Well I have a personal story and interest in the subject, and that’s often the catalyst for us doing anything I think. But why use yoga as the medium for improving fertility? Quite simply because it does so much more than help us with reproduction. Yes fertility yoga helps us physically, but just as importantly (if not more so), it also helps us to reconnect with our body, mind, sense of who we are and find some self-love, gratitude and acceptance along the way.
I’ve had 3 miscarriages and I have worked with and personally know many women who have had trouble conceiving, never been able to conceive and who have also had miscarriages. This experience has given me a little insight into the infertility plight and I want to share what I have learned along the way.
Hormones are a bitch. Roller-coasters at the theme park may be fun...hormonal roller-coasters not so much. If you have become pregnant your hormones have changed. You've let your mind accelerate into the future, made mental plans, and if you've been trying a while you're likely pretty elated. To find out you're pregnancy isn't viable is a blow I cannot describe. It's shit, you're emotionally vulnerable and your hormones are all over the show, typically there’s a lot of tears.
What I learned from this: let those tears roll on down, what’s happened (or not) sucks, just don’t set up camp in this emotive state. Experience it, express it and allow yourself to move through it. Try to be kind to those around you at this point, especially your partner, they’re grieving too but may not feel they can express it as much as you.
You feel detached from your physical body, in a way. You’re poked and prodded, everything is very clinical and while the medical professionals can be empathetic, I don’t recall one of them asking me how I felt. Which I guess is fair; they probably have at least half an idea and don’t really want to open up that can of worms, it’s not their job to. So they carry on in a sterile medical fashion treating your body with all due care, but not daring to delve into your emotions.
What I learned from this: You’re completely brought to awareness about some of the functions in your body on a whole new level than ever before. Allow this to be a great learning tool to understand a bit more about how your body works. Also, be kind to your body and take some time to rest.
Getting pregnant can become your whole focus, your obsession. Holiday plans, career changes and even your social life can all be put in a suspended limbo holding pattern while you put all your energy and focus into making that baby (and sadly I don’t mean just the physical act). ‘What if?’ statements are pretty common in this situation, which produces a fear like state causing us to put our lives on hold. It can mess with your head and your relationships.
What I learned from this: Well a few things actually, but they weren’t easy lessons. Obsession creates stress, isolation from your social circles creates stress, putting things on hold for an unfixed time creates stress. Stress is a biggie here – and guess what stress does to your fertility? Yeah, nothing good. A lot of things helped me with dealing with my stress; my husband – he’s a rock, bless him; great friends that insisted on seeing me even when I didn’t feel like it; and yoga, not just the physical action, but specifically the philosophy and spiritual side of it. You cannot put your life on hold while you wait for something to happen, you have to keep living in the present, not the past or the future, yoga helps with that too. I also started looking at the potential of my life without children, it was (and still is) a very real possibility as I push closer and closer to 40, that I may not be able to have kids. Was that ok? What lengths were my husband and I prepared to go to in order to have children? Was my obsessive push for this because that’s what I really wanted, or because I’d started and was failing….something I’m not really keen on in general. And so yoga, and time, gave me the space and clarity to look at all of these factors.
It’s a bit over 18 months on since my last miscarriage. We’ve not yet started trying again. When we do it will be the last ditch effort – boom or bust. I’m ok with that; I can see a life for me without having my own children, though that doesn’t mean I’m complacent about this last attempt. Detox time is upon us and you know I’ve been practicing my fertility yoga moves, so let’s see what the new year brings.
My hope is that my personal experience, yoga training, specific fertility yoga training, plus my background as a naturopath and herbalist will allow me to help other women with their fertility and reconnect to their sense of self.