One of the hardest things to do is to feel genuinely hopeful after you've been knocked down. I get that. I've experienced that. Maybe hope isn't the right word, exactly, because hope in it's simplest definition means to want something to happen. Maybe a better word is optimism-- but I'll use them interchangeably because no one is grading my grammar. I hope.
A question I come across more and more in my private practice is how can I honestly feel hopeful...after three failed IVFs, after six miscarriages, after ten BFNs in a row, after three years...
I wish I had a magic wand filled with hope stars that could erase the fears and traumas and shocks and heartbreaks of the past so that everyone can move forward excitedly into whatever lies ahead for them. Filled only with complete optimism and hope and expectation that things will go in their favor. For a lot of people it becomes hard to believe that something could go right. People often feel cursed or unlucky and begin to believe some evil force out there has it out for them.
But I don't have a magic wand, and I know you can't just tell yourself to feel hopeful or optimistic. But what I do know is that our minds are very powerful tools-- so while you might not be able to convince a broken heart to feel otherwise, you can use a logical mind to explore other options.
One thing that I find helpful is making a conscious effort to let the past go. This is easier said than done, but while your heart might fear the next IVF cycle because the previous ones haven't be successful, and the body might cringe walking through the clinic doors, the mind can be the anchor, convincing the rest of the team that this time can be different.
And it can be. That doesn't mean it will be. Just that it can. And in that possibility lies hope and an optimism that can maybe be better defined as openness to good things.
Can we be open to good things while simultaneously knowing the bad things all too intimately? Yes. We do this by staying with the facts and trying not to get too ahead of ourselves or locked into the what-ifs, and by not digging up the past for reference, because as I like to repeat over and over, the past doesn't dictate the future. What is fact in any given moment is just that. If there is opportunity then we sit in that with open arms, if there's disappointment then we sit in that too and hold ourselves tightly, reminding ourselves that whatever happens we will get through it and be ok.
Sending love and optimism and hope stars to anyone who needs it.