When someone has had their ID physically or electronically stolen, there is often a feeling of being deeply violated. It’s a feeling that who we’ve built ourselves up to be has now been tainted by the misuse or abuse of our reputation, or good standing that we’ve worked so hard for. Sometimes infertility can give us that same sensation, like our identity has been stolen.
I used to think of myself as an optimist, or as I called myself, a hope-timist. I used to always see the glass as half full. I always saw the best in a situation or a person. I could always find a reason to smile, to laugh. I had been through very hard seasons before, during which I sometimes labelled myself victim, and sometimes survivor, and yet through it all, I still felt like me.
But with infertility, as I was losing hope.
I was losing the cheerful, easy-going, positive person I once was. Then came the depressive episodes, some the result of grief, some the result of the S.A.D. I developed as I got older. But regardless of the reasons, I didn’t want to legitimize the depression because it just wasn’t congruent with who I was. One of the stages of grief is denial, and I wanted to live in denial of how much I was losing, especially of losing who I thought I was.
It wasn’t just my temperament that I felt infertility taking from me. My imagined identity as a mother, where I could play out my purpose as a nurturer and encourager was being robbed. My role in our family tree– carrying on traditions and a genealogy that meant so much to my family as well as carrying on a legacy for my husband’s family, as we were the only ones in a position to carry on the genes of his entire family. Everything we were working so hard to build our future towards was disappearing before our eyes.
So, how do you get your identity back?
My recovery of identity began with the realization that I was created for a reason, a purpose that was designed within me to exist regardless of circumstances. I am who I am, and that would never change. I had to set aside the external situation and focus on my internal condition. The core of my being never deviated, not even through all that I had lost.
Once I could reconcile that I was not missing a piece of myself if I did not become a mother, I found I could embrace the me I was actually supposed to be. Awakening to my own authenticity was an amazing journey. It was full of insights into areas of my identity that I could now see held much more value than I’d ever recognized. Yet, I found nothing surprising, this was the me I had always known. For the first time I was able to truly embrace my whole self, and that is when the hope & optimism returned.
As it turns out, I may have detoured from hope for awhile, but I was never truly lost after all.
Lori Alcorn, https://www.thepregnantpausecoach.com