Pregnancy envy during IVF – how to deal with it?

pregnancy envy

Many of my yoga classes are created in response to emails I receive from you guys. This fertility class to help deal with pregnancy envy was created after I received the email below. I share R’s words here because I hope it helps you to feel a little less alone in how you’re feeling.

Pregnancy envy especially when you’re going through IVF or after you’ve lost babies is a very normal response. It doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re allowed to feel how you feel. Whether you feel jealousy, bitterness or even anger. It’s what you do with those feelings that matter. I hope this yoga class for gratitude helps you to move back into a more positive mindset. If yoga isn’t right for you today, I’ve added some other ideas for how to deal with pregnancy envy at the end of this article.

Dear Bettina,

It’s been a while now since I’ve wanted to send you an email to say THANK YOU for all your wonderful videos – it’s been nearly three years that we’ve been struggling to start a family and I had the good fortune to find YOU!

Your words from the heart mean a lot and your talent to reach out has really touched me recently (my husband even said how he could see a change!) I love doing yoga with you in my living room – all the way from Paris by the way – I’m a Brit who has set up home with a French frog.  I especially enjoy hearing about your little rants! There’s nothing like hearing people talk about these issues in your mother tongue.

Thanks for your email today. I do have a little request in fact, if it’s possible. I will explain my little story first to put it all into context (will try to be brief!) After trying since 2016, but with no luck, I carried out some initial blood tests which all indicated that everything looked good (yay, good news so far!) So we just kept on ‘trying’ and everyone was telling me to ‘JUST relax’, but as the months went by, I started to get more and more down and I got into this really bad cycle of feeling guilty that I was ‘blocking’ the possibilities. (NOT to mention the number of pregnancy announcements I’d now heard and the number of tears I’d shed because of that.  ‘Why can’t it be my turn!?’). 

After more tests for me at the end of 2018, they all came back as good news (such a relief, I could finally give myself a break!) However, the ‘pivotal’ moment on our journey came when my husband got tested – it was NOT good.

We are now facing the possibility of IVF in order to achieve our dream and I have to say that I’m REALLY struggling with the thought of having to go through that and accepting that there are slim changes to conceive naturally. (Although, at the same time I’m also very excited because finally, thanks to science, we have a change to achieve our dream!) 

With all these mixed up emotions however, I feel terribly jealous and bitter towards others who have managed to conceive naturally and those feelings simple eat me up sometimes. When I’m least expecting it, they just wash over me! (I have already seen one of your videos so THANK YOU for understanding and showing us that it’s normal to feel like this!).

I’m not exactly sure what I’m asking here but I was hoping that my story could inspire your wonderful creativity to piece together a little routine to overcome these jealous thoughts and trusting in the body that IVF will work out for us!?

I’ve taken a lot out of many of your videos since joining your Online Yoga Circle and delving deeper into the fertility section 😊 and I have to say, I CAN NOT WAIT to be able to do your pregnancy videos next with you when we get there!! Everything you say resonates so well and I’m excited about doing a lot more from the comfort of our little apartment (I achieved a shoulderstand today for the first time in ages by the way – thanks for that.)

Sending love to your whole family from France!

Bisous,

R

How to deal with pregnancy envy

Allow yourself to feel it.

I think sometimes we feel bad for feeling envious or even a little angry towards others who have what we want. We beat ourselves for not being able to overcome these feelings and we try to deny them. But feelings can’t be ignored. They need to be felt.

Try to give yourself some space each day to feel whatever big emotions come up for you. You could do this during a yoga and meditation practice, or perhaps just by sitting quietly without distraction at the start and end of each day.

Keep living your happy life.

If your whole life becomes focused on trying to conceive (which is really easy to do), it can be hard to overcome feelings of pregnancy envy because it feels like the only thing you’ve got going on in your life.

Don’t forget to keep living your happy life. Plan things that have nothing to do with when you’ll fall pregnant or a when you have baby. Go for that promotion. Book that holiday. Sign up for that fitness challenge. Keep doing all the things you’ve always done that make you happy rather than putting life on hold ‘until you fall pregnant.’

Move emotions out with movement

Research has shown one of the best ways for us to process emotions is with movement. While I’m biased towards yoga (try the class below if you are too), honestly, any movement will do. Dance it out in your kitchen. Sweat it out on a run. Go to a boxing class. Even just going for a walk will help you to shake off some of that negativity you’ve been carrying around.

Practice meditation

Meditation and mindfulness activities help us to gain an awareness of our thoughts. More importantly though, this awareness of our thoughts gives us the power to change them. Before I practiced meditation regularly I would think something (for example “I’m never going to fall pregnant. There is something wrong with me.”) and I would automatically believe it and feel the emotions associated with it (Eg. sadness, desperation, anxiety.)

By practicing meditation I was able to notice my thoughts and choose whether they were helpful or not. Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts I would recite positive thoughts to myself instead. (Eg. My body is healthy and strong and ready to conceive a baby). By being able to consciously change the thoughts I was thinking, I was able to change how I felt in response.

Talk to someone who understands

It’s not uncommon to go round and round with our thoughts and emotions on a topic and feel like we’re never going to be able to move past them. A fresh perspective from a counsellor or friend who understands can help you to change your thoughts and shake off the negative feelings that you’re struggling with. (I offer counselling in this area if you’re looking for someone to talk to, get in touch)

Try this fertility yoga for pregnancy envy below and let me know in the comments if it helped. If you’re brand new to fertility yoga, start by downloading my free fertility yoga guide.

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