By Deborah Simmons, PhD, LMFT
I just spent some wonderful time at the ocean. As often as possible, I was on a raft in the water, just floating. It was such a different sensation to float and be lifted by the waves. For a few moments, there are no worries…almost.
I have been thinking about a story that a client told me some years ago. This lovely woman had had four miscarriages by the time I saw her. She was in mourning for the babies who had died and she was very afraid that she would not be a parent in the future. She talked often about how she was exhausted and without hope. I offered the position of “positive neutral” (e.g., “Something might be different at some point” or “I am open to something working.”)
At our next appointment, she was excited and she told me about a dream that spoke strongly to her. She had been a competitive swimmer when she was younger and she was accustomed to swimming well in the ocean. In her dream, she was swimming in the ocean again but this time she found herself caught in a riptide. Every time she tried to swim to shore, she found herself pulled back further and further to sea. She swam even harder to get to shore but she became exhausted and without hope of reaching the shore. Her goal of the shore was slipping away. In an amazed voice, she told me, “A voice came to me and it said to surrender and float, so I did. I realized that I could not work any harder than I was already working and I needed to find a different way to the shore.” She floated and rested until she could figure out what to do next. With that rest, she remembered that you swim parallel to the shore to escape a riptide. She did so and the dream ended with her swimming safely—and proudly—to shore. She told me that she felt renewed for another pregnancy attempt, after floating for a while to prepare. On try #5, she conceived with fertility treatment and she carried the baby to term.
She learned an important lesson—when it’s time to float. Multiple miscarriages exhaust women and couples, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Often this is after the depletion of infertility and infertility treatment. Treatment cycles one after another after another are exhausting. Learn when it is time to float and rest, even for a brief while, so you can be renewed for your next move.