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Loving Kindness During Infertility
A blog by Amira Posner, Healing Infertility, March 5, 2015
Taking care of oneself during times of stress is one of the most important, yet sometimes the most difficult thing to do. Going through infertility can be an emotionally stressful time, but taking ownership over the things we can control is a very effective way of cultivating loving kindness.
Many of the women I see in my practice devote large amounts of their time and energy into trying to conceive but often, these women lose sight of the most important piece: self love and compassion. When the fertility quest is not working, rather than caring for ourselves, we beat ourselves up by feeling as if we are the problem and that something is wrong with us. We may ask ourselves, Why is this happening to me? Why am I not pregnant? What's wrong with me? Why me? As time goes on, our sense of self "as the problem" begins to dominate our emotions. We shift into survival mode where our daily life becomes one big medical emergency. This is the exact time when we need to begin caring for ourselves wholeheartedly with compassion and loving kindness.
Loving kindness is a form of meditation that can calm the deepest worries and fears; it re-balances feelings of jealousy, anger and doubt. Those struggling with infertility may feel let down by their bodies. The body hasn't performed the way hoped for or expected. And the result? Painful thoughts. These painful thoughts can often translate into feelings of sadness, anger, self-blame, inadequacy and guilt. These emotions are completely normal and when we can experience them with loving-kindness, we connect to something deeper. When we can experience these feelings with intention and compassion, we are able to escape our own self-judgments, feelings of shame, and fear based thinking.
Through a loving kindness mediation, we give ourselves permission to turn inward, reconnecting with kindness and love. As we actively give ourselves compassion, the critical, noisy, anxiety provoking voices soften. Our uncertainty and insecurities don't feel as pronounced as before. When we start honoring our experience alongside loving-kindness, what once felt unbearable to deal with becomes a little more manageable.
Let's try it: Superimposing a feeling of loving kindness towards ourselves is a good place to start feeling some self- compassion. If you need to fake the feeling in the beginning, by all means, do so. It won't be long before you sense the authenticity.
The benefits of evoking this type of loving-kindness feeling have been researched both on a physiological and emotional level. The results are astounding. Actively decreasing our stress response, lifting our moods and instigating connection and empathy are the end product of the experience of loving-kindness. Truly, you have nothing to lose by actively feeling a warm tender kindness towards yourself.
The loving kindness meditation is short and simple: "May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease."
You can start the mediation by reciting it to yourself, for yourself. After you say it to yourself, you can envision someone close to you with whom to say the meditation. You can then pick someone who you are having difficulties with and see the benefits readily. Picture this person in your mind and recite the meditation to that person.
Loving kindness during my period of infertility changed my life dramatically and it can assist you as well.