guest author: embracing the unknown.

Hey friends! I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Jen Noonan, LPC today! Jen has just recently released her first book, In Due Timeand we get to celebrate that with her today. Jen is a passionate advocate for primary and secondary infertility and I have loved getting to know her and her story better. I’ve not only asked her to share a little bit with you today, but also, we are hosting a giveaway to win a copy of her book! YAY! Entry is simple – all you need is an email address! The giveaway is open now until the end of the day Saturday, October 3rd. Good luck!

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Now without further ado, join me in reading Jen’s post for you on Embracing the Unknown.

Winding road

“If I had a crystal ball that could tell me we’ll be successful, I would relax.”

I uttered this statement to my husband on more than one occasion during our journey. I would have given anything to have known what our family planning outcome would be. My stress and anxiety levels were through the roof during these times, and I assumed that a guaranteed assurance of success would allow me to move forward in life; a promise that I’d be “okay.”

What I failed to realize was that I was and always have been “okay.” But that’s another blog post for another time!

I can recall multiple times throughout my life when I stressed about outcomes. As far back as I can remember I was worried about the future.

Will I get into my university of choice?

What am I going to do with my life after I graduate?

Will I find a partner to spend the rest of my life with?

Will I get into grad school? If I don’t, what will I do career wise?

Looking back, these questions seem petty in comparison to what I eventually stumbled across. But they didn’t seem petty at the time. They elicited raw emotions, and I spent a great deal of time focusing on their potential outcomes. The anguish of my eventual “what will happen” lasted a lot longer than anticipated, and it took me quite some time to embrace not knowing what might happen.

I had a plan – a plan that is divulged time and again in the fertility community. Our plans might not be the same, but they are very similar. They involve creating a family with at least two children. We assume it’s going to happen when and where we want it to. As the months and years go by, panic sets in. The unknown appears frightening and we become gripped in fear of what might not lie ahead for us. We obsessively focus on our shattering dreams, and find it difficult to embrace our unknown future.

This was nothing new to me. I have always attempted to control my life. I grew up in a household where I was raised to be independent and rely on myself to make things happen. And so I did. I took charge of my life and attempted to steer it in the direction with the most favorable outcomes. On the outside I might have appeared to be driven, but on the inside I was a chronic worrier. If things didn’t work as expected in those situations, I felt defeated. It took a while, but years later I realized and appreciated that these situations always had a favorable outcome, maybe just one that I hadn’t anticipated.

Embracing the unknown is not straightforward, and it is not easy. It involves putting your trust in God, a higher power, or whatever you wish to call it. It involves trusting the process, knowing that you will be led down your own unique path. And in the end, things might not turn out exactly the way you expected, but hopefully you’ll be able to look back and realize that it worked out the way it was supposed to.

Now, I can appreciate that cliché “Everything happens the way it’s supposed to” is sometimes difficult to accept. Especially for those who are in the infertility trenches. It’s often the LAST thing you want to hear from those who are on the other side.

Said another way, we are not in as much control as we think we are. If we can learn to trust the process, we will notice our hearts beating a bit slower, our anger subsiding, smiles appearing on our faces more often, and our cortisol levels dropping.

I have not mastered embracing the unknown. When you’ve spent the majority of your life worrying, it’s a challenge to completely shut off. It’s a work in progress, but one that I believe is invaluable for moving through future obstacles.

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Jen Noonan, LPC

* I am not receiving any compensation for this recommendation or link. As always, I am simply providing you easy access to add this resource to your library!