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Grief and Gratitude while on the #TTC Journey {Expert Fertility Advice}

In this video, Aimee talks about managing grief and gratitude while #TTC. 

For more information about this topic, check out the monthly Womb Healing Talks, led by our team psychotherapist, Samantha Silverberg. Sign up for this month’s event at aimeeraupp.com/wombhealing

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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor. I have been a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 17 years and I will be speaking from my clinical experience helping thousands of women conceive. The office of Aimee E. Raupp, M.S., L.Ac and Aimee Raupp Wellness & Fertility Centers and all personnel associated with the practice do not use social media to convey medical advice. This video will be posted to Aimee’s channels to educate and inspire others on the fertility journey.

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SEE TRANSCRIPT BELOW OR CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR THE FULL VIDEO.

Hi everyone. How are you today? Hi, I’ll let everyone start to come on. Welcome. I am Aimee of aimeeraupp.com and I get to do this every single week. Come to you guys live and offer my support and my service to all of you. Many of you are on the journey to baby and look to me for assistance and support in navigating that process, which is huge. It’s a huge undertaking and it’s stressful and it’s full of trauma and ups and downs and all of the things.

And that’s what I’m here today to do is to offer support to all of you. So I do a different kind of live every single week. This week is an ask me anything about managing grief and gratitude. And so if you guys want to post questions in the question box. So I’m not going to answer the comments. You have to post questions in the question box, but they need to be around managing grief and or gratitude as we head into this season here in the US especially for Thanksgiving. It’s the season of gratitude and giving thanks. And I think that can be a big trigger for a lot of women who are struggling and having a hard time finding the space for gratitude within their grief or their angst or their sadness.

So yeah, I’m just going to start talking about the topic and as things come up you guys feel compelled to ask questions, please use the question box. There is that little circle with the question mark in it. That’s where you go and post your questions in there and then I will come in and support you. Some of the things that I see really helpful… The number one thing I see the most helpful to my clients, my patients, the patients that are serviced by my entire team.

We coach women all over the world and we also have clinics and see women in person. The grief of this process, this trying to conceive journey is very real and it’s big and it’s overwhelming. And I think many out there are telling us, “Oh, just be positive. Just think good thoughts.” Or, “Negativity doesn’t get you anywhere,” or, “You got to stop focusing on all the things that are going wrong.”

I think it’s very unhelpful, the approach. And rather what I do see being one of the most helpful thing to women and their partners if they’re in partnerships struggling during their fertility journey or at any time is acceptance. Accepting where you are at and not fighting it. And sometimes that might look like a day where… [inaudible 00:03:15] a phone call came through. So hopefully that didn’t screw us up here on the gram and just see people still joining. So I think we’re okay, but acceptance. So what do I mean by that? What does that even look like or seem like?

This is where I’m at and not ideal. It’s not where I wanted to be. I think a lot of women on the journey are realizing 2022 was coming to an end and they don’t have their baby yet. They’re not as close to their baby as they thought they would be by the end of this year. And so it’s really navigating that piece of how can I find gratitude in all this pain and suffering? And acceptance doesn’t necessarily lead us to gratitude, but it does take the burden off of us of trying to pretend or fake it or be in a space where we have to force ourselves to think positive. It’s just more saying to ourselves, “I’m in this space. This isn’t where I wanted to be. This is hard, this is painful.” And a lot of times saying that out loud or in a safe space with others or even just to yourself in the privacy of your own room or bathroom or mirror, it lifts you out of the race against yourself.

Because a lot of times we’re in that space of feeling sad, feeling mad, feeling heavy grief, we’re witnessing the trauma of all this. Feeling spinny, feeling chaotic, lack of clarity. And it’s almost ’cause we’re battling ourselves. We’re saying to ourselves, “I shouldn’t be here. There’s so many other things in my life that I should be grateful for and I’m not. I’m just so focused on this journey and how it’s not working,” and we use it as a means or an excuse to beat ourselves up. But the moment we just say to ourselves or out loud in a safe space that this is where I am. Yeah. It’s not how I pictured it. And as someone said to me once, it’s stepping into that space of grieving the life you thought you would have versus fighting against it, trying so hard to fit a square peg and do a round hole.

And so those of you that are just coming on this today is an ask me anything about how to manage grief and gratitude on the trying to conceive journey and what I’m talking about. And so if you have any questions, I’m not answering them in the comment section, I’m going to take them in the question box. So you’ll see there’s a little question mark with a text circle around it. So submit your questions there and I see some coming in, I’m just chatting for a bit, warming everyone up to what we’re doing.

But we’re talking about managing grief and gratitude. I know for a lot this time of year, just so much is brought up because it’s yet another year has passed or is about to pass. And especially in the US we’re really focused on Thanksgiving and gratitude and giving. And it’s a really tough space for many people because you don’t feel like you even have enough space for gratitude or forgiving because your pain is so big and so real.

And so my advice and my recommendation based on 20 years of clinical experience is then just own it. Own that fact. I don’t have a lot to give right now. I’m in a lot of pain. I am grieving. I am sad. And when you do do that, when you acknowledge it, there is a cloud that starts to lift where it’s okay, I’ve just said that out loud. It’s like ripping the bandaid off, like talking about the elephant in the room as we say.

And acknowledging, no, this is real, this pain is real, this trauma is real. You haven’t made any of it up. You’re no more or less comparing your suffering to others. I think a lot of people do that. Well, I don’t have it as bad as she does, but it’s like, no, your pain is your pain. Your suffering is your suffering and you owe yourself and your life the space to acknowledge that and in the right environment with the right people to then have someone hold space for you around that topic.

And so I think the only way we can get to the gratitude side in this journey and in this process is by acknowledging the pain and the suffering and I’m a huge fan of spiritual work and have done a lot myself. And I do think we spend too much time focusing on the suffering is not necessarily beneficial to us either. But if we ignore the suffering or pretend it’s not there, it really bites us in the ass. In Chinese medicine, one of the number one reasons for long term health issues, chronic conditions, disease states, is repressed emotions. And so the first thing we owe to ourselves, and I think too, our future family and how we want to mother ourselves and this child or children who are going to come through is being comfortable with expressing how we feel and saying it out loud, this sucks, this is hard.

I am having a hard time. Some days are better than others. And in that then we acknowledge the grief, we acknowledge the anger, we acknowledge the sadness, it does lift us a bit. And then through there we start to find clarity or be able to look and say, “My relationship is the strongest it’s ever been. I have learned a lot about my body. This process has taught me a lot about X, Y or Z and I am grateful for that.” And it’s not saying that finding gratitude around this journey being hard never means that you chose it or that you’re okay with it. You’re still in a club you never wanted to belong to. And I think we all know that. And I always joke, you guys found me and I’m so honored and so happy, but you never wanted to find me. You never wanted to need support from someone, from a fertility detective or a clinician who’s been helping women get and stay pregnant for so long.

You never wanted that. You wanted to just easily get pregnant and stay pregnant and go on with your life and that was always your vision. And so your life did not go the way you wanted it to go. And you deserve the space to grieve that. And not everybody understands. And you also can’t expect everyone to understand. Some people just don’t have the capacity to understand that. And so you just move on from that.

It’s not your mission to convince others to understand your pain and your suffering. Your only space is to really find those who can support you and hear you and see you. But no one’s going to understand your exact suffering and pain and we can’t expect anyone to, but we do have the right to acknowledge it. This time of year is really hard for me. Sorry, I’m going to pass on going to that party because yeah, I’m just not feeling myself lately.

You don’t have to get into details and we don’t have to have guilt. You’re allowed to feel how you’re allowed to feel. You’re allowed to say no. You’re allowed to say yes. And when you give yourself permission for that, that is when I think it just allows you to breathe, allows your heart to open up and then perhaps we can see some of the things in our life that we are grateful for. And there are a lot of things that we’re grateful for. There’s a lot that comes through the learning and the journey, right? Oh, we have questions building up in here. Let me just see. “How to overcome a person or a family member who is pregnant and will tell the news at Christmas.” Yeah, it’s hard man. It’s hard.

So I think if you know it’s going to happen, you prepare yourself. I think you grieve that before. You come up with a script before. And I think also separate the truth. I’m going to use the word jealous. I’m not saying that you’re jealous. I’m not calling you a jealous person in a negative way, but I am jealous of that because that’s something that I’ve been working really hard at. And this woman seemingly pretty easy, that crushes me. I feel crushed by this news and it’s hard for me, but then separate further. But I’m happy for her. Everyone does deserve what they want. So not make it about them and them being bad people because they got it so easily, but more really breaking it down. This is hard for me. This is really hard news for me to digest because of where I’m at in my life.

But it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m happy for you. You want to grow your family, so do I. And then some can take it even another step further, which is a push. And I’m not saying you have to, but just hear me out and I talk about this and Yes, You Can Get Pregnant that it’s seeing and celebrating the fertility that is around you rather than saying, “Everyone’s pregnant but me. And it sucks.” That there are a lot of pregnancies going on, so there’s a lot of fertility and the body really does know how to do it and I’m getting my body aligned with that knowing and her body has the knowing. So why can’t my body have the knowing. Almost the comparison on the flip side, rather it being negative of it, being positive of if she can do it, I can do it.

If she can eat that and do that and I’m doing this and doing this, I’m giving my body and my cells even more. And I know comparison is the root of all suffering. So I’m not really encouraging that. But just as a jumping off point too, if it feels doable, that is another option. But I do think if you anticipate the news and you have major anxiety about it, you feel yourself out. Maybe you go late after the announcement’s made, maybe you have a conversation with this person before the party or the celebration one on one and just say, “I know you’re going to share the news and I just want you to know how excited I am for you and that what I’m going through, whether or not you’re public about that, that’s the other piece of, but what I’m going through, it’s very separate. My joy for you is separate than my sadness for myself.” And I think being able to see that is a really important piece.

“I turned 47 in April, feeling better overall, but I have those moments of incredible sadness.” Yeah, I hear you. And so what does that look like? And I think really sitting with that and just like, okay… And I think the age thing, it’s a fun game to play too, of how old do I feel? How old do I look? Do I feel healthier now than I did three years ago? And if fertility is an extension of health, then it’s more about health than it is about age. Am I still in the game? Am I still menstruating and ovulating? And age is hard. It’s tricky. And so again, grieving. Grieving where you thought you would be versus where you are. Trying to line those up though of how do I want to feel versus how I currently feel and seeing if we can get those to match.

And even if it’s breaking it down simple, like, I want to feel more clarity. I want to feel a sense of purpose. I want to feel more pride about my health and my body and how I take care of myself. So making it less about baby and more about you and your health and your vitality, that could be helpful too. And playing around with… The age really is just a number. There’s a big difference between biological and chronological age. Maybe educating yourself more on that. Reading books. There’s a great one by Kara Fitzgerald’s called Younger You. That is a non fertility book, but a great book on aging and how we can really battle, if you will, or slow down the aging process.

And so that for me, I’m that kind of person, that education really empowers me and it helps me like oh my God, I get into the science, I get so excited, I’m like, oh God. And then it really starts to shift my belief systems. And so perhaps it’s something like that too. And then look for other stories of hope. I’ve had probably 10 women at this stage in my career at 47 that did it with their own eggs. So I know that’s not a ton of women, but considering the population that I see is such a small subset that’s a decent percentage.

And just that honesty with yourself of like, but I’m going to be in the game for as long as I can be and I want to look back and have no regrets that I tried everything. I looked under every rock. And living from that space too. “How to overcome the sadness when you realized that you always put your family first before your dream to become a mom. A decade passed and I realized that I spent the majority of my fertility years helping my family instead of focusing on myself. My time is running out.” Yeah. That’s a tough feeling. That is really tough. And I think it’s unpacking again, that resentment, expressing it, whether it could just be writing a letter or having a therapist that you talk to, getting the tools and the support there. Maybe not expressing it to the family themselves because that might feel like you’re hurting somebody’s feeling and you don’t want to do that.

But really processing that because it doesn’t serve you being in. So processing it and letting yourself really feel all the feels like I’m upset that was the choice I made. But then also meeting yourself with compassion. Because the truth is, and I don’t know you well enough to really speak to this exactly, but all of us are always doing the best we can from our level of consciousness in that time. And so during that time, it wasn’t like you were, I think deliberately choosing one over the other. You were just doing what felt right to do in that moment. And now looking back you’re like, crap, I wasted those years and I should have been focused on other things. And I had a call yesterday with the Jen Aniston article that came out in Allure, which was so deep and raw and touching.

But what she says about, “I wish someone would’ve told me to just freeze my eggs.” Oh it makes me want to cry for her. But my patient said the same thing. She’s in her late forties and regretting that she didn’t think of that younger or sooner. And I just said, “I don’t know how it serves us though.” So we deserve to process that emotion. But the other side of it is it keeps us in the past and we keep thinking those things. It keeps us in the past and it keeps us in that space of resentment and regret rather than in the space of acceptance. But this is where I’m at right now. And so in this moment I am going to do everything I can do in this moment to help support my dreams and my goals. But the more I focus on the past, I just dredge it up and drag it through.

And I don’t know how it really serves me in moving forward. So it’s processing the grief. “After having two miscarriages, I still have emotions about it. How can I get rid of them?” So I’ve had a miscarriage myself and I don’t know that you get rid of them. I think you have to accept it. I will always have some sadness over my losses because they were traumatic for me and they’re a part of me now, as I say lately, they’re a part of your thread.

They’re a part of who you are. They’re making up the thread of you moving forward for the rest of your life. And I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. I’m not saying to where it is a badge of honor, but more like this is me, this is me. I’m a woman who’s had two miscarriages and I have grief over that. And some days it’s bigger than other days and it does get less with time, but it’s real. And it happened to me. And I think you do a disservice by trying to erase that. So instead own it, accept it and just accept that you’re human and some days are going to be easier than other days.

Okay. So this question is not about grief. So I’m not going to… “Upon hearing I don’t have children a coworker replied, ‘Oh, you’re one of those selfish people.'” Oh my god, that’s another… read Jen Aniston’s article because she does say that. She’s like, “The next time you say something to someone, you really…” And I think about that all the time. You don’t know their story. Women say it to me too of like, “Oh, aren’t you lucky you only have one child?” And I’m like, “You don’t know my fucking story. You don’t know what I wanted. You don’t know what I went through.” And my story isn’t other people’s stories and it’s different. And I’m not saying that I had this major thing that I went through that they don’t know about, but just more like doing the work I do. That’s the last thing you should ever say to somebody.

You should never say like, “Oh lucky you, you only have one kid.” I mean like, oh my god, you don’t know. Or someone like you. “Oh, so you’re one of those selfish people.” And I think if you feel comfortable, and you can say it in a very non-confrontational way… I have said it before. There was a party recently that I was at and one of the mothers said that to me. And I just said, “You know not for nothing but you don’t know my story and you don’t know other women’s stories.” And I weaved it into… I said, “Doing the work I do, helping women make babies and seeing how hard they work. I think you should be conscious of that because you might be saying to someone who’s wanted a child and working really hard at it for 10 years.” And so that is… If it feels comfortable to you with grace, you can say that.

You can be like, “It’s something that I’ve always wanted. It just hasn’t worked out for me.” And that might really shift the conversation. But you then opened yourself up, which feels very vulnerable and maybe it doesn’t feel safe in that exact relationship. But I think the more we talk about it, the sharing lifts the shame. And the more we talk about it, the more all of a sudden people share their stories and open up. And so in the right environment… And I will say that, oh well I always had a dream of wanting two children, but I had a miscarriage.

And then things shifted for us in our family and decisions were made that we felt okay with one child. But you never know. I do stuff like that and it’s I’m not being dishonest by any means and I’m sharing my honest truth in a way that feels non-confrontational, but also then gives people the space to be human with you. And so you don’t have to get defensive and be like, well that’s a really shitty thing to say to somebody because you don’t know my story. You could just say it’s not selfishness about not having a child. It’s not a choice. I would love to have children. And you could leave it at that. And then they don’t know what they’re going to say to them. And that’s it. You’ve caught them off guard, which is okay.

Okay, so, “Turn 47 in September [inaudible 00:22:34] feel so much younger biologically. Started the high quality diet, feeling positive but this month period hasn’t shown and not pregnant. Have had two miscarriages. So I thought it was… It’s two weeks late. How do I stop the spiraling to panic and grief?” Yeah, I think you break it down into pieces of I’m not a robot, I can have off cycles. An off cycle at the age of 47 doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the end of the road for me. You could go get your hormone levels checked, get estrogen and progesterone checked so you could see exactly where you are in your cycle.

Maybe you ovulated later than you thought. So there could be lots of different reasons. And also one cycle being off, no matter what the woman’s age is, doesn’t make me automatically think it’s the end of the road for her. We’re not robots. I would look back at your month, did I lose weight? Did I sleep less? Was there a major stressor? One of my women just had a surgery on the top of her mouth and her ovulation has delayed by two weeks. And it’s totally because of the stress of what her body’s going through. So I’m not answering questions on the feed here. If you have a question that pertains to grief and gratitude, you can ask it in the question box.

So I think that’s a big space to come at it from of like, okay, this is information, but why am I so triggered by this? Why am I so traumatized by that? Why is this making me think it’s automatically over for me? So I would piece out that a bit for you. Okay, so that is not an emotional one. So I think about the spiraling. Yeah, “How to deal with holiday season after a loss?” Let’s see. “In supporting a friend through [inaudible 00:24:33] one through miscarriage. So I think those are similar.” I’m going to answer those last two and then I’m going to go, ’cause I have a call in a little bit. But I think, A, to prevent the spiraling and to prevent the what’s wrong with my body piece is just coming back to the basics of my body’s doing this, my body’s doing this. What could be the things that threw off my cycle?

So that’s the answer that last bit of that question. And now moving on to the holiday season and processing grief and miscarriage. Again, acknowledging where you feel safe and in relationships, you feel safe that this is hard and this is what I went through, or I’m just going through a lot right now and this is heavy. And giving yourself permission to say no too. You don’t have to go to all these events. You don’t have to be hyper social. You don’t have to fake and be so excited for other people who are pregnant and you’re not. And you can bow out and in the right environment, say it’s a really close friend or a family member, give them a call and just say, “Hey, I just want to give you a heads up. This doesn’t take away from my joy for you. I myself just went through a miscarriage and it’s just been really rough. So if I seem off tonight, that’s why. And I just wanted to talk to you about it before because want to make sure that…”

And it’s like that does take courage. It does take honesty. That does take a level of I think bravery and courage where you’re really opening up and admitting. But I just think… I don’t know about you guys, but the older I get and the more deeper I get into the spiritual work and all the work I do is the more honest we are, the better. Let’s just share our truth. We don’t have to do it in a way that’s hurtful or harmful to others, but we can do it in a very graceful way. I’m having a hard time. This hasn’t been my best year. Everybody knows how that feels. Everybody has been there. The more we talk about it, we open up for the conversations that are real.

Mental health challenges are real. Life is tough. Things happen and this process is hard. So talking about it a lot of times, even though it’s scary and you’re like, I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer, it changes. It changes the energy of your relationships and your interactions and you can say it in a very graceful way and you do yourself such a service when you really honor all the ways you’re feeling. And I think you guys know too, that I’ve just really this past year, after doing this for almost 20 years, have really witnessed and recognized the deep levels of trauma that this journey causes. And that’s a big reason why I brought on a clinical psychotherapist to our team. She’s technically a fertility trauma coach to anyone who’s outside of her licensed area. But just seeing that some of this is beyond my scope as a clinician.

And we are doing these monthly wound healing talks. And the next one is coming up on the 19th and it’s literally all about navigating the holidays during the fertility journey. So navigating holiday stress during the fertility journey. It’s going to happen on November 19th at 4:00 PM and Samantha, who is the team psychotherapist, is running that. If you guys want to check that out, you just go to aimeeraupp.com/wombhealing. Let me just double-check that that’s the actual link. Yeah, aimeeraupp.com/wombhealing. W-O-M-B-H-E-A-L-I-N-G. It’s very inexpensive. $43 for a one hour session where you’re going to get tools and strategies and tips on how to navigate the stress during the holiday journey. So of course I’m always here and offering those to you guys and really piecing that out. But Samantha is our team psychotherapist and has professional training in this.

And so it’s a really nice offering if you guys want a little more support this time of year. But I do think the biggest thing, coming back to how I started this conversation today is acceptance and acknowledgement and also the courage, if you will, to say how you really feel in a way that’s calm and collected and thoughtful. I’m so happy for you though this is really hard for me. And they’re two separate things. You can have gratitude and grief in the same exact moment. You can feel lots of different things at the same time. And so in there being easy on yourself because you’re a human, having a human experience.

And I think the more you talk about your humanness, the more others do. And then we start to see how similar we are. And maybe not everyone can relate to the fertility journey or to miscarriages, but everyone can relate to struggle. And I think the more we talk about it, the more service we do the world. So with that, I’m going to go and I’ll see you guys soon. Have a beautiful day. Check out the womb healing talk, aimeraupp.com/wombhealing. Here I’ll put it right here. I’ll pin the comment.

But we are very intentional about the offerings we have here at aimeeraupp, and this one is a super intentional offering to help support all of you to navigate the stress of the fertility journey during the holiday season. And for 43 bucks, what do you have to lose? Okay, I love you guys-

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