How I managed triggers
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
If you’ve struggled to conceive, experienced pregnancy loss or gone through IVF, you’re likely to have felt certain triggers along the way. It may be as simple as a friend announcing they’re pregnant, a woman with a bump passing you by or an invitation to a baby shower.
Each of these individual events have the power to cause a strong swell of emotions to come to the surface, as they act as harsh reminders of what we don’t have or that which we’ve lost. At the time they happen, they can be incredibly intense and difficult to manage, especially as they tend to happen in social situations.
In the initial week or two following our ‘missed miscarriage’, I mainly felt the following triggers. Once I’d acknowledged their presence and the impact they were having on me, here’s how I choose to manage them.
SEEING SCAN PHOTOS
As a Natural Fertility Therapist, seeing scan photos is an everyday part of my life, whether it’s through my Instagram feed or from messages sent by pregnant friends or clients. Usually I loved seeing these photos, they’d bring me so much joy, but when everything was still rather raw, they instead acted as an aching reminder of the magical moment we never got to experience with our little one. The image of our wriggling foetus with a strong flashing heartbeat, all safely tucked up inside my womb.
Talking to Steve really helped me to identify exactly what I was feeling, instead of brushing all my emotions under the carpet or letting them slowly eat away at me. It made me realise what I desperately needed was time out from the digital world, for just a week or two, to give myself space to process what had happened and time to heal the wound that was still sore. It was one of those moments in life where I had to prioritise my own wellbeing and put myself first. So, I had a digital detox – switching off my phone and putting out of office on my emails. This gave me the time I needed to get my head back into a positive place.
BUMPING INTO BUMPS
Being summertime, there seemed to be a lot more bumps on show than usual, but then again, this was probably observational bias on my part. As I spotted women on the street with their growing bumps proudly protruding out, I’d think to myself “Will that ever be me?” and work myself up over the painful thought that I might never get to experience pregnancy past the first trimester and that I may never become a mother.
To manage this trigger, I choose to say to myself with a smile every time I saw a pregnant woman “I am so happy you haven’t had to go through this”. It was my way of seeing something that made me feel sad, in a positive light. I also tried to remind myself that I didn’t have a clue what story hid behind their bumps. It’s easy to assume that everyone else has had it easy, that they just pop them out one by one, but what if theirs was a story of struggle too? After all, we all have battles to fight, no one’s life is ever perfect. Looking at it from this perspective gave me a somewhat comforting hope for the future.
Hearing about friend's pregnancies and seeing pregnancy announcements on Instagram was hard at the beginning. They’d bring up a painful mixture of emotions. On the one hand I’d feel really happy for them, but on the other, I’d feel a painful mixture of anger, sadness and even a little envy. I’d then feel really guilty for feeling such things, which would subsequently make me feel even worse. I tried to remind myself though that these feelings were only natural to have after having had a miscarriage and that it didn’t make me a bad person. Now more than ever, I needed to have self-compassion by showing myself love and kindness.
To reply to anything pregnancy related, I'd take a moment to acknowledge any emotions I was feeling at the time, then I'd try to put myself in the shoes of the other person and respond in a way that came from the highest loving version of myself. Following this, I'd redirect my focus and attention on being proactive in preparing to try again, by keeping a positive mindset and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, to give us the best possible chance of getting pregnant once more.