infertility is a subject very dear to my heart. You may be dubiously thinking, “oh what would you know? you have your baby”… and it’s true, I do have a son now but the heart wrenching journey to eventually conceive him is not forgotten. I have several very dear friends and yoga clients that have also suffered the unbearable experience of infertility. Their pain and struggle to have a baby would equally rest heavily on my heart, as my own.
the call to be a mother if or when it comes, is an insatiable and unstoppable urge so when pregnancy doesn’t happen, defeat is not easily accepted. No logic, reason or rationality is likely to provide solace.
of course there is the list of alternative measures that can be taken and it would be oh so easily resolved if we would just adopt a baby, afterall there are so many in need. However, the notion of medical intervention or adoption often cannot provide the solution for a woman that feels like she is ‘inadequate’ or ‘broken’ because she feels unable to fulfil her perceived role that nature intended.
the longer it takes, the more seemingly complicated the journey becomes and soon that primal yearning to actually experience pregnancy can become unbearably strong so that often, trying to have a baby becomes her entire life focus. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to control the uncontrollable and nothing more perplexing than creating the space for the acceptance of uncertainty.
different women handle the situation differently. Some prefer to talk openly about it, others prefer to process it privately. Other people never quite know what to say when they know that you are struggling to get pregnant. There isn’t really much that is helpful that can be said.
chances are your friend that is experiencing infertility knows the topic inside out and there isn’t any new information that you can enlighten her with. It soon becomes a topic that even the closest of friends or family end up tip-toeing around to avoid upset. There is no universally right way to go about handling the situation or supporting a friend.
what I have found from my experience of infertility and from going through the experience with others, is that there are common elements to the inner turmoil that accompanies infertility.
as someone going through infertility it could be of some respite to know that you are not alone in your internal battles and for those supporting you it may be helpful to be aware of those aspects that aren’t expressed. For example, perhaps…
- every stage of what should be the most natural and happy thing in the world could be wracked with pressure, doubt and insecurity
- every menstruation could be met with bereavement and the feeling of deep loss
- every other thought could loop back to the ‘what-ifs’
- every conversation held at surface level could be so as not to expose the pain and grief
- every aspect of lifestyle is managed, controlled, micro-managed and details scrutinised and obsessed over
- every glance at the body in the mirror fills you with a sense of failure, mistrust or emptiness
- every time you see or hear of another person becoming pregnant or having a baby you reminded of your own feelings of inadequacy
- every other life plan is on hold or given the back seat
here is a wonderfully inspiring article written by a beautiful friend of a friend of mine about her experience of trying for a baby. I met her at a wedding a few years ago and we shared stories about all the different fertility solutions that we were exploring at the time.
I would like to finish by saying that there is SO much strength that can grow from experiencing the vulnerability and uncertainty of infertility.
looking back, I am so grateful for the insights that I received from the challenges that I faced. I would like to say that it was my yoga practice that remedied my infertility but in truth I felt a sense of betrayal from my practice.
For me personally, I get an intuitive feeling that my commitment to yoga practice, or more so the intensity in which I was practising asana, was somehow energetically blocking the space to my conception. I sensed a pattern whereby intensive yoga practice designed to channel prana (energy) upwards, would lead to me experiencing ever more dysfunction in my menstruation (which requires the downward flow of energy). Not to mention the yogic vegetarian diet. Being vegetarian for 10 years and then vegan for the 3 years following wasn’t doing my fertility any favours. When vegan I was spending £200 a month on supplements but ultimately it was the re-introduction of animal products (on the advice of my acupuncturist) which provided me with the necessary protein, iron (inc heam) and omega’s required for fertility (and mental stability for that matter!)
Everyone’s journey is unique, what works for one woman won’t work for another. But what I feel unites us all as women is our nurturing nature. We can all be our own mothers, we can nourish and heal our own souls and we can also create the space to help our sisters face their own souls. Such is the innate beauty and gift of womanhood.
If this is an area of interest for you, please do stay tuned because I will be adding more to the blog soon and please subscribe to my youtube channel to keep updated with forthcoming instructional yoga sequences dedicated to promoting women’s wellbeing and womb health.