Surviving Shopping When you’re Challenged by Infertility or Waiting to Adopt

Shopping can be painful when you are working on building your family. It depends on the time of year, some seasons are more challenging than others. Now all of the “Back to School” signs are up. If you are struggling to conceive or waiting for someone to pick you on your adoption journey, this can feel like a sting in the face. (Is that even an expression? Oh, wait it’s a slap in the face.) Anyway, you get my point. It’s just everywhere. You’re innocently going about your day, stop at Target for more toothpaste and BAM you weren’t even thinking about the fact that you’re still trying or waiting. Ugh, there it is again. That pain in your gut or heart or wherever you carry it. You just wanted toothpaste and you’re reminded again of what you don’t have.

I realize that certain times of the year are harder than others. In the late fall and early winter the stores are packed with kid’s toys and signs all over the place for Santa, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s everywhere. Same with Easter, Halloween and forget Mother’s Day; that’s got to be the most difficult of all! You are reminded everywhere of what you don’t have throughout the year.

So, what can you do about this? I recall a time when I was single and really wanting to be married. For me, the desire for a life partner had similar feelings to desiring a baby. I had a hard time going to wedding showers I even recall going to a friend’s second wedding when I hadn’t even had one wedding shower yet. Happy couples were so challenging for me. I had one friend in particular who had a fantastic marriage and a high self-esteem so she didn’t mind sharing how wonderful her husband was. Every time I saw her she had another fantastic story. I would often leave her house feeling so alone and down. I was so focused on what I didn’t have.

Then I started to change my perspective. I began to celebrate being single. My shift in thinking started with a book called Living Alone and Loving It by Barbara Feldon. It was a game changer. I learned the benefits of a single person’s life. Such as, how I could pick whatever radio station I wanted to listen to, the temperature of my house, the way I decorated my living room, the way I spent my money, and where I wanted to go on vacation. I started to really enjoy time alone and started to appreciate myself.

Now when I was with my happily married friend, I started to notice that I wasn’t as upset after I left her house. I even started to feel joy for her marriage. I was absolutely astounded by this change. It was nothing short of a miracle (Ok, that’s a saying right?) Anyway, I am not kidding when I tell you that it was about 6–12 months later that I met my now husband.

I have used this shift in perspective for countless things in my life; from my health, money, business, friendships, and most importantly my daughter. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight for me, but it wasn’t very long either. Maybe a month of changing my point of view along with saying the following mantra, which may or may not resonate with you so adjust it accordingly. I was raised Catholic so this totally works for me. The manta is from A Course in Miracles and says, “Holy Spirit help me see this differently.” I sometimes say this phrase all day long until I feel the shift. Maybe you need to tweak the message to fit your belief system. I believe that it doesn’t matter if you say Holy Spirit, or God, or Universe, or Goddess, or nature…

I chanted this during one of the darkest and scariest moments of my journey to motherhood. I had to say it all day through the tears, anger, and uncertainty but by the end of the day I felt relieved. I saw my situation totally differently. I didn’t do the shifting, I did the mantra. I believe that the shift came from surrendering my thoughts in my mind to something bigger than me. My thoughts and feelings shifted so much that I was literally grateful for the experience at the end of the day. It has been, to this day, the most powerful and quick transformation in my thinking that I have ever experienced.

So, next time you are shopping for mouth wash and you are overwhelmed by all the Halloween costumes, I invite you to try your version of this mantra on for size. At first, your mind will work hard against you, saying things like this is a bad idea, or this isn’t working and all sorts of negative thoughts. Stay strong and keep saying it until you feel a shift or you’re no longer thinking about it. I also want you to feel all of us with you in that moment. You are not alone. Many women are hurting out there, even at that very grocery store. Maybe all you see around you are pregnant women and small babies…or worse a pregnant woman with a baby. Ever see one of those mamas? Ouch! But then again, you could think hmmm….what is the shift going to bring for me? Maybe it will be, hey isn’t it great to see that there are a lot of fertile women in the world? Or maybe you’ll feel compassion for her, because that’s probably not going to be so easy raising two children so close in age. Or maybe you have a neutral reaction that makes you feel more focused on what you came to do, which was to buy more mouth wash. Either way, one day some woman may look at you with envy or hurt eyes when you have your swollen belly or your newborn baby in a carrier. This time you can wish that woman a shift in her thinking and mentally say to yourself, “Holy Spirit help this woman see this differently.”

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