to the situation. Take your time, there is no rush, go with it and try not to judge it. Just be as honest as you can.
Step 5. Finally… step back and get a clear picture of what is going on.
Who is it you resent and why? How this has affected you and how you contributed towards it? Once you’ve created The Purge you may want to keep hold of it as a reminder of what you need to work on, or as a process structure that you can return to when releasing future resentments. Some of you may wish to share it with a loved one or instead you may tear up it’s pages or burn it’s contents as a symbolic gesture of release and surrender.
Taking responsibility and identifying areas you need to work on is a powerful practice and gives you the clarity to create space for greater happiness, now and in the future.