The word fertility can conjure images of round pregnant bellies, or a field rich with flowers being pollinated by adorable bees, or the food we are blessed to eat from our earth……or tearful women and men because fertility is not coming easily to them.
It’s difficult to not feel like there’s something we did, or are doing, wrong when we are experiencing what seems to be a lack of fertility. And it’s difficult for it not to feel like salt on a wound when we hear news of others who conceived easily…maybe not even necessarily “trying” to get pregnant. However, it’s important to remember to accept what is and trust the process…whatever the outcome. Fighting our current truth only keeps us running in place. [bctt tweet=”Fighting our current truth only keeps us running in place. “]
We must accept our reality before there’s any hope of moving into a new one. Here are 3 ways that can help you to accept, and move through, the fertility process:
Step number one is to manage anxiety by removing two kinds of judgment: 1) Self-judgement (What’s wrong with my body?) and 2) other-judgment (Understanding each of us has to find our own, authentic way through infertility).
Judgment #1: As with any other sign or symptom that the body and psyche gives us, an inability to conceive does not make you less than, wrong, bad, or broken. It simply is a clue that something needs support, balancing, or redirection. Consider that you are blindfolded and walking toward a fire. The heat you feel on your skin as you move closer is a clue that you are getting too close to something that could burn you. So, you begin to back away or redirect your movement in order to avoid injury. This is all that is going on within the body as it reveals symptoms such as pain, infertility, digestion issues, etc. (whether emotional or physical in origin).
It is so very important that, instead of berating the body for showing us what is “off”, we honor its calls for us to notice and take heed. Tuning into symptoms is an opportunity to reconnect with our own inner truth as well as to move in the direction of healing. We are urged to make friends with our symptoms and syndromes as we can move through the acknowledgment of “what is” much more easily than what we resist. As difficult as this may seem, surrendering can feel so very peaceful and it is NOT the same as giving up. In fact, it is a win because when no one is fighting, no one can lose. Even when we are fighting with ourselves.
Judgment #2: Comparing our journey to another journey is a quick way to feel rotten. In comparison, we wind up having to place a judgment on whether we are “better than” or “less than”. Truly, neither feels connected nor helpful. Of course, not going through infertility or IVF alone is absolutely key. You are not alone and we are here to support you through this journey and we encourage you to set up support systems in your life through truly supportive family and friends. Yet, it’s important that we approach the topic with others in the spirit of commiseration and connection vs. comparison. The comparing just leads us back to judgment #1: judgment of the self…and now we run the risk of engaging in a vicious cycle.
Why is the managing of anxiety (and, therefore, judgment) so important, aside from just generally feeling better without all the judgment? Because when trying to conceive, it is crucial that stress and anxiety are kept to a minimum. (I can’t speak for you, but I know if I am talking down to myself or comparing myself to others, I am anxious.) The hormones expressed in the body when we are stressed are a direct block to ideal fertile conditions. We realize that staying calm while on the roller coaster of fertility is a lot to ask, but, again, we’ve got your back. [bctt tweet=”Acupuncture is supremely effective in calming the spirit and resetting the autonomic nervous system back to the parasympathetic (rest, digest, and be fertile) mode.”]
Of course, not to be overlooked, acupuncture has wildly compelling success rates for improving fertility. Consistent acupuncture can improve egg quality, restore hormones to optimal balance for conception and pregnancy retention, thicken the lining of the uterus for implantation, help to clear out minor scar tissue blockages, improve sperm count, sperm quality, and more.
Step number two is to stoke your creative energies. In the literal sense, creativity doesn’t seem to be coming at the moment. But this does not mean we stop living out our creative lives. You might be thinking, I’m not the creative type, but I assure you, you are. [bctt tweet=”We are all reflections of our creator and of nature itself, which is constantly creating. And so can you. “]
Creativity can show up in some of the more obvious ways we think of it: writing, painting, dancing, throwing pottery, singing, acting, directing, etc. If this type of creativity rings true for you, get on it. If none of these types of expressions sound appealing, don’t fret. Do you have a head for business? Starting a new business or taking the one you are with to the next level is primo creation. Need to remodel a room in your house? Get going (just have your contractor use non-toxic materials). Missing a pet in your life? Create a home filled with puppy love. You’re a traveler? Create the perfect travel experience for you and your partner or a great traveling buddy. Whatever you do, keep that creative energy moving. Here’s why this matters:
In addition to balancing mood and hormones with lifestyle and acupuncture, it’s important that we keep energy moving in these same ways. After all, that is what we are doing when trying to conceive life: generating and moving energy. Energy is a fact of life. Neither you nor I would be living our lives without it. And, remember how we learned in headlines a few years ago that sitting is the new smoking? That’s because energy needs to move. Stagnated energy in the body as well as the psyche is both unhealthy and uncomfortable. Breaking through what feels like stuck creative energy will help you move through the uncomfortable feelings of being stuck on your path to fertility. Even though you’re not truly stuck…you just haven’t seen the scenery change just yet, despite all the work you’ve been doing to get to your destination.
How else can you keep that energy moving? Light exercise. Since we want energy to move vs. get stuck with jammed up or overworked muscles, we suggest activities like walking, yoga, tai chi, swimming, dancing. However, not moving at all isn’t recommended because it, too, leads to stagnated energy 😉
Step number three is to feed your body what it can use to be generative. All foods are not created equal. In the west, we understand the idea of eating protein vs. carbs vs. fats, or watching calories or partaking in fad diets. But, we are not taught another, yet just as valuable, aspect of nutrition: the properties of food. Yes, there are foods that can feed you in a way that is more conducive to fertility, whether you’re incorporating IVF or not.
For starters, eat what your body can recognize. If it’s pulverized, packaged, preserved, processed, or covered in pesticides, chances are your body will have to either work a lot harder to figure out what to do with those food molecules or not be able to figure that out at all. Just like the ground needs fertilizer to produce crops and flowers, our bodies need food we can use to function & generate new energy optimally. So, the more a food resembles how it looked when it was in the ground, on the tree, part of the animal, etc., the more your body can use it.
Beyond that basic advice, below is a list of foods that you can eat in order to optimize fertility as well as a list of endocrine disruptors to avoid.
The following foods are suggested in “The Infertility Cure – The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies” by Randine Lewis, Ph.D. How nutrition makes a difference:
Avoid and stay away from:
*Note for men: Men who are experiencing fertility problems can make similar dietary adjustments. According to The Infertility Cure, it is suggested for men to increase consumption of: Legumes, Soy, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B-12, Folic Acid, Zinc, and Ginseng.