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Husband comes home, hands his wife a book saying, “here, I got you a present”.
Wife takes the book, but without looking at it shows a pained expression on her face.
Facial expression annoys the husband, who instantly feels unappreciated and wonders why he bothered to buy her the book.
“I thought you’d like it” he says, it’s your favorite author.
“Oh” she says, now interested, “I thought it was just some boring book you were giving me”.
What’s going on here?
Reading between the lines one can easily see that each reaction – the pained look on her face, and his annoyance of it – are conditioned reactions based, most likely, on a series of past events. In other words, there’s history here.
Maybe the husband has a history of getting his wife stuff she has no interest in, and this hurts her feelings.
Maybe the wife has a history of reacting before she takes time to consider the situation and thus the husband feels momentarily rejected.
We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge that our past actions – and more importantly our reactions – create within our brains unhelpful patterns that now condition us and make it far more likely we will react the same way over and over.
There’s a sense in society that we need years of therapy to overcome this kind of stuff, but we don’t. If we first choose to acknowledge the truth of the situation, ie that we are reacting based on conditioned patterns in our personality, then we just need to interrupt those patterns a few times to break the hold they have over us. It’s the simple biology of brain wiring!
One tool that is freely available to us all that would instantly solve both of the above conditioned reactions with no judgment or difficult introspection is the act of being present with the person you are engaging with.
A wonderfully humorous paragraph by a patient of the famous Dr Beer (RIP) recounting her memory of the crazy days women go through after IVF transfers:
“After 2 paranoid weeks of checking everything…nada…no HCG reading…not even a hint of pregnancy. I hadn’t drunk any coffee, hardly touched red wine, walked the dog daily, eaten broccoli and generally tried hard to keep in good shape. I’d done everything right! Finally, after 2 days of abject misery I had to do something – so I signed up for emergency acupuncture and hypnotherapy” —
Such is the mindset of a lot of women who are on the roller-coaster of fertility treatment.
But I’m here to tell you…all of the above stuff may be good to do, but it’s not even close to a home run.
When I hear people on online fertility forums say “We tried everything to get pregnant – nothing works” I want to pull their hair.
But luckily that urge soon gives way to a feeling of compassion for them and for the struggle they are going through.
If you have ongoing infertility, or a series of miscarriages, or failed IVF’s – you need to let go of simplistic notions and be prepared to tumble deep into the rabbit hole to learn what your body is trying to tell you, and you need to do it fast.
You need to be prepared to go where you haven’t gone before. Action alone won’t get a bun in the oven, you need a plan based on a proper understanding of what’s actually happening inside you.
If you’ve already tried lots of ‘things’ with no success, then you may need to rethink your plan.