I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Mandy about how to cope with the unknown. Mandy is not an Amanda, just Mandy. I know because I asked, my sister is an Amanda, I had to check. Anyway, Mandy (hi lady!) was asking how I dealt with the years of not knowing when Mr Suger and I were trying unsuccessfully to have kids. How did I cope with the uncertainty and not knowing how things would work out? These things are driving her crazy.
Mandy and I spoke a few times back and forward, and I asked her if I could turn our conversation into a wider conversation and she was more than okay with that. After all, it’s her name, but this is my story. And whether you are trying for kids and failing, waiting for Mr or Ms Right, looking for that perfect job or making a determination if your relationship is worth saving, the answer is the same.
Being with the unknown is all about letting go.
My favourite saying despite not being religious at all is “Let Go and Let God”. Like Mandy touched on in the emails; you have no say in how it turns out so let go. Then I have a few ideas of how to keep going on towards what you want never knowing if you’ll ever get it.
We spent almost six years actively and not so actively trying to have children. We experienced miscarriages and all the lost involved with that and felt the strain on our relationship from those things that get left unsaid (more on that later). Trying is hard work. Not knowing when your ship would come in, is the worst. Your ship not coming in, well you better be tough to hack that one.
How to cope with the unknown when trying to conceive?
My first piece of advice is get comfortable with not knowing because that’s life, my friends. At 20, I had a plan for my life so set in stone it was a case of ticking things off the list one by one. Business. Husband. House. Car. Children. Retirement plan. Haha. Jokes, I never had a retirement plan. But you see what I mean? When I had so many ticks in the boxes, I forgot that life doesn’t always pay any attention to your plans. I got cocky and assumed I had TOTAL CONTROL over the way my life would go.
And the more I resisted and fought to claw back control, the more miserable I became. The more I refused to acknowledge that my best attempts had failed, that things hadn’t worked out, the further away they felt. It was only in letting go that I found the ability to get back up and get on with my life. I found the space to breathe again when I let the burden of not being perfect or fitting perfectly into my life go. And I’m sure of one thing, if you let go, you will too.
But that’s not to say that you let go and sit on the couch and wait. Babes, I would never give such terrible advice. You let go of the outcome and you continue to make moves towards what you want. Do You want Mr/Ms Right? You keep dating, you keep meeting people, and you say yes to experiences that are new to you and try it again. Letting go just means you aren’t fixated on the outcome, on the end goal, to the point of missing all the fun in the meantime.
I mean, I was shown Tinder on the weekend. That looks like LOADS of fun. Haha. Jokes. Don’t murder me. I get it; it’s gross. But meh, have some fun.
So you let go, keep trying and finally, in our how to cope with the unknown adventure, is to communicate what you’re going through to those around you. Stay present in this moment in your life by connecting with and expressing yourself. Sometimes the unknown is just you having a freak out about things that may never happen. It’s worrying on steroids.
In the depths of our experience I was sure that if we couldn’t have kids, my husband would leave me. It was a silent fear that ate away at me and started to build distrust. I assume he was paying attention to women with kids because he was attracted to their ability to carry them. Like he had suddenly developed a wandering eye that couldn’t wouldn’t be contained such was his desire to procreate.
Now if you’ve met my husband, this is so far from reality it’s ridiculous. But I was certain it would happen to bottle it up, pushing it down so deep that it hurt me to keep it there. One night we were talking about our experience with my sister and it all spewed out. I couldn’t keep a lid on it anymore and those concerns, the fears, the unreasonable, the irrational, all of it came spilling out.
I cried for hours and hours and hours.
And I felt better. Way better. I believe that was the first step I took towards acknowledging that in the end maybe I don’t want children at all. That maybe it was the fear of what would happen to my marriage, of what it said about me as a woman, and what it meant to my perfectly planned life if I didn’t have kids more than what made me want them. Another conversation to be had, let me tell you.
But I got there in the end because I was ok with being with the unknown. I kept trying and making moves towards what I wanted. And I communicated what was going on for me. My life would have looked a lot different for those six (or so, more I think) years if I hadn’t done that.
In those years, I built a blog, a solid foundation in my relationship, I nurtured friendships and businesses, I took on new job roles, learnt new skills, developed myself professionally and purchased a two door car for the fun of it. Lots of great and wonderful things!
If I’d been waiting, hanging about on knowing what would happen to me, a lot of those things would never have happened. Waiting, being in limbo, isn’t a life worthy of living my friends. So whether you believe or not, Let Go and Let God and get on with having a life today. So, how to cope with the unknown? Short version, keep living. There’s nothing else for it.