This is my first time speaking openly about this (mild panic attack happening over here) but I’m trying to get pregnant. It’s taking longer than we anticipated.
I was never one of those women who expected to get married or have kids by a certain age. I got married a few years ago when I was 32, deciding to focus on my career instead. And I never regretted that. Until this year when I began craving more than work success.
To boost my fertility, I saw doctors, increased my yoga practice, changed my diet, and committed to weekly acupuncture. And still, with all the positive changes … nothing. If you’ve experienced this you know it’s a roller coaster, challenging your relationship and your sanity at every turn.
While I’ve been trying to focus on the rest of life, baby-making has been a constant worry. I’m either thinking of it hopefully, with anxiety, or praying on it — it’s always on my mind.
Until this month. As I've done every month, I peed on a stick, hoping more than anything that this was going to be the time I got two lines. And yet, it wasn’t. But this time, unlike others, I was happy. Relieved, almost.
I realized that over the past few months, I’d been waiting for something to happen. Perhaps subconsciously, I was keeping myself in neutral. Anticipating some future milestone in my life, I never fully committed to what I was doing here and now.
I’m a competitive, determined person. I have always been proud of the fact that I worked hard and became a VP of a multi-billion dollar company at a young age. These days, I am working to find success in my own consulting business. When I added "wanting to be a mom" into the mix, I was ... different. Suddenly I wasn’t leaning in, I was waiting for a result to change things.
In short, I hardly recognized myself. I missed the old me; the person I relied on to take action. I’d been so focused on what wasn’t happening, that I lost sight of what was and who I am. So this past month, I decided to use what the “old me” knows all too well and to take action to find the person I’d left behind.
Here's what I did:
1. I committed to actively releasing my anxiety, frustration and all those uncomfy feelings.
I made the choice, daily, to focus my energy on myself (beyond baby-making), my husband, and my business. Instead of judging myself for having complicated feelings, I accepted them and chose to let go of thoughts and emotions that weren't serving me. Of course, I can’t keep those insecurities thoughts from popping up. But now I listen instead of fighting them, and then choose to move past them.
2. I committed to being grateful for the present.
I realized it wasn’t fair to my current life to be so unhappy with it. It sounds fluffy, but I have nothing to complain about and this is the blessing. Whenever those annoying thoughts popped up like a scary jack-in-the-box, I reminded myself of how grateful I am for all that I have in my life now — for the love, health and happiness that are with me every day. Practicing gratitude has a 100% success rate in changing my mood. (Just saying!)
3. I found a place to focus my energy.
At times I’d do the first two and I’d still feel fuzzy and couldn’t put my finger on why. Then I realized it’s like going shopping when you don’t know what you’re looking for; you wind up wandering around, lost, for two hours. What I needed was to find a positive outlet for my energy. When I made a choice to focus on launching my new business — something I could control — I saw a domino effect: traction with my clients, connection to those around me, and a shift in my mood.
Focusing on what I didn’t have was keeping me from seeing what I do have. So for me, NOT getting pregnant has turned out to be a lovely thing. I feel more connected to my husband, I feel healthy and strong, I’m focused on the excitement of my new offering and I feel tuned in to those I work with.
Do I still want to have kids? Yes, of course. But right now I choose to enjoy the happiness that exists in my life just as it is.
Anne Omland is a Leadership Mentor for ambitious women. She’s dedicated to helping women find success without sacrificing who they are. Her in-demand offering Discover Your Signature Style, is a leadership assessment tool helping you to create a career that fits like a glove: think Buzzfeed survey meets personality test meets career advice. Using her insider knowledge and years of leadership development experience as VP for a Fortune 500 company, she can help you identify what comes naturally to you so you can use it to design your own success. Click here to get started.