Fertility Friday: Happiness & Fertility

So for my New Years resolution I decided I was going to read one new book a month… And then I thought about it more and went, Well Gordo, that aint going to happen. You dont have the time for that. And then I went, but Gordo, make the time. You tell your patients this, when they tell you they dont have the time to take care of themselves. So after a few hours of talking and negotiating with myself. I actually have some great conversations in my head… I had a brain wave and decided I could do some audio books, so on the way to work I could listen to them and on the way home, thats over two hours a day….. GREAT… A Solution…..

So got my first audio book online and I was off… I’ve also made the decision that it was about time that I stopped reading books about fertility, acupuncture, all things IVF, pregnancy and birth related. Its kinda sad when you see the titles on my kindle. I love reading about business and success. So I found a book on ‘Delivering Happiness’ The Zappos Way….

So well done me, I finished it in two weeks… Very cool. And very surprised at myself. What was interesting was I started to think about my own patients and their happiness. The more I thought about it, the more it kinda started to make sense. In all there years that I have worked with fertility, I couldn’t remember one time at an initial consult where the patient was happy to be there with me in the clinic. The happiness had left their lives. Gone. They so want to have that experience of becoming mums and dads, going from being just that couple, to becoming a family. And there it seems so easy for everyone else. Where everyone around them moves on.

So getting back to my audio book, the author has come up with four pillars of happiness, which really when I thought about them made so much sense…

So what is happiness, how do we really truly know when we are happy. And when we are not. Can this happiness be controlled….

So he defines it as:

Perceived control in ones life.

Perceived growth and movement in your life.

Friends & Family connections.

Creating something bigger than yourself.

So basically, he believes that to be truly happy you need to have all of the above four in balance, or close to enough to balance. Where you feel like you are in control of your life, not in a control freakish way, but such that its not out of control. From all the years I have worked with fertility its the one area you definitely can’t control and definitely will feel like everything is out of your control. And if you think about it, with only 3 days a month where you are at your most fertile, that gives you 36 to 38 days a year where you have to potential to conceive your baby. So its only natural that you are going to try and control these most precious days. Now lets throw some men into the mix where its not you and you are dependant on your partner and theres the perfect storm.

How many of you can say that you are in control of your fertility, very few I would say, isn’t it more like your fertility is controlling you. I’ll let you into a secret, it is…. And you need to come to terms with that…. Its out of your control… Being in control is sometimes about knowing when you can’t control something.

Perceived growth and moving forward in your life, well thats a definite ‘NO’. Life becomes stagnant and everything in your life is on hold while your on the fertility roller coaster, everything goes out the door, holidays, career and your relationship with your partner, everything becomes process driven, timed and controlled. As your friends are moving on with their lives, having their first babies, then later their second and sometimes their third. Naturally, friendships changes, conversations change once the babies start to arrive in your tribe of friends and family. Being so aware, every conversation about babies, nappies and the latest gadgets the men have found for their babies, whether it be the coolest Ferrari baby stroller, to wifi monitors over cots…. Or maybe thats just what I would do if I was a dad… And then theres the day when you notice those conversations aren’t happening anymore. They know……

When it comes to our friends and family, we truly don’t appreciate them until we are in the darkest of places. Yes they can be a pain, yes they can borrow money, but true true friends, are hard to come by. And like everything in life there are of course different types of friendships, from the type that no matter how long its been since you have seen them, you just reconnect, where they almost instinctively know theres something wrong and are there. To the casual, where you could throw a sledge hammer at them and they’d have no appreciation or empathy to what you going through. And actually, don’t care… At the end of the day, nobody will truly understanding what your feeling, what your going through, how could they.

Or Rocks…… We do forget sometimes that we all have our rocks to carry. I have lots of rocks, I even gave them names once… And people soooooo love to carry their rocks of life, weighing them down and never never being able to let them go. Those rocks of sadness, of the loss of a baby, the rocks of fear, of never getting pregnant again. Those rocks of anger and frustration at how cruel life has become, why me, Im a good person. And we pour all these rocks into our ruck sacks, taking them to work, to our families. But never sharing our rocks or the stories of why we carry them. Never letting them go…. As we wade through the rivers of our own lives, with thunder and lightening, and gushes of wind, trying to fight the current…. Holding onto our precious rocks, as life gets heavier and heavier…. Drowning slowly in life….

But what I have learnt over time is that these rocks are not ours to carry forever, they are only there to let us know that something just isn’t right in our lives. We forget that if we truly let these rocks go, we would feel lighter, less fatigued. More energetic…. And we could stop fighting that current and go with it, to finally realise, that just around the corner is this beautiful calm lake…. The lake of no damn rocks allowed…. Because the only people there, are the people that do let go…..

By the way if you are a patient of mine, or become one in the future, I’ll tell you about my rocks…. The ones I have carried and finally finally let go…. It requires the ability to embrace change, to embrace the ability to just say to yourself. Im tired, so tired. I need my life back…. In the past the approach I took to life was one of, I will get there no matter what it takes, I will break through, if it kills me….

Ironically with that attitude, it nearly did…. So now, when I see life throwing curve balls at me, I look at my life and say to myself, what do I need to change, whats going on here…… I get excited… Unconsciously my brain, goes…. OH NOOOOOO….. Not again… I let my ‘brain’ work through it because I know that if I truly believe that there is something more out there to our lives, something bigger than me… Then its going to be ok… And this is the final pillar of happiness being part of something bigger in your life… Of course for everyone in my clinic its a baby…. And I get that….. And every time a new patient enters my clinic, I now look for their 4 pillars of happiness, to see which ones are broken… If we can fix that….. The life of fertility becomes easier and we open the possibilities to the patient believing they will become a mom or dad…