October is Infertility Awareness Month. It used to be a week, I think it has earned a month. You don’t have to look far at a dinner party to find someone who has been touched by the wide net this casts, be it challenges conceiving, holding the pregnancy or carrying that vibrant, bright soul to birth. Oddly though, you likely had no idea, at that same dinner party, that others were sharing a similar experience to you. Why?
Hoping to welcome a child into your family and having it not happen easily, absorbs you. It becomes a year round push-pull within self. There are so many questions to busy your mind with. Will we be in the same city when I ovulate, how often should we be intimate, what foods should I be eating, legs up the wall? Headstand? Maybe I should just hang upside down for an hour...we could put hooks in the wall and make that work. Herbs, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine. What is the best fertility clinic to work with? It can be endless. There is a desperation that appears. If I am being totally honest, a shame that sneaks in. It is a deeply vulnerable experience that touches who we are, our purpose and our beliefs about ourself at the very core.
Yet let me be clear, these women and men don’t lack strength, integrity, beauty, or maternal/ paternal wisdom. They are warriors who often walk in silence. Infertility has been changed to fertility because it sounds more positive yet the reality is we are very much in the world of fertility when struggling to grow a family and that world isn’t often talked about.
When a woman comes in to see me for fertility, we look at all of the lab work, tests completed, diagnosis’ issued and all of the data that goes with it. We look at the holistic side of the equation and reveal its wisdom. All of it important information. Fear though, has a stealth way of hiding behind all of that data collection, temperature charting, exercise enhancement or restriction, timing intimacy, web searching and food logging. More to do’s, more looking at what isn’t working, more critical judgement of self, more shame, more isolation, more fear.
Then the conversation shifts. The door is opened for her to feel heard. To be fully seen for where she is at in her unique journey. To be fully and compassionately received. The focus moves from what isn’t happening and the fear it elicits to what expands their light. A light begins to shine and a sparkle returns to her eyes.
She reflects on questions like: What deeply nourishes my soul? What brings me joy? Who are the people that can show up for me in my beautiful vulnerability? What boundaries do I need to consider to nurture myself? An invitation to come home to her knowing, her wisdom, her heart. Something magical happens and there is a shift, the sun begins to rise. There is an expansion at a time when there has been such a focus on contraction. Drawing attention back to self and not feeling shame for putting self at the top of the priority list.
Her homework focuses on solo walks in nature and adding bite sizes pieces of joy through her day.
Walks can be twenty minutes on a lunch break yet has to be outside; rain, snow, sleet or shine. No friends or animals on that walk - just you. A chance to show up fully for yourself like you offer so often for a friend. You tend to be amazing at caring for others. Now it is your turn. Self care.
A chance to let your voice be heard, anger be acknowledged, sadness shed a tear, hurt be cradled. Then a chance to watch a bunny lock into a stare with you as she silently speaks to your heart. A chance to feel an eagle soaring over you, its power breathtaking. You see a butterfly and are reminded of the transformation that is happening within you all the time. You see the magic around you. Then you hear a voice yet your brain didn’t say those words. They came through you. A deep knowing. Your intuition. This is where your magic is. This is the place that counters the fear. Showing up for your soul each day, expanding your light. That is this fertility warriors journey.
Dr. Leisha Laird
Leisha is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a registered Acupuncturist with the College and Association of Acupuncturists in Alberta. She has trained under leading experts in the fields of nutrition, gynaecology, fertility, obstetrics, paediatrics and immunology. Leisha is the Regional Chair and an active board member of the Obstetrical Acupuncture Association (OBAA), and works closely with the midwifery and doula communities in Alberta and British Columbia.
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