Shame, Guilt and Infertility – what do they have in common?
Here are two very common definitions of shame and guilt:
Shame – a painful feeling of humiliation or distress cause by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
Synonyms: humiliation, mortification, chagrin, embarrassment, indignity, discomfort
Guilt – the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.
Synonyms: culpability, guiltiness, blameworthiness
Here is one, very standard definition of infertility:
Infertility – the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year. In primary infertility, pregnancy has never occurred. In secondary infertility, one or both members of the couple have previously conceived, but are unable to do conceive again after a year of trying.
Diminished or absent ability to conceive.
What does this mean to you?
Is this about how you feel or what you think?
Infertility & Feelings
We know that our feelings are not facts. We know this in our heads. We do. We know a few other things as well. We know that our feelings are powerful and come from way deep down inside. Our feelings come from our core values; even ones that we cognitively believe are erroneous.
Our feelings become self-fulfilling prophecies. We feel it. We proclaim our feelings. We declare them. We argue about how real they are. How strong they are. We convince ourselves that are feelings are us. We feed them. We are our feelings and if they don’t fit exactly right, we become them.
Just like we are our diagnoses?
Wait a minute. Back up please.
We are not our diagnoses. We are not infertility. We are not infertile. Any more than we are cancer, heart disease, diabetes or mental health. We are not these names of diseases or diagnoses.
We are people. That’s who we are. And our diagnoses are a very small piece of who we are.
Our feelings are even more transitory than our diagnoses.
Our feelings sway and move in the breeze.
When we let them. When we don’t demand that they define us. That they are us.
Look again at the definitions of guilt and shame. They point the finger at us. There is not a single redeeming aspect of shame or guilt. Not one positive attribute.
The opposite of guilt is innocence. The opposite of shame is pride.
I’m not here to talk you out of your feelings. I am here to remind you that observing and acknowledging your feelings does not mean having to live in them.
The opposite of infertility?
You know what it is.
Here are a few mantras to combat “infertility”:
We are fertile.
We are alive.
We are vibrant.
We are worthwhile.
We are whole.
And we are complete. Exactly as we are in this moment.
Yes we are.