SuperBetter: Losing and Infertility
So I’ve really gotten into SuperBetter and have expanded to reading the book while I fiddle around with the app. I’ve put a link to both the book and app at the bottom of the post in case anything I write resonates with you and you want to join along.
Anyway, I’ve been sailing through the information, nodding nodding nodding until I hit a thought that triggered an internal question that will probably be familiar for many of you. I should preface this with a fact: Jane McGonigal talks about her own infertility in the book, so it’s a familiar topic for the author.
Somewhere near the beginning of the book, she writes about how games get us comfortable with the concept of losing. Think about the games you play: The vast majority of the time, you don’t win, right? I mean, yes, you ultimately clear the board in Candy Crush or get all the cards to line up in Solitaire, but there’s a reason most games come with multiple lives or chances. She even states later in the book: “Gamers, after all, spend on average 80% of the time failing when they play their favourite games” (p. 86).
I am completely fine with losing games. I am about as competitive as a slug. In fact, the slug may care more about the outcome of games that I do. I’m not competitive in the real world, either. I don’t run races or care what the neighbours are doing… I just don’t feel particularly moved over whether I “win” or “lose,” even in everyday life.
Except in one place.
Losing during a cycle triggered the deepest grief, and I still can’t explain the reaction to this day. Was it because I saw the stakes higher? That doesn’t sound quite right, since the stakes are pretty damn high when it comes to other facets of life such as career, marriage, or health. Was it the time factor — both the idea that time mattered when it came to fertility AND the length of time between tries? It’s very different when you have to wait a month or two for another chance to play vs. being able to drop in a quarter and hit start to play again. The effort expended with no “win”? But it didn’t matter if it was a medicated or unmedicated cycle: I reacted the same way every single time.
I ultimately never found a way to be comfortable with losing when it came to trying to conceive. I cried and raged and internally begged my way through every cycle. Would it have been different if I had used the concrete exercises in this book back then? Or do we all have places in life that are untouchable; that are therapy-proof?
I don’t have an answer: It’s just an observation about myself. That while I can be okay losing at lots of things, the baby making game isn’t one of them.
I’m writing about SuperBetter the app as well as SuperBetter the book because… well… I learned about them via a podcast and now I want to talk about everything I’m learning on them. If you want to talk about them, too, join along. If not, skip the posts marked SuperBetter.