Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cautious Optimism

As I continue my preparation for our next step in infertility treatments. I am trying to arm myself.

The last few months have been productive, despite some turbulent moments. I survived the holidays. I learned my limitations: with people, with myself, and with the pursuit for baby. I learned about the wonderful world of therapy; to practice a relaxation technique and be in a moment for a while. I’ve enrolled in a yoga class. (I start Monday and I am so excited.)

But, it has also led me to cautious optimism. Seems like a harmless phrase; something easily accomplished and understood. Many people discuss it in relation to infertility. But my logical part asks, “What does it mean and how do I practice cautious optimism?”

Honestly, it seems like you need to practice it if you want to survive. To avoid all the roller-a-coaster action and utter disappointment that is infertility. Why is it then I cannot find a “how to” book, a definition, concept discussion online, etc.

So, I asked people in my reality:

T’s answer, “You look at your wanted result, with caution. You know that there are many outcomes and are satisfied with any of them and if the ultimate outcome results you are ecstatic, but it isn’t the end all.”

Great theory honey, and I am working on being equally happy with other resolutions. But I believe that would mean I would be equally happy with being childfree. While the idea has grown on me considerable, maybe that it might just be the outcome, I’m just not there yet. Therefore using your definition, I’m screwed. So, I must chug along.

A colleague brought up the topic dealing with work. I asked him what it meant. He said, “If it is raining, there is a 100% chance of rain. If it isn’t raining, then it isn’t raining.”

He admits that he is a pessimist and I have to agree. No optimism in this one.

My therapist suggested not thinking about the wanted end result. To concentrate on other things which make me happy. To ignore all signs of a positive solution. To only focus on other good things in my life and list them everyday in order to focus only on those things and not the desired outcome.

It seems to be a reasonable answer and a logical one that I will attempt to practice. But infertility, especially when you are going thru treatments are all consuming. In practice I believe this will be extremely hard. But, I can try. And if I am successful 10% of the time, I’ll be content with myself. However, isn’t it almost ignoring it, pretending you aren’t experiencing it or what you are aiming to achieve?

Regardless, my aim is to increase the arsenal against infertility’s emotional devastation.

What I intend to do in practicing cautious optimism?

Continue relaxation technique.
Continue seeing my therapist.
Continue to walk at lunch (aim for five days, be satisfied with two).
Start yoga on Monday, January 8th.
Get a massage once a month.
Seek other activities to do during treatments (book club, cooking classes, increase yoga classes, etc.).
Write a daily list of things I am grateful for when I am undergoing treatments.

I truly believe that if I am able to learn to practice cautious optimism, it will help me find peace. And maybe it will automatically lend itself to infertility too.

What are your thoughts? How do you practice “cautious optimism”?


BigP's Heather said...

Oh, I don't practice it. I practice Denial and Insanity and then Depression...usually in that order.

Serenity said...

Hey there- thanks for the comment on my blog. I've added you to my blogroll if you don't mind!

I think Cautious Optimism is having some deep seated belief that, no matter what happens or how long it takes, you're ultimately going to be ok.

What you've written above is SO important. But it's also so hard. While you're doing this, remember you WILL have your ups and downs. But if you can start reclaiming your life, at least a bit, you can find a little measure of peace for a while.

And we're all here for you too, hon.

Have you read Ali Domar's book "Conquering Infertility?" That book single-handedly helped me gain my life back. I'm really in a good place now because of it.

(Or maybe it's just the pain meds I'm on right now. LOL!)