Empowering yourself on the fertility journey

Some (lucky) people conceive on schedule, or on the first ‘try’. For the rest of us, the path to parenthood is a more of, well, a journey. It can be relatively quick and straight-forward, with just a few hurdles along the way, or it can take years and feel like an uphill struggle.

One way of empowering yourself on this journey is to think of it like walking the well-worn trails of the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James). The ‘Camino’ is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. Annually, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world walk the Camino either on their own or in organised groups.

So…you’ve bought your plane tickets, you have your backpack packed, your walking shoes are comfortable, you have your guidebook and Spanish phrase book, you’ve done your research, you know your starting point and end destination – and it’s up to you whether this is the adventure of a lifetime or a gruelling, tiring journey. You have all the resources and the right intention, so it’s up to you. You can choose how fast and how far you’ll walk every day, and where you’ll stay along the way. The road and the weather might throw you some curveballs, but how you respond is up to you.

Just like on the Camino, on this fertility journey you can’t control your environment or what you’ll encounter along the way, but you can manage how you show up in relation to everyone around you, how your respond to the challenges the road presents and what sort of mindset you maintain.

David Whyte’s beautiful poem “Finisterre” from his collection “Pilgrim”, inspired by walking the Camino, really speaks to me about stepping boldly into a new future and finding a way to complete your journey, no matter what.

The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken, into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take, walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn't let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you had brought
and light their illumined corners; and to read
them as they drifted on the late western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that brought you here
right at the water's edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you would still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
David Whyte 
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