If you’re on your fertility journey and have had doubts about being able to build the family you desire, then you aren’t a stranger to the ups and downs of hope. When I was trying to get and stay pregnant I was surprised how my hope would play hide and seek with every BFN (big fat negative pregnancy test) or fertility set-back. I’d always been an optimistic person, but hope would slip through my fingers and I’d question whether I was becoming a pessimistic person, on top of the legitimate fear of never having a child.
This is common.
For one, it’s the reality of what is realistic and possible and if there is cause for hope (by gaining perspective) or if it’s an alarm bell that’s it’s time to evaluate your journey.
Also, your brain operates to protect you and after having set-backs can make it easier to lose hope for fear of getting caught off guard in case it doesn’t work out. Your brain operates to keep you alive, not necessarily happy. We can thank our brains or minds for that. They’re on our side but we can also do something about and I’ll get to that.
Also, well, you’re human and you can’t expect to be happy and hopeful every second of the day like the Disney ‘It’s a Small World’ song on repeat. Sounds nauseating, right? There’s nothing wrong with not feeling hope. We can start from a place of accepting that.
Next, if you have the curiosity to explore what it is you need to do to strengthen your hope and ignite more motivation, then let’s go there because there are tools and techniques to work with and not against your beautiful, curious mind. There are. You can take back more control. It’s something to fold into your mix of tools and strategies to be well. Scroll on for 4 ways.
4 ways to strengthen your hope
Here are a few ways you could develop a more hopeful mindset. They’re not mutually exclusive either, you could try more than one or all of them.
1. Buy a faith purchase
One way to build hope is to buy something for your future baby even before you’re pregnant or however early you are in your pregnancy. It’s called a faith purchase because the people who coined this have faith or trust it will happen. It’s a ‘field of dreams’ approach where ‘if you build it, baby will come’. It could be anything from baby booties, to a car seat. It doesn’t have to be a purchase. It could be second hand baby clothes or supplies from family or friends.
Having that tangible thing can make it feel like this is real instead of being unattainable and something that only happens to others. It can happen to you. A faith purchase can also be a symbol of connection to others you want to be in-community with, like moms or parents of multiples. For example, ‘I bought this onsie with a zipper for easy diaper changed’, so you’re speaking parent-language and feel socially included.
As a caution, if you see your faith purchase after a fertility trauma or being triggered from an insensitive comment it could hurt extra deeply seeing it. If you have a/another fertility trauma it may no longer symbolize hope; although, it may also be the sign of hope to get you through it. It’s such a personal decision.
If having one is right for you, consider where to keep it. Do you want it tucked away or in sight to see everyday?
2. Visualize it
You could visualize a faith purchase or a scenario where you have your baby. Using your mind means you can erase it if it’s not working for you anymore and you can adapt to your changing journey, such as visualizing life without the baby you want. It could be you visualizing yourself driving in a car and looking back in the rearview mirror at a car seat with baby in it, or visualizing yourself pushing a stroller down the street when you go on a walk. The brain will release hormones as if it’s happened and give you feelings of hope, when the timing is right. When the timing isn’t, don’t.
Let me put a disclaimer that you cannot manifest a baby only by thinking of one. Visualizations can be powerful but they’re not that powerful! It’s a tool.
3. Book a fertility coaching session
Working on a hopeful mindset so that you’re less riddled with doubt is what fertility coaches like me do. I coach and meet my clients where they’re at with any combination of standard coaching, visualization, neuroscience informed exercises, motivation techniques or another number of other tools.
4. Read success stories
For some people hearing stories about people who have had a baby and in particular had a similar background to yours (e.g. the same ages and fertility diagnosis) and had a baby, might give you hope that this could be you one day. Others find success stories triggering. If you like hearing them, you can find videos all over Instagram or TikTok with the hashtag appropriate to where you’re at (e.g. #miraclebaby #IVFbaby, #IUIbaby, #rainbowbaby, #letrozolebaby)
Don’t forget your approach and relationship to hope can and will change. That’s OK.
Now I’ll leave you with asking, what does hope feel like to you? What would having more hope do for you? How would strengthening your hope impact others around you?
*This can get even more challenging because of a past experience, anxiety, trauma, genetics or other mental or physical health issue. There are mental health and physical health conditions to which this won’t apply. Please talk to your physician or mental health professional or book a call with me if you’re unsure.