Learn how meditating helped me to turn my life around.
It was New Year’s Eve in 2014 and my life had reached rock bottom. I was diagnosed as infertile three months earlier. To make things worse, I was drinking a lot to try and numb the pain. Two weeks earlier my life took the first positive turn. I married the love of my life and I was determined to do my best to get out of the rut that I was in.
A moment of serendipity led me to next positive step on my journey, I discovered a guided meditation podcast. We were driving from Berlin to Vienna to celebrate the new year so I downloaded several episodes to pass the time. That road trip changed my life. I listened to several hours of guided meditation and it opened up a renewed feeling of strength that had been missing for a long time. Energy and optimism sparked the beginning an upward curve in my life that continues to this day.
After our marriage, myself and Oliva went through the most testing time of our lives. We were supposed to be in our honeymoon period but the next few years were far from sweet. Our dream was to have a family which meant assisted reproduction. Three rounds of IVF(ICSI) pushed our new marriage to its limits. We were very close to giving up on the treatment and our marriage.
IVF is one of the hardest things that you can go through in a relationship. There are harmful medications with horrific side effects. High hopes are followed by despair and depression if the treatment fails. The pressure that it put on the relationship almost cause our relationship to crack. The awful fertility treatment fights were the some of the hardest moments of my life. It is hard to find the words to describe how bad failed IVF treatment is.
The one life-changing tool that got us through it all was the magic of mindfulness and meditation. I started meditating three months before the first treatment. Discovering meditation was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It gave me a base of self-awareness, peace and tranquillity that was missing from my life. I started reading more about meditation, Buddhist philosophies and understanding suffering.
While suffering through IVF and infertility, my new found meditation practice opened my mind to reframe how I viewed the situation. I discovered that suffering is part of human existence and we all suffer at different stages of life. Meditation gave me a fresh perspective and coping mechanism for the stress.
After reading the art of happiness by Dali Lama, I accepted my condition and decided to see infertility treatment as the most difficult and therefore most valuable lesson that I would ever learn. From these dark times, I learned more about myself than I had in the previous thirty-three years. My lowest moments led me to meditation which unlocked the best chapter of my life.
Self-reflection helped to realise the changes that I needed to make to my life. The hardest situation that I may face in life became a challenge, a puzzle that I needed to solve. I embraced the IVF treatment and despite suffering through two failed IVF procedures, I did not give up. Each time we failed, I grew. I was determined and focused on using each treatment to improve other areas of my life.
I needed to do a lot of work on myself to make the treatment work. My mind, body, spirit and relationship became the focus of my attention. I lifted my spirit by meditating daily for 10-20 minutes. My body was transformed by eating well, drinking less and taking up running. Meditating and reading were the workout for my mind. The last step was my relationship. My wife became the centre of my universe and every decision that I made was made with her in mind.
All of these changes were slow and took a lot of work. After the two terrible failed treatments it would have been much easier to give up. My wife and I decided to go through one last round of IVF treatment and that we would give it our all. With our bodies and minds in the right place, we felt nothing could stop us. We put our heads down and faced the last treatment in peak condition on all levels.
What happened next was a miracle, Olivia was finally pregnant. To make things better, the good news kept on coming. The first pregnancy scan showed that she was pregnant with twins. From a potential childless life, we ended up winning the lottery. We were blessed with a boy and a girl.
It was not all plain sailing after the pregnancy. After being through so much we were faced with the next challenge. Max and Mathilda were born 10 weeks prematurely. Having babies on life support machines was a new type of stress and it was very hard to cope. We had worked so hard to bring them here and we thought we might lose one or both of our babies. Meditation helped me so much during this difficult time. We are lucky that they pulled through and are now happy and healthy babies.
My life has become so much better since I started meditating, my relationship is better, my career is better, I’m fitter and healthier and best of all I have a family. The journey through infertility, discovering meditation, improving my life and now having a family motivated me to share my story and start a blog. https://scantilydad.com/. I’m so grateful for my journey and starting the blog is by far the best project that I have ever done. If you like writing then I would recommend starting a blog it will teach a lot of valuable skills.
When it comes to meditating, I feel like a novice but I still meditate every day. One year on from the birth of my children the lessons I have learned get me through each day. Fertility treatment and thought me to meditate which helps the next difficult chapter in my life, having twins. Because I learned to meditate while suffering I feel I can now face any challenge. I’m very thankful that meditation and mindfulness is now part of my life.