Infertility and Stress are an interesting combination – Western Medicine says there’s no real evidence to say they co-exist, but for anyone struggling with conceiving, this is a no brainer. Trying to conceive and not “succeeding” is terribly difficult, so how do you deal?This week I had to complete my Professional Issues component as a Registered Acupuncturist and completed an Ethics in Reproductive Medicine, Infertility and Stress Module by Randine Lewis. It really inspired me gave me a better appreciation for what my clients are really going through and is highly relevant in my day to day work.
Not just that Infertility and stress is hard, but what is going on underneath the veneer of “holding it all together”. There is heartache and pain and rage and frustration and a whole lot of other emotions going on.
Here’s the biggest thing I learned:
Reframing success and working with women on “achieving an outcome”
Deep down all you want is a baby. A real tangible thing you can hold in your arms and call your own. An ultimatum of
Result = Pregnant or Baby.
So what happens when life doesn’t answer back? What do you do if you are unsuccessful? Why is success a black and white outcome?
The focus of women trying to conceive can be so much on wanting that baby rather than digging a bit deeper into what that means to you. The meaning we place on our life events can give clues to help us deal better with what’s going on.
So what does having a child mean to you? Really think about it. What NEED does having a baby fulfil for you?
Does it mean being a parent? Unconditional Love? Having a Biological child? Giving birth? Breastfeeding?Experiencing the role of motherhood? Passing on your life experience to someone else? There are so many varying reasons why people feel the need to have a child.
Randine Lewis suggests not putting the responsibility of fulfilling your needs onto an unborn child or child. And living your life that way NOW, not waiting for the child to fulfil that need for you. This can help you open up to the opportunity of life flowing through you, and changes the expectation on yourself and on life to deliver what you want.
Can you get those needs met via other avenues?
Depending on your Fertility situation & age, asking this question can open you up to other possibilities, rather than leaving you feeling like you’re trapped into Infertility & Stress with no way out.
Can you experience parenthood or motherhood without giving birth to a child? YES.
Can you give and receive Unconditional Love without giving birth to a child? YES.
Can you give birth to child that is not biologically yours? (Donors) YES.
Can you pass on your life experience to someone else, without birthing a child? (Blended family) YES.
This really opens up possibility when it comes to modern parenting.
Being a mother, parent, birthing and raising a child are all very separate meanings and yet we usually lump them all into one big meaning before we EVEN get to falling Pregnant. And this is why women really struggle and are in turmoil emotionally and mentally about not falling Pregnant.
This really made me re-think how I interact with clients. It can be a hard conversation to have but honest and getting right to the core of why you want to have a child, why you feel the way you do when it’s not happening.
You may think, OK, I’m a goal focused woman, I can grasp that, but HOW do I do that? The short answer is letting go. But HOW do I do that?!?! It’s an excellent question, isn’t it?
Randine Lewis suggests that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a good way to help the client have a better relationship with themselves and this is the foundation for any healing or letting go process. It is also a productive way of moderating the intensity of Infertility and stress.
But it’s almost counter-intuitive isn’t it? “Let go and I get closer to my goal?!?!”. YES.
Women are extremely tough on themselves the most. They have high expectations and the independence to live and choose as they wish. With Infertility and stress Randine Lewis says sometimes this is the first time in a woman’s life they have not got what they desired, wanted and dreamed of. And so this can deal a blow to your confidence, thoughts and feelings leading to your Heart closing and shutting down. But for fertility to thrive the Heart, must be open. Meaning open to fully experiencing the emotions you feel- this can be scary and confronting but also cathartic and healthy to express, rather than repress. And to be open to the opportunity of life flowing through you.
I found this refreshing to hear someone talk about the real psychology of an Infertility patient and how to support them best. It has really inspired me to bring more neutrality to my consultations. Although being a practitioner you have a caring and nurturing attitude, Randine Lewis taught me that neutrality is more supportive than being invested in the client’s goal. Being invested in the outcome or achieving the goal, can put more pressure on a an Infertility client because the client may feel that she has not only let the Fertility process down, but also the practitioner. This is about the client. It is her life, her reality and her expectations she is trying to meet. Keeping her heart open, not judging, and just giving her the support she needs on that day is enough.
It was a profound and fascinating learning to get.
Randine Lewis’ books are available at The Book Depository:
Randine Lewis website – retreats available in USA.