It’s no secret that this journey can weigh on you. It’s easy to get sucked into the chasm of anger and guilt.
We’re angry at the world, at happy pregnant women with their beautiful round bellies, at the friend who gets pregnant three days after she started “trying” for her second, third, eighth baby, at the women who have midwives and home births as an option to them. We’re angry at doctors and the science that couldn’t help us, at the procedure that failed us. At the false positive, the blighted ovum, and everything in between. Mostly though, and I hate to admit it but, we’re angry at ourselves. We are. We’re angry at our bodies because we feel like they failed us. It’s an incredibly dark and painful to live inside a body that has betrayed you in such a primal way. Women were designed to create and carry babies, why wouldn’t we be angry?
Because it’s exhausting. More or less. And as much as I’d like it to, it doesn’t burn calories. Our anger impacts every moment of our life while we work our way through it. I’ll be the first to say that we have a right to our anger, it’s valid and we absolutely have every right to feel it whenever we want. For however long we want. I get so frustrated with people who tell me to “cheer up” and “be more positive”. I don’t want to be positive about this, I want to be angry about it. Never let someone make you feel like your feelings aren’t valid because they are uncomfortable with your sadness or frustration. I like to call myself a realist, as far as this is concerned, I can’t “be more positive” because I don’t want to build up my expectations and set myself up for more pain and hurt. It’s a lot easier to jump off a curb than a cliff.
While I will say we have a right to our anger, we have a right to let it go too. We carry some responsibility in our own happiness. We have enough anger, guilt and blame to go around, but we choose to bear it’s crushing weight and in turn, we’re unhappy. The thing about unhappiness, like any virus, is that it spreads. We don’t mean to, but we share it. We spread it. Misery really does love company, even if it’s unintentional.
So how can we switch it around? Even if we’re sad and angry, how can we spread happiness?
It’s not as simple as flicking a switch and just saying “today is a happy day!” and skipping our way out the door. There’s no magical cure for happiness except to reach for it. We are angry but we don’t have to act angry. There comes a point where we are holding on to our anger. It takes practice to realize when we’ve reached the point where our anger is really only there because we’re refusing to let it go. You can mourn your child, your fertility, your future without holding onto the pain and the anger that comes with it.
One of the best ways to boost your own happiness is to practice self-care.
Go for a walk, drink some tea, have a bath, call a good friend, read a good book, eat something you really like, cuddle with a pet, spend time with your child or spouse (or both!). Let go of your anger and immerse yourself in the things you love. We’re busy, collectively busy, and there’s always seventeen things that need to be done with another thirty-five to take their place. There is, though, always something that can wait until tomorrow so you can sit down, drink a caramel macchiato and watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother. It’s really hard to hold onto anger when you’re boasting a sugar/caffeine high, cuddling a purring cat and laughing at the Slapsgiving song for the 10th time in a row.
This is a memo, to every single person reading this, take care of yourself.
You can’t be happy if you don’t stop to acknowledge that you are unhappy and what you need to work through it. Give yourself a break, forgive yourself, and call your best friend. Let her (or him) remind you of every reason why you deserve happiness and why you are worth happiness. And, really listen to them. We are so quick to brush over every compliment and
You can’t be happy if you don’t stop to acknowledge that you are unhappy and what you need to work through it. Give yourself a break, forgive yourself, and call your best friend. Let her (or him) remind you of every reason why you deserve happiness and why you are worth happiness. And, really listen to them. We are so quick to brush over every compliment and kind word that we tend to forget that we do deserve happiness. We may not be the creators of our own misery, but we can choose how long we live in it. We can decide when it’s time to break free.
Self-care is different for everyone, we all look towards different things when we need a little boost. I’m a fan of iced coffee, snowman cookies, my best friend and cuddling my cats. What kinds of things help you boost your happiness?
Photo credit: adapted from sumitrarose | Flickr