21 Sep Fertility Support Coaching and the Emotional Journey of Trying to Conceive with Kathryn Grace
In this episode I talk to Kathryn Grace about her work coaching women on their fertility journey, the emotional roller coaster of trying to conceive, and how she let go of her baby dream and turned her pain into her purpose.
Below are some snippets of what Kathryn covers in the conversation:
- Finding your truth means being aligned with who you are, what’s important to you and what makes you happy and what makes your soul sing. Living the life your soul intended. But it can be difficult when the life your soul intended is quite different from what society expects, what people around you expect. Living your truth can feel amazing, you feel in flow, but getting there can be a challenge. There can be a real vulnerability in that.
- Turning your pain into purpose – what came out of my story was my purpose.
- I always wanted children and had this belief that I would always have children. My husband and I both came from large families and everyone thought we’d be great parents. It never occurred to me that it would never happen for us. When I was growing up everyone had children. I was never prepared to not have children.
- When we started trying to conceive we didn’t put in much effort, but soon started to do everything to get pregnant, like stopping drinking, stop running and taking hot baths – lots of crazy stuff. You’re taking your temperature, and thinking about getting pregnant every day. It can become very overwhelming. I was diagnosed with endometriosis, and I was treated for that. Then I was focused on getting my body healed and ready to conceive. I got into really good health focusing on the physical, then the stress, then the relationship and then I got into the spirituality.
- I became very focused, because there is that thought in the back of your mind that time is running out.
- I’m really grateful to my infertility for opening up my spirituality. I started to see psychics and look into my past lives. Then finally I got into the emotional stuff. We tried to conceive for about eight years and looking back, I was quite depressed. I realised this was a big deal, every month of disappointment, feeling grief, anger and a big one was isolation. I wasn’t very good at talking about the emotional stuff.
- Apart from the isolation, everyone around us was having children, you put on a brave face and pretend you’re alright.
- What helped me deal with the emotional stuff was finding meditation. It helped me to slow down and realise what was really true. And I realised that I wasn’t okay. There is this message ‘don’t give up hope’ and it didn’t work for me. Hope didn’t work for me, and what worked was truth. What is real and what is happening right now? The truth was, I was struggling. But I had to go there, deep into my emotions because it was repressed and under the surface like a festering wound.
- We had IVF and I was so excited and I felt like this was it, and I was going to get pregnant and we were going to have a baby. And we got pregnant through IVF, and I’ve never been pregnant before in all my life. We shared with a few people and it just felt so real. We were so happy, we had a name, but then we lost the baby at 7 weeks, which is fairly early. But it was absolutely devastating, and that grief for me was so raw and so painful. It just like there was nothing I could do about it. I think I was grieving for all of my loss, all of the months and years that I didn’t conceive. And this was my lowest point, and I was getting old by this time. We were going through renovations and it was a really dark time, emotionally and literally. Then this psychic Jessica Reid came up in my online search and I had a coaching session with her and it was the best thing I’ve ever had, it just totally changed my perspective.
- I didn’t make the decision right then, but it was soon after, and it was really difficult but I knew it was the right thing to do. And once I made that decision (to stop trying for a baby) it seemed instant and things started to change. I suddenly had a new energy and appreciation for life. Making the decision is hard but once you make it, on the other side it is easier.
- I just changed the movie, this belief in my head, the plan to not have kids and I was happy.
- And then I had all this energy to focus on my purpose. Because I wasn’t dealing with my emotions, what I learn’t was you can’t self-select your emotions so I was dialing down all the emotions. You can’t just down play the anger or the grief or sadness, but you also down play the joy, the happiness and all the positive stuff. So I’m grateful that I could learn how to deal with my emotions a lot better.
- I trained as a career adviser and a life coach. I’ve always been interested in helping people find their purpose. I’ve always been interested in human behaviour. Then Jess helped me realise – why don’t I just do what I know. I studied psychology, and as soon as I thought of being a fertility support coach it just felt right, love it.
- We view emotions as weak, and when we think about fertility we think we’re being weak and want to surface over it. There was a Harvard study done, and they discovered that people going through infertility were going through as much stress as people going through a cancer diagnosis. Fertility issues are quite intimate, personal and when you’re in it you don’t necessarily want to talk about it too much.
- How can you support others going through fertility challenges? Just check-in, be there, and ask them how comfortable they feel about talking about it. When its not talked about at all, and the elephant in the room it can be more awkward. When you offer to be there for someone, you don’t have to say anything, just be there for them, among all the mess and emotions.
- Disappointment with trying to conceive, it’s a roller coaster of hope, and then the disappointment builds up and it really impacts your heart. It feels like a minor emotion but it becomes so heavy. It’s really interesting with the clients I see, the women who I see who have been going through it longer, they cry less.
- Life can still be great without children. When clients come to me I don’t know what is right for them. But what I do through coaching is I help them realise what is right for them. I’m holding space for someone to get deeper and find their own truth. I probably get 3 stages – 1. people who have been trying for a while and need support, or 2. they come after a loss and are not ready to give up, or 3. they’ve already decided to let go but they don’t know how and those women are attracted to my story. And what I love is that they know they’re going to be okay, because I’m okay and I can be a role-model for that.
- You do feel like a failure, I’m broken, but I don’t feel like that anymore. The reality of the situation was that my life was on hold for eight years, it was impacting on all of my relationships. But I had to accept that this is the truth, this is the reality. I never thought I could be okay with that.
- Shame was a big one – I didn’t realise how much shame I felt at the time. I felt like I was broken, I felt like there was something wrong with me. That was the worst one for me.
- What stopped me from finding my truth was my programming and expectations of what I ‘should’ be doing. What helped me change that was my process of getting healthier, meditation and opening my life up to spirituality. Meditation is definitely not for everyone. I did a 10 day silent meditation and I was left with my thoughts, and they were horrible. By the end of the 10 days, I found some real peace. That meditation helped me see what was going on, helped me see what was true for me.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
- Purpose is scary, coming into this work was scary. I love this work but committing to it has been hard. Living our truth isn’t always easy, but it just feels right.
- To help you find your truth there is a three-part formula: 1. know yourself, 2. know your options and 3. make decisions. But we really want to jump to the end and make decisions. It is a process to find your truth, don’t try and rush it. Get into the vibe of what makes you happy, because it may surprise you what it is.
You can see more of Kathryn Grace here: