Fertile Mindset – Getting Fertile Mind, Body & Spirit

  • Santa Monica Fertility
  • General

Video transcript →

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, and my specialty is in infertility counseling. I work with lots of individuals, couples, who are experiencing infertility and struggling with infertility. I help them prepare for their journey, cope with their journey, explore options, support them through the entire process. When they are faced with the possibility that they may not be able to have children or that it’s going to be very difficult, it can create feelings of failure, feelings of inadequacy. For many it can create feelings of depression, hopelessness, anger, sadness, confusion and create so much anxiety and worry about what is their future going to be like.

Some women really feel that this is something that they’re supposed to be able to do. That their bodies are suppose to be able to get pregnant and carry a child. And when they’re dealing with the fact that they can’t, it becomes a very difficult thing. I have many clients that will say that they feel broken. Many men who are experiencing infertility will often say they burry themselves in work. Sometimes they suppress the emotions or find themselves very irritable because there is so much of this process and this journey that they are unable to control. With infertility, unfortunately we don’t necessarily have concrete answers where we can say “yes, treatment compliance is going to lead to positive treatment outcome”. That’s not always the case. For many men and women, that inability to control the situation can become a very devastating and difficult emotion.

The feelings of loss when a woman is told in order to conceive they need an egg donor, that’s a very significant and probably one of the more difficult phases of their fertility journey. So for many couples when they get to the point of surrogacy or egg donation, there may be a combination of excitement and hope, but also an ongoing sense of loss. There may also be a sense of vulnerability in this process. So helping Egg Donors and Surrogates understand the mixture of emotions that accompanies the arrangement between Intended Parents and their Surrogate or Egg Donor I think is very important.

Disclosing and sharing with their friends and family can be very helpful because they all have a good outlet to talk and deal with some of their stressors. Other times it can create other difficulties in their journey because sometimes family members or friends may have their own ideas about how fertility should be handled. Although their intentions may be good, sometimes the advice that they give are hurtful. Couples are often going through infertility, going through treatment, for sometimes months and month or years at a time. So the focus often should be on preserving that couple to ensure the stress of infertility, the various stressors, the psychological, the sexual, the emotional, and physical, doesn’t create too significant of a distance between the couple. To help them keep healthy communication, identify what coping skills are hurting them and what healthier coping skills that they should practice and use to help them get through their infertility.

When one is trying to conceive, there is a lot of hope, especially in the beginning, and we do everything we can to increase our chances and up our odds. Be positive! Check. Eating right! Check. Exercising in stress-reducing and blood-flow enhancing ways! Check. But what about belief systems? Or control issues? Or uncontrollable stress and cyclical thinking? If you are one of those women who’s fertility journey is stalling or just isn’t working anymore, maybe there is something else blocking the path.

It’s one thing to have a blocked fallopian tube. Doing an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) exam may actually be therapeutic in both diagnostics as well as treatment – sometimes small blockages get washed away as the dye moves through the tubes, and women get pregnant on their next cycle. But what about deeper blockages? Even things we don’t understand or necessarily feel or believe.

The first step on this spiritual journey of fertility and true health and healing is awareness. Start observing your thoughts, especially the ones that go around and around – the things you tell yourself. “I’ll never get pregnant” or “this was all his fault because we waited too long for him to come around” or “I’m so bad at this and unhealthy”. Is this true? Or is it more complex than this, and even un-true. It’s important to look at your beliefs and feelings, behaviors and actions. If you really believe you are not healthy, and you end up binging on sugars or processed foods all night, this will only perpetuate the belief and the bad habits and the negative outcomes. Be kind to yourself. Listen to how you talk to yourself. Be aware, be kind, and make changes when you feel like you could be kinder and more supportive to yourself.

What are some other ways you can support yourself emotionally during the fertility journey? Some patients find that therapy and counseling can be helpful. Other women opt for movement therapies like yoga or tai chi. And many women find that fertility acupuncture treatments do all the work for them, improving hormones & blood flow while relaxing the system and making deeper more subtle energetic changes that can open one up to conceiving when it is ideal, and with a healthy, happy baby. Some women have stronger negative belief systems in place and need more aggressive approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or tapping solutions like EFT (emotional freedom technique). And still others just need to be a little more gentle with themselves, a little kinder, and not be afraid to ask for help. We all have issues and obstacles and blockages in this journey through life and creation, in creating our truth and our vision. How can you help yourself manifest your visions and dreams of becoming a parent? There are plenty of tools out there, but you have to take the first step and be open to making a shift. Once the journey shifts, you’ll never look back.

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