Last week I started a new Mind Body Fertility Group. In this session, we have eleven women who are all eager to learn how to quiet their minds so they can move through this journey with more ease. At the end of the session, one of the women asked one of my favourite questions.
How will Mindfulness help me get through this? Can it actually help me get pregnant?
My reply was this:
As a woman, the longing for a child is an innate desire. This longing is ingrained in our DNA. When something so organic to our human potential is challenged, the yearning becomes that much stronger. The stress of “wanting” can impact our physiology.
There is a loss in the process of trying to conceive that comes with every period. For some women, there is the loss of the dream of having a biological child. Failed treatment cycles can further impact perceptions of the world as “scary” or “unjust”. It’s natural to feel that the body as “betraying you.”
Unfortunately, when infertility goes on a for an extended period of time, there is an activation of stress circuits which are actually intended to help you survive. (Ironically, the experience of infertility itself can have an adverse effect on your ability to conceive.)
Loss, multiple two week waits, needles, invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds, surgery, drugs, anticipation, rumination and through it all having a deep, innate unmet yearning are some of the feelings and experiences that can be encountered. Any one of them or a combination of them can activate our most primitive, sub-cortical, automatic/ autopilot parts pushing us into survival mode. Some of us can feel being in this survival mode. Once we realize this is what is happening, we can take control.
Mindfulness is an active process that helps the part of the brain responsible for moving us from a survival state to a more present, thrive state. The modality of mindfulness shifts the energy we are using on surviving and sustaining our negative thinking and stress response to a rejuvenating and relaxing state. Through mindfulness our survival patterns get freed up. We feel more in control, optimistic, more relaxed. And guess what? Research has shown that conception rates increase.
There is more and more research behind mindfulness. The practice is validated by research in psychology, neurosciences, oncology, immunology and even in the area of infertility health.
Mindfulness impacts your body’s natural processes. Mindfulness exposes us to the pain of our conditioning and offers true healing from it. Cultivating a mindfulness practice on the fertility journey will help you understand the effect of your beliefs, including fear, jealousy and doubt. Once the body shifts from survive to thrive, there’s a sense of relief and freedom and the body’s resources are being used more effectively.
Our next Mind Body Fertility Group starts on November 5, 2015. Come join us and learn how to use mindfulness to promote inner tranquility, physiological homeostasis, and more flexible thinking.