Posted by fxckfeelings on November 24, 2015Share This Post
If you’re cursed with obsessive yearnings for something that’s out of reach, it’s natural to feel ashamed, particularly when you feel blessed in other ways and sharing your feelings would cause pain to those you love. It’s then also natural to obsess over how much you’re obsessing, which obviously just makes things worse and hard to feel anything but cursed. Unfortunately, however, ruminations are ruminations because you don’t control them. What you can control, of course, are the decisions you make about those yearnings. If you do what’s right regardless of your yearnings, you should recognize the significance of your accomplishment, and if you need tips for managing those yearnings, we’ll provide them later this week.
My husband and I can’t have our own biological kids, due to my husband’s infertility. We have a healthy and strong marriage, so that’s not the problem, and I’m also not mad at him for not being able to get me pregnant. I wish I was, however, because I feel like that’s an easy fix (or at least I can find plenty of how to do that online). What I am searching for is how do I stop wanting to be pregnant. We have adopted and our child is wonderful, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to carry a child of my own. As much as I have searched and asked, infertility advice is about dealing with in vitro or other fertility treatments or how to repair a marriage after infertility, not how to cope with this kind of loss, so I am searching for advice on how to move on. My goal is to figure out how do I accept my fate and stop wishing (desperately) for pregnancy.
If the wish to be pregnant were entirely logical, then most women would wish for hysterectomies instead; while it usually ends in a painful bloody shitshow (literally), it’s only during the last hundred years that pregnancy it hasn’t carried such a high risk of ending in death. Wanting to be pregnant is, in part, programmed into most women’s brains, which is why it’s so hard for you to talk yourself out of it.
You’ve addressed the infertility issue perfectly by working out a good relationship with your infertile husband and adopting. What you have to accept is not that you can’t be pregnant, but that you can’t turn off the yearning.
The good news, of course, is that you can’t be expected to turn it off—it’s as hardwired into you as the yearning to drink liquids or get sleep—so your inability to do so doesn’t mean that you’ve failed to address the issue, and trying to make it stop will just give it more influence over your life.
Instead, learn to live with chronically intrusive thoughts, at least for the time being. Talk to a cognitive behavioral therapist who will alert you to the negative ideas this intrusive thought is causing, such as the urge to chastise or criticize yourself for thinking this way. A CBT therapist or workbook can teach you to substitute positive ideas that truly reflect your values, such as, “I’ve done the right thing and it takes strength and courage to tolerate this painful, intrusive thought.”
It’s possible that one of several antidepressants might reduce the intensity of your pregnancy yearnings. No one knows why, but it was discovered, accidentally, that some people’s intrusive thoughts lose their punch if they take a relatively high dose of serotonin reuptake inhibiting antidepressants. The risk of side effects is low, but it takes at least a month of experimenting to find out whether these medications help.
In any case, you’ve devised a good compromise for starting a family with a great, but infertile, partner. Don’t doubt yourself just because you can’t stop wanting to be pregnant. What you can do is stop punishing yourself for a yearning you can’t control, and take pride in staying strong and rational, despite your natural/irrational urge.
“I can’t stand to think about pregnancy without feeling I’m missing out on the most important experience in life, but I know it’s just a feeling and that my decision to adopt reflects deeper values. I respect what I’m doing and am not surprised that parenting sometimes involves chronic pain.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname