[Note: Shannon Schultz-Wooten is a life coach, writer and author of “Infertility Sucks, You Don’t!.” Shannon is a Coach for the high-powered and vulnerable woman ready to love who they are, live unapologetically, and experience success in all aspects of life.]
Walking from the doctor’s office, each thundering step turned into ringing in my ears as the information sank in, “…it may be difficult for you to conceive.” I was 30 years old.
The ringing was loud and something I had NEVER experienced before. It vibrated inside of me.
Just as quickly as it reverberated through my head, it stopped the blood flow to my face and seized all bodily movement. Luckily by the time it hit me, I was within reach of my car door.
I stretched for the handle and collapsed into the driver’s seat. I had no air. I didn’t know where the oxygen went, but it had left me.
With each expeditious inhale, exhale, I could feel the muscle in my chest thump harder and with more deliberateness. I wheezed and heard my voice reverb on high, like kickback from a mic too close to an amp. It scared me into awareness.
Desperately trying to catch my breath, I screamed as I had never before, and in frustration, I sobbed.
I sobbed for what I had heard, what I didn’t know and the confusion I felt. I sobbed for the woman I was, for the one scared of infertility and what it meant about me.
Several years, life coaching and gut-wrenchingly honest conversations later, I’ve learned that the ringing in my ears was tinnitus and can happen in moments of trauma.
I feel labeling infertility as traumatic is accurate. I also feel that symptoms of trauma adequately reflect the last several years of my life — confused, anxious, fearful and depressed.
Infertility traumatized me. It damaged my relationships, self-esteem and made me a victim. It changed me. It also did something unexpected. It taught me the importance of knowing myself. It taught me that at my weakest I wasn’t being broken. I was being built.
It allowed me to see that I had no tolerance for struggle. I wanted to be strong and have everything under control and was convinced vulnerability as opposite of that.
God forbid I admit that I don’t have my shit together. God forbid I admit that traveling a dark road didn’t end “happily ever after” but gave me the lesson of my life.
Infertility taught me that I had no bandwidth for strong emotion; that there was no time for sadness, anger or hurt.
It taught me that I had become conditioned to not feel “bad.”
It taught me that despite trying, I am in fact human, and I get to stop pretending everything is great when it feels like a stinking pile of crap.
It taught me that I was afraid of vulnerability and believed that logic could solve anything. I believed that everything was “figure-out-able” but didn’t take into consideration the impact of figuring it out and how it could feel.
Life is not something to solve for, but there is always a lesson. In order to experience it, absorb the depths of the journey, learn from and receive the sometimes painful gifts within this beautiful existence, I will need to continue to be vulnerable, and when something feels hard, seize the opportunity to see that I am being built to find the beauty within it and me.
If you’re struggling with infertility or looking for support in recognizing the building moments of your journey, email me at [email protected] or read more about how I found my way through struggle inside “Infertility Sucks, You Don’t!” available on Amazon.