The year is speeding along, isn’t it? 4 months gone and here we are at National Infertility Awareness Week. The theme this year is “Listen Up”. In the Caribbean, we use a version of this all the time. “ Listen here” or especially in Trinidad we hear our neighbours say: “Eh eh, hear what!” We use these phrases as a preface to statements we want to make with some gravity to it.

In the Caribbean,  we have a thing about people listening to what we have to say. I have been chewing on this slogan “Listen Up” and what it means to me as a person who has, for almost 15 years, sat on the other side of the desk witnessing the journey of thousands of couples with infertility.

As I get older, more of my friends are now clients and with that I am even more connected to what we do at the clinic, passionately making sure that they have the very best chance of having success on this journey. It is not uncommon now for me to get some private messages or give a few more hugs or squeezing of the hand than I have in the past. But the one thing I offer more and more is my two ears.

I heard a joke the other day that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. I smiled at this because I think with this deliberate creation we were made to listen more than we were to talk. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself or someone else when tough times come and when you are struggling with a disease like infertility. I was at a function one evening and I sat for a minute and observed the dynamics of the evening. I realised so many people listen to the talking party, not to understand what they are saying, but only to reply and give their own opinion. I  wondered at what point did we begin to think that talking and opinions are stronger than just listening and being compassionate to the person on the other side? Have you ever noticed that LISTEN and SILENT use the same letters…coincidence? I think not!

This week NIAW’s focus is on listening. During the next seven days, I would like you to accept this challenge. Listen, just listen, to those around you who are going through the struggles they have in their lives right now. Listen to your friend, your partner, listen to yourself. The last one there is the most powerful. Inside each of us, we have that small, quiet voice that guides us. It usually takes being in a place of stillness to hear it. A place where you exit for a moment from all the other voices around you, a place where you take a deep breath and check back in and remind yourself that you are enough and you are doing your best.

It is here you can break down and cry, but it is also here that you wipe your tears, brush yourself off, suit up and keep going. It is here that you establish order to your thoughts and the direction of your life and that seeds of hope are planted. It is here when the plan isn’t going as you expect it, that you make the right choices for your life and for yourself.

This week be good to yourself and listen, you will know with certainty the direction you need to take.

Listen here…you got this!

– Rachel de Gale