Fall is such a wonderful time of the year. Temperatures are cooler, apples are tangier, and there is the wonderful crisp morning air! Now is the time we think about harvest and Thanksgiving celebrations (not to mention the football tailgates) with our family and friends, and our hearts leap with gratitude.

But, let’s face it, our hearts also leap with a bit of FEAR. I am not talking about the Halloween ghoulish kind of fear. I am talking about the kind of fear that comes from those wacky family comments:

“When are you going to have a baby?”

“You’re not going to stop with just one…are you?”

“All I had to do was look at my husband and I got pregnant.”

“You’re doing what? How are you paying for all those fertility treatments?”

Does it not make you want to run away and hide? Alternatively (like me…which is not always well received at the Thanksgiving table), are you looking for something to throw or someone to lash out at?

These emotions are BIG. Really… BIG. Humongous.

The journey to build a family is a difficult and complicated one for a lot of us.

Recently, I had to ask myself, “What keeps me from throwing things or lashing out?” The answer was an interesting one. I have created a protector (like a state of mind or different part of my personality) between the sometimes-insensitive interactions I have with people and my more tender self. Have you ever heard someone say, “a part of me feels like this” or “a part of me thinks this”? That is what I am talking about when I refer to this protector. I decided it would be fun to personify my protector, and he looks a lot like “The Thing” in the comic movie series, “Fantastic Four.”

He does a great job. He keeps me from doing things that, at the very least, get me banned from the football tailgate and, at the very worst, might land me in the clinker.

Not long ago, I was writing in my gratitude journal. Gratitude is an excellent practice (yes, you never get it down perfectly, you actually have to practice). It helps me feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve my health and immunity, deal with adversity (like those aforementioned insensitive comments), and build stronger relationships. And it struck me—my rock-like protector was feeling ignored…taken for granted. I could just hear the words with a bit of a Jimmy Hoffa gangster attitude, “A little bit of gratitude here!”

So…I took a shot at thanking my protector:

  • Hey! You are doing a great job keeping me out of trouble! Thanks!
  • I know I take you for granted sometimes. I want you to know that I really appreciate all the work you are doing.
  • You have a bit of a thankless job…don’t you? I sincerely thank you for your work.
  • Thank you for watching out for those tender emotions that hide behind you.
  • You make me feel strong even when my sensitive emotions are getting the better of me. Grazie! (I think this protector might be a tad Italian!)

I know we are having a little bit of fun with this…but this is serious stuff! Pushing into gratitude when you are struggling or going through a rough season is so important.

If you are still not convinced, this is what Google tells us about gratitude:

  • It makes us happier
  • It reduces stress
  • It improves self-esteem
  • It helps us be more resilient
  • It helps us sleep
  • It improves our physical health
  • It improves our romantic relationships
  • It improves our friendships

So…go forward and practice gratitude! To learn more about embryo adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.