Living with uncertainty

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.
- John Allen Paulos

A roll of the dice

Life is filled with uncertainty – you never know how tomorrow is going to unfold. This can be painful for those who are struggling to to conceive, as it clashes deep desire with questions that are unanswerable. The answer to "will this be the month?" comes down to a roll of the dice.

Everyone reacts differently to uncertainty. Some people have a particular aversion, which is often referred to as an "intolerance of uncertainty". An intolerance of uncertainty leads to "what if" questions, which in turn can lead to a cycle of worry and rumination.

In general, there are two ways to deal with uncertainty:

  1. Reduce the amount of uncertainty in your life
  2. Increase your tolerance for uncertainty

Unfortunately, some degree of uncertainty is unavoidable for those struggling with conception, so Option #1 isn't a viable solution. Therefore, we are left with Option #2: learning to accept and live with uncertainty in your life.

Dealing with uncertainty

Here are some suggestions for coping with uncertainty:

  1. Uncertainty means that there is an element of chance or randomness in an outcome. No amount of worrying or rumination will make an uncertain situation certain. Therefore, the first step towards living with uncertainty is understanding and accepting the uselessness of worry.
  2. Don't confuse your desires and expectations. The act of wanting something does not make it inevitable.
  3. Make a plan for all possible outcomes. It will be easier to deal with a negative outcome if you already know what your next step will be. In fact, try to see the positive side of each potential outcome.
  4. Tackle your negative thoughts about an uncertain future using the challenging techniques you learned in this section. For example, ask yourself "Is there any point to this type of worry?" and "What is the worst outcome? Is it as bad as I think?"
  5. Focus your attention on the areas of your life that you can control.