Do you ever hear your mother’s voice come out of your mouth?
Are you emotionally absent like your father?
Did your mom struggle with low self-esteem and now you do too?
Are you attracting the same types of boyfriends over and over?
All of us have probably vowed at some point in our lives to “never be like our parents.” How dramatic by the way right?!
But as hard as we fought it, we’re probably more like them than not.
It’s honestly hard to fight. And this is both great and bad news by the way.
Great because most likely all of our parents were really awesome overall. Bad because if we’re not aware, their less desirable qualities that we’ve now inherited, can end up ruling our lives.
Many of our tendencies and habits are very clearly related to (1) how we were raised~nurture or (2) pure genetics from a family member~nature.
The age-old nature vs nurture debate. Psychologists have long known that we are an accumulation of what we were taught growing up along with plain old genetics.
Here’s a practical example of this:
I discovered that how I grew up with my mother contributed to my preconceptions regarding femininity. And thus why I felt uncomfortable in my own version of womanhood.
On the other hand, I didn’t grow up with my father, so the oddities that I inherited from him (i.e the desire to run in relationships and not be tied down) are pure genetics.
So let’s jump in and look at your family patters still affecting you today. These patterns are most likely affecting how you FEEL about your infertility.
The stress of infertility often presses uncomfortably on soft spots within us. Issues with parents that we thought were buried long ago tend to surface during fertility treatment.
This is actually a GOOD thing.
Allow this poking on your hurt to bring to light areas that need healing!
In this exercise, we’re going to logically and objectively look at what qualities in our life are directly related to our family.
Notebook and pen
Candle or lamp
Curiosity and Gentleness (:
- Sit in cross leg pose (Sukhasana). Back straight. Shoulders rolled back
- Light a candle or bring a lamp to sit in front of you removing the cover (Tratika in yoga)
- Dim any other lights in the room
- Focus the eyes on the light of the candle/lamp in front of you. Try to blink as little as possible
- Begin inhaling deeply through the nose, exhale through the mouth
- Continue this 10 times
I am here for understanding and clarity. Not for judgment or blame. I seek to discover family patterns within me. With this information, I can now choose a different way to live.
I CAN be in control of my destiny and not allow underlying forces to choose for me. I come with an open heart that is ready to listen. I am ready.
- Close your eyes and bring to mind one of your parents. Feel the embodiment of who they were/are. Allow memories, feeling, and sensation to flood you.
- Write down in your notebook their dominant characteristics
For example, for my mother I wrote down this:
Awkward socially. Desperate to be liked.
Tendency to be harsh. Militant.
Not comfortable in her femininity.
Struggle between the real her vs religious expectations.
Eccentric. Big personality.
- There is no need to analyze each characteristic that comes up, just write it down without question.
- Can you now identify any common themes in your own life?
For example, I wrote:
Ambivalence and confusion surrounding my own desire for motherhood.
Value individualism in all forms: femininity, culturally, religiously etc.
Strong desire to fit in and be liked.
High expectations of everyone and everthing.
Continue this exercise with your father and with your grandparents.
I have found that this exercise is very helpful in not only identifying family patterns but also in realizing that parents are human. They got a lot of things right….and a lot wrong. Just like the rest of us.
They weren’t perfect, and they could have done better. But they did what they could with the tools that they had at the time.
Sometimes it’s painful to see similarities. Sometimes we DON’T want to be anything like certain family members. But we are. We’re blood. All that they are is coursing through your body.
And it is SO healthy to acknowledge and accept where we are alike (good and bad). Only until we face this truth can we truly live from an empowered and chosen life.
Let’s move forward to the next exercise: Mother Healing. In this short meditation, we will start the process of releasing what you identified above that is continuing to cause hurt.
There is no pressure to LET GO right away. Be gentle with yourself. Take your time. But allow those patterns within in you begin to break up and loosen even if it’s just a little!