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A response to “Do you have children?”

by | May 3, 2016 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

I talk about this all of the time with my fertility clients.

What is the most fertile response to the question, “Do you have children?”

Most women I speak with respond to this question (internally) with inner thoughts like:

“How dare anyone ask that antiquated question in 2016!”

Or, “That question in this day and age is uninformed and insensitive.”

I absolutely understand these responses but let’s unpack this.

You are at a dinner party and someone leans in and asks you, “Do you have children?”

A week before Mother’s Day!

You instantly feel hurt, scared and angry.

(You are less conscious of the hurt – you are more conscious of the anger – it usually shows up as indignation).

“How dare you ask that personal question!”

So we instinctively react with anger and blame – we all do! Very normal.

Anger and blame help us to feel more in control and motivate us to eliminate the perceived threat.

Although anger and blame are natural, at best they provide only temporary relief, and inevitably they fuel further reaction.

Instead of reacting, go below the anger and the blame into how hurt you feel. And compassionately FEEL this hurt – allow it to be felt in your heart.

Say to yourself, “That question hurts right now.”  The feeling that is below the indignation, anger and blame.

This shift from “How dare you,” to “I feel this,” is a form of self acceptance.

Acceptance does not mean allowing someone to harm you (or for you to injure yourself).

Acceptance is the capacity to recognize clearly what is happening inside you in the present moment, and to meet what you see with kindness.

You accept your own experience of the hurt that arises in reaction to the inquiry, “Do you have children?”

Then the heart naturally opens to respond to this hurt.

Practicing in this way allows you to see more clearly.

You begin to see that when you blame others, you are caught up in a narrative that necessarily includes them as a villain, as wrong. And this puts your body on high alert.

There is no single person or group of people (including yourself) responsible for causing the pain you are in.  When you realize this, instead of casting blame you are freer to respond with understanding and forgiveness.

But, releasing blame and accepting your experience does not mean you become a passive observer. When you allow yourself to feel the reality of your suffering, a deep caring arises.

Caring, not anger, can truly shift your body from fight/flight into thrive mode. Caring, not blame, can inspire your continued effort to parent the child of your dreams.

The most direct way of promoting fertility is to become mindful of your habits of judging and blaming. It is a brave activity, because to do this you must let go of your most familiar, comfortable reference points – your conditioned patterns of perceiving.

However, in the moment of releasing blame, you step out of the story of something being wrong and discover the spaciousness and tenderness of being alive.

Blaming distances while acceptance connects.

When you let go of blame, you open to the compassion that can genuinely heal.

And then you can lean across the table and say, “Thank you for asking (Demonstrating understanding and compassion). That question feels very vulnerable (Accepting your feelings). I cannot talk about it right now (You are not a passive observer). I appreciate your interest, however (Gratitude). Now, how about this election? (Re-direct)”

From Facebook last week:

“The Mindful Fertility Journal is single-handedly THE BEST program I have ever purchased. Not to mention, her unbelievable personal support has blown my mind. Thank you Buffy for the work you do. ♥”

All my very best, always

Buffy

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