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It’s so strange to experience something over and over again and then suddenly that same benign thing feels entirely different.

I grew up dreading my period each month.  I didn’t want to feel the physical pain of it or the annoyance of having to look after myself a little more carefully for a few days. There was even some shame and embarrassment for me around my cycle when I was going through high school. But the moment I decided I wanted to have a baby, everything shifted. 

Suddenly that monthly dread took on an entirely different set of emotions. First there’s hope leading up to it. And then the sore breasts, fatigue, irritability, sometimes a tiny bit of pink spotting leads to the roller coaster.   These were all symptoms I had early in my first pregnancy. Could I be pregnant? Maybe I should take a test. No, it’s too early. Yes, they’re symptoms of pregnancy. No, they’re symptoms of PMS.

Then there was the disappointment.  The deflation when I started to feel a twinge of cramping. Yet each time I’d go to the bathroom, I’d still pray that I wouldn’t see blood.  Until I did.

And then came the loss. The grief.  The knowing that I was about to go through that cycle all over again. The preparation, mechanical sex, waiting, hope, deflation, grief.  How is one to cope with it all? 

I wish I had learned how to cope earlier in my fertility journey. Here’s what I learned later in my journey about moving forward after my period:

1. Allow yourself time to mourn: our tendency is to shove down the pain, get dressed and go to work (or wherever you’re off to). That’s what we call “moving on” in society.  I say, allow yourself a moment to grieve. Honour what you’re feeling. As I said in my blog post last week, grief from infertility is a real thing. And you need to feel it in order to release it.  If you don’t, it will eek out in other ways – anger, irritability, blame.

2. Do something nice for yourself: buy yourself some flowers or a really good cup of coffee, take yourself out for lunch or indulge in a spa treatment.  Do what makes you feel good emotionally. Take care of YOU and do it unapologetically.  Do not compare your grief to that of anyone else.  Don’t diminish your own pain.

3. Nourish yourself: start preparing physically for your next cycle. It’s now that your next egg is preparing for release, so nurture that egg.  Get lots of sleep. Eat healthy food. Move your body. Do what is going to make your body feel good. 

4. Meditate: of course!  If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll already know that meditation is a key component for healing. 

5. Pray: you don’t need to get down on your knees or even make this a religious thing.  Just say a little prayer to yourself or the Universe or to whomever is your deity.  “I hand over the burden of this grief to you.  Thank you for taking care of me and supporting me”.   

It is so important to go through a healing process each month. When you do, you will recover emotionally and that impacts your physical health.  When you are in better physical health, your fertility will improve.  

Now, I would love to hear from you.  Comment below, what have you tried that has helped you move forward after your period?

Sheri Johnson