I had just finished teaching a private yoga class to a fabulous group of students and found myself hungry, in their kitchen, being offered a smoothie. I gratefully accepted the smoothie and sat down with two of the yoga students to enjoy it. One of the yoga students, let’s call her Jane, was 7 months pregnant. The other yoga student, let’s call her Erica, was desperately trying to conceive her first child.
Jane, a radiant, willowy, vegan chef and yoga teacher from California conceived easily and naturally 7 months prior. Her particularly calm yet energized demeanour and air of contentment was relaxing to be around. Erica, on the other hand, was in a less relaxed state. Her stressful job makes her cry and sleepless, too as she walks on eggshells around her negative and incredibly demanding boss. Erica emanated the energy of overwhelm, fear and stress.
Having gone through many ups and downs of trying to conceive for a couple of years, Erica, now part of the Intravenous Fertilization (IVF) medical process was told by her doctors that she was ‘old.’ The fact is that she is a youthful 43 year of age and had plenty of eggs left in her ovaries when the invasive treatment to harvest and remove them for fertilization purposes gathered a whopping 16 eggs from their first retrieval. This is a staggering amount which says that Erica has plenty of eggs to conceive. Despite this huge win and positive finding, Erica’s doctor implanted in her, not a fertilized embryo, but the fear that her eggs may not be healthy, that they may not ‘take’ once they were fertilized and planted inside her once again. Imagine going through the retrieval and then being told you may not conceive? Imagine what happens to the energetic frequency of a woman who is already depleted from her daily life and work environment and then is told she may not have the ability to conceive. On top of that she is paying the medical system many thousands of dollars for their expertise and these procedures.
The hopeful mother-to-be sat searching, stressing and teary eyed in the kitchen while Jane and I listened to her real life tales of being under the counsel of doctors that clearly lack emotion, heart and empathy for this young woman who simply wants to give life. The reason that Erica had initially found conceiving difficult in the first place was something that had since been resolved- a simple surgery that had fixed a dip in her uterus. It was a simple, routine surgery that had been fixed with ease and yet somewhere along the way the idea that Erica was somehow broken or not able to have children had been adopted. Despite this successful routine surgery, somehow she had been told by the medical system that she was ‘old with the risk of having an unhealthy child.’
Nonetheless, the doctors were just about to plant a healthy embryo in Erica when they pulled the plug telling her that she was too stressed to go ahead with the procedure. Imagine that. After her routine surgery to fix the dip in her uterus, after the harvesting of her eggs and fertilization of those eggs into ovaries (and the messaging about whether the eggs would even take the sperm or whether the embryos would be healthy), and messages about how she was too old but that her husband has ‘super-sperm,’ and her eggs were dysfunctional and thus she was unfit to bear children, her job causing her stress and anxiety, paired with the underlying internalized feeling that something was wrong with her as a woman, she was stressed.
Jane, having listened to Erica’s story, chimed in. Jane said that her own pregnancy was going well; she felt healthy, active and in touch with her body, mind and spirit. She saw a doctor in NYC who suddenly put her through all these tests and had her missing important parts of her fulfilling life to make herself available to medical testing that had no need or real cause to take place. Jane felt that she had been thrust into a system that did not look out for her needs or the needs of her child— in fact one of the tests she did could have jeopardized the life of her child. Observing her stress levels rise under the ‘care’ of this doctor, Jane switched doctors and found a one who she felt safe and confident with, a doctor who questioned why she had been tested for these various things when there was no apparent medical reason to suggest she needed any of it.
Jane suggested to Erica that she start to bring the Love back into her life and start to conceive naturally and not worry about temperatures and times and all that, but just start to live her life and take care of herself. What could she do to counter-act the stressfulness of her job? What beliefs was she holding onto about herself as a woman and her ability to conceive? Did she need to put so much of her own power into the hands of the medical system, especially when the main surgery that needed to happen to fix the dip in her uterus was done and successful?
The truth remained that Erica was not even trying to conceive naturally anymore. When asked ‘why not?’ there was no substantive answer except that the doctors said that she was perhaps too old to conceive a healthy child. Erica had been stripped of her Goddess Power to pro-create under the a system that shoves the elderly into homes and denies society their wisdom, under the system that wants to keep women young, boyish in frame and without any wrinkles or laugh lines, under the system that tells you where you are at without much explanation and does not ask you about one’s own Wisdom and one’s own Inner Knowing.
I revealed to Erica that underlying her experiences with the medical system, I kept hearing her say “I am not good enough to conceive and there is something wrong with me as a woman.” When I reflected this to her tears streamed down Erica’s face. I felt that there was space and opportunity here for her to work with her underlying or core beliefs about herself as a woman.
If she were my client I would have asked her about her mother and her mother’s mother and the messaging behind being a woman. I would have asked her what beliefs she may have internalized from her father or her past boyfriends or even her peer group. I would have asked her what experiences in her life made her feel less than. I would have asked her eventually to reclaim these parts of her and to release these beliefs and replace them with healthy beliefs that would start to allow her to think of herself is an Empowered Goddess, one with needs that need to be listened to, acknowledged and respected.
Another approach that may have potentially worked for Erica is Body Psychotherapy. By working with the body, we are able to distil the essential message the body is trying to tell us by listening to the Wisdom behind its dis-eases. The book: The Body Speaks The Mind by Deb Shapiro comes to mind as this book speaks volumes, saying that the body expresses what the mind (especially the subconscious mind) thinks. Louise Hay, an expert in the field of MindBody and affirmations that heal, in her book All is Well, writes that the underlying core beliefs of infertility are ‘Fear. Worry about not being good enough. Resistance to the process of life.’ Hay’s affirmations to counteract and heal these core beliefs are ‘I love and cherish my inner child. I love and adore myself. I am the most important person in my life. All is well.’
I am not suggesting here that there is no place for the medical system or that only alternative or complementary forms of health care should be pursued. Indeed there is a great value in the advances of the conventional medical system. What I am suggesting, however, is that there is also a tremendous need for human beings to tune into their own bodies and intuition so that we may become aware of how we are feeling and the stories that are essentially running our bodies.
The body is made of water and as such is like a magnet for picking up on vibrations such as our thoughts. Whatever we tell ourselves, especially at the subconscious level, is what water hears and what the cells take command from. I am suggesting that we reclaim our power like Jane did when she listened to her BodyMind about how stressed out her doctor was making her feel.
I am suggesting that people such as Erica start to tune in deeply to their own inner guidance and ask questions like what can she do to create ease to bring the Love-making back into her life; what can she change in order to better navigate the demands of work and what can she do to lower the stress in her life and create more ease.
I am asking us to take our innate power back into our own hands, our own bodies and to start making Love again. This is my Prayer.
This is my Prayer.
Psychotherapy, Spiritual Direction, Yoga, Buddhism, the Path of the Heart, and Surfing... Find my musings here...