She is sitting in front of me on the screen, as we skype with each other she tells me that she needs my help.
She needs my help to understand the miracle that has just happened; a positive pregnancy test! She tells me that she has waited for two weeks before she took a home pregnancy test and that the sign that she has been waiting for appeared on the small screen. The sign that she had been waiting to see for 5 years!!
After 4 years of failed IVF treatments and trying to get her child with her own genetic material she then used one more year to get used to and accept that she would instead need egg donation. Now she sits overwhelmed with feelings, with the positive pregnancy test in her hand.
I need your help as everything is chaos right now, I had prepared myself for another negative test and I had planned what to say to myself and the closest people around me. I have experience with failed attempts, but I have no experience in handling a situation like this. I am so angry with myself because I want to be 100% happy, but I feel scared. I am so scared that I will think, feel, or do something wrong, that will make this positive sign go away, that will make me loose this baby.
As a counsellor of fertility patients I know that her reaction is normal. She has only ever experienced failed attempts in the past and her mind set has protected her during this time; she protects herself by preparing to fail. She would never dare to hope for a positive test, because then she will be even more disappointed if it fails again.
She knew that egg donation was something new, it was a treatment with young eggs and the success rate was almost 60% each attempt. She had told herself that she should feel hopeful, positive and have belief that it could happen, that she would finally get pregnant. But, after years of trying it is not that easy to “forget” all the failed attempts and just start with a new attitude and a new mind set.
Now she finds herself in a situation where she needs help to understand what has really happened and needs help to change her mind set and renew her experience.
This is the advice I gave her:
Don’t try to force yourself to feel and think differently.
The more you think that you are thinking, or feeling wrong, the more you will. If I tell you NOT to think about a pink elephant, what happens? Most likely you think about a pink elephant. It is the same with other thoughts too, if you tell yourself that you cannot think in a certain way you will continue to do that.
If you are scared and think that you will be in danger and will experience a miscarriage, tell yourself that it is normal to be scared! When you have waited years for this to happen of course you will feel scared of losing it!
Accept every feeling and thought that comes to you.
You need to accept the feelings and the thoughts that come, if not, you will use a lot of energy in trying to keep them away. Try to accept that 5 years of a certain mind set that relates to your child project will take more than 1 day to change.
None of your thoughts, or feelings will affect the embryo! You cannot think yourself into a miscarriage and you cannot think yourself into getting pregnant either, if you could then you would have been pregnant years ago.
This is a time limited chaos!
You will not be in this state of mind for a long time. This is a time limited chaos!
Live day by day.
When you wake up in the morning tell yourself the truth: “I am pregnant”. You are pregnant and you need to tell yourself that every day
Go and get your evidence!
When you need to change your mind set you normally need some evidence that shows you something new, something different. If you need to take pregnancy home test, or scan every week to keep the fear of a miscarriage away and to really believe that this will be a successful pregnancy, then you do it!
Try to be grateful for the situation you are in! You have been the project leader. You are the one that has been goal oriented. You are the one that did the emotional and ethical work so as to accept doing egg donation and the one that finally reached your goal!
She looks at me and says:
Ok I will try to focus on today. Today I am pregnant! She looks at the home test in her hand and says again; today I am finally pregnant!
I look at her and say:
Yes, you are and be kind to yourself!
Ask your future child “how would you like your mother to be in this moment? Do you think your child would like you to be stressed, or scared?”
She looks at me and says:
I think my future child would like me to be happy!
I say to her:
When you feel stressed ask your new and best adviser how to feel, may be that will help you!
She laughs and says:
Thank you for your help!
I wish her the best of luck!