Sometimes, trying to conceive doesn’t come easy. In fact, in can bring a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges and doubts we wouldn’t expect. Feeling that our life is not moving forward, that somehow, we are failing, and wondering if we’ll ever have a baby are common thoughts. In this article we talk about the importance of self-love when trying to conceive and how you can nurture it.
What is self-love?
Self-love is “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth” (Khoshaba, 2012). It’s about engaging in actions that allow our body, mind and soul to grow and value ourselves as human beings worthy of love, care and respect.
However, when we are faced with infertility, it can be challenging to keep the physical, emotional and spiritual balance. We often feel like our identity was taken away from us, we feel lost, feel less of a woman/man and often don’t consider ourselves worthy of much. Bouncing back and rebuilding self-love takes a lot of work.
Components of self-love
Self-love comprises self-awareness, self-worth, self-esteem and self-care.
Self-awareness is being aware of our thoughts, and how these affect our emotions and ultimately our actions. When trying to conceive, we experience a lot of new thoughts and emotions that can be difficult to process. You can improve self-awareness by learning to identify your thoughts and emotions and keeping a journal.
Self-worth results from the beliefs we have about ourselves. We may believe we are not worthy of love, of a relationship, or even of having a family. This is often a result of past experiences (some happening in childhood) and negative conditioning from society. Self-worth is about believing we are valuable, despite our circumstances and achievements.
Self-esteem results from self-worth. If we believe we are worthy, we will develop self-esteem. It’s about being comfortable and happy with who we are and our achievements. Often with infertility, we have low self-esteem and are not comfortable with our bodies who aren’t doing what they are ‘supposed’ to do.
Self-care is all the actions we take to look after ourselves. From taking a shower, to eating well, people we surround ourselves with and engaging in activities that we enjoy.
5 steps to nurture self-love when trying to conceive
- Practice mindfulness. Meditation helps you focus on your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and environment. Becoming aware of what you think, feel and want will help you take actions that are aligned with where you want to be in life and what you want to achieve.
- Self-forgiveness. When trying to conceive, we can be hard on ourselves, feeling guilty, ashamed or unworthy. Remember you are human, no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and you are doing the best you can.
- Put yourself first. Instead of trying to do what others expect you to do, try focusing on yourself and your needs. Set boundaries and engage in activities that bring you a sense of pleasure, achievement and connection in your own terms.
- Holistic self-care. Make sure you are giving your body, mind and soul what they need thrive. From nutrition, to sleep and exercise, to healthy social interactions and even what thoughts we allow to grow in our minds. Find a balance between what you want and what you need.
- Purposeful living. Self-love will grow more when you are living a life that you designed. Start by reflecting on the life you’d like to have (meaningful, happy, etc), and set an intention. Every time the decisions you make in your life are aligned to that higher intention you will grow self-love.
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