No Envy, No Fear. It’s the title of a song I love by an artist called Joshua Radin. The song is about the idea that to live life well and be happy you should live without envy and fear. It’s a philosophy that I like the sound of, and generally in my life I feel I have been pretty good at adhering to (aside from a pathological fear of heights, which is going nowhere!!). Around the time I first heard this song- the start of 2014 - it struck a cord with me as I realized for the first time in my life I was filled with both envy and fear.
The start of this year was a hard time for me - I was coming off a rough year - 2 ectopic pregnancies, 5 operations, 2 IVF stimulated cycles and the loss of my fallopian tubes. I was still standing, but I don’t really know how. Running on empty, and for the first time in this whole 2.5-year path to pregnancy I was genuinely afraid that I might not have a baby. Ever.
Logic says there is still so much hope for us to have a baby. We are lucky that IVF is a very realistic option for us now that we are no longer able to conceive naturally - but try to let logic sink in to an exhausted, hormonal woman!
The fear I felt was white-knuckled, stomach twisting terror. It was unimaginable. It paralyzed me, I felt completely lost in it. Until then I had never in my 34.8 years even considered that I might not become a mum.
Everywhere I looked there were pregnant bellies, mums with strollers walking down the street, kids playing in the parks with their dads. Normally these are things I love being surrounded by; normally they bring a smile to my face, and hope to my heart- “that’s going to be me soon!”….but suddenly to my horror I felt full of anger - “why them and not me??” and envy - ‘I want what you have so much it hurts”.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling, and in knowing how awful it feels to be living in that state.
The question is how do you stop yourself from going there?
One simple answer that I’ve finally accepted is that sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you need to just feel it, let it out. You need to give yourself permission to acknowledge how hard it is, and that it’s ok to feel crappy about it. The trick for me has been finding the safe place to do this so that you don’t unintentionally take your baggage out on those who don’t deserve it - a good cry in the shower, a long walk or run, a D&M with someone who will listen without judgment.
I also really believe in meditation, yoga and positive visualization. That time of the day to set aside to process my fears, connect mind/body and find hope and belief again has been invaluable to me.
Another thing that has worked for me is try to practice gratitude. It can be so easy in this experience to focus on what I don’t have, what has gone wrong - I’ve found sitting down each night to write down at least three things I am grateful for has been a useful exercise to not let the negatives consume me.
There are still times when, even with doing all of these things, I don’t feel any better….really the only thing to be done at that stage is…. Chocolate!
What are your experiences of envy and fear? What are some of the things that help you deal with those emotions?