A PLACE TO EXPLORE IDEAS
AND HAVE CONVERSATIONS
Step 1: Nutrition (Natural Treatment Protocols for 7 Hormonal Conditions)
Step 2: Self Acupressure & Yoga (4 Instructional Videos to Thicken the Uterine Lining)
Step 3: Mindfulness Meditation (2 Audio Meditations to Reduce Stress and Depression)
Endometriosis is a common and painful condition in which cells from the lining of your uterus (endometrium) relocate outside your uterus and attach themselves to other organs – your fallopian tubes, ovaries and the tissue lining your pelvis.
It is very clear to me that our normal approach to problem solving isn’t working. And as a society when we don’t know what to do, we enact something familiar. When our expected trajectory has been disrupted, we seek to make sense of it and frame it in familiar terms. Like the frame, infertility is a disease.
I have been talking a lot about the importance of a healthy mind-body while trying to conceive. And educating you about how you can use mindfulness, self acupressure, yoga and nutrition to optimize your fertile health naturally. There truly are many ways to regulate your menstrual cycle, your hormones and to optimize your fertility at any age.
One bright and cool summer day a wise man took a walk along the forest path, simply enjoying the beauty of the earth. At a cross road, he saw a man in grief praying earnestly.
October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. If you have lost a child due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, still birth, birth defects, SIDS or other causes I want you to know you are not alone in your grief.
In mindfulness practice, we befriend the body. We develop a scientific willingness to look at our bodies as if for the first time. And not know so much about them.
Last week we discussed how we can release ourselves from the problems the doing mode of mind creates while trying to conceive by moving into another, different mode, being.
There are many modes of mind. Doing mode is just one of the many modes in which the mind can work. We discussed doing mode in depth in this blog. Modes of mind are like different gears, each mode serves a different function or purpose.
To solve the “problem” of fertility challenges, the mind usually works in certain predictable ways. It relies on a programmed mental routine to help us get things done – achieve goals, solve problems, change things to be more like we want them to be.
For a long time we looked at the world and thought not. Then we looked at our lives and thought maybe. Now we are trying. We bought a new set of sheets for the bed. We bought a thermometer and a book.
Drinking a cup of homemade bone broth may have a tremendous impact on your health and fertility.
Today I want to discuss male fertility. Some of you have male spouses and partners with fertile health challenges. But even if you do not, optimal sperm health is essential for peak fertility, so think of optimizing your chances of conceiving by having him follow these guidelines.
When we experience challenges conceiving it is like being shot with an arrow – it hurts. Our mental commentary about the pain can also be very hurtful, much more so than women even realize.
In psychotherapy there is an approach to relating to experience called radical acceptance. This approach is not unique to psychotherapy. It has roots in many philosophical and spiritual traditions.
Acceptance is a natural state of openness to experience. It is quite simply the absence of rejection, the absence of mental opposition to what is here.
This month I am going to write a series on acceptance. Acceptance is a quality of receptive moment-to-moment awareness. It is receiving what is offered.
I am writing a blog for The Art of Infertility entitled, “The Transforming Power of Visual Art” and I would be honored if you would participate.
As we slow down, turn inward and truly listen to our bodies with mindfulness, we uncover less conscious or less symptomatic clues to our fertility. Asymptomatic infections can be a major cause of fertility challenges especially if you have been trying to conceive for a while without success or have had previous miscarriages.
The third blog in our hormone series focuses on the natural treatment of hormone conditions.
1. Estrogen Dominance / LOW Progesterone refers to the amount of estrogen in your bloodstream relative to progesterone. Our average progesterone to estrogen ration is 23 to 25x progesterone to 1 estrogen. On about Day 20 of our cycle our progesterone to estrogen ration increases to 200 to 300 times progesterone to estrogen. Estrogen dominance is a term coined by Dr. Lee in his book on natural progesterone. It describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen, but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body.
Today I am going to begin a month-long series on Hormonal Regulation of the Female Reproductive Cycle. Hormones, hormone regulation and hormone metabolism are all crucial components of fertility. What is important to understand is that you can have a profound effect on your hormones in just 3 months.
Do not be afraid of loss. “I am so not wanting to deal with infertility month after month and with doctors telling me I’ll never conceive with my own eggs. Tell me that I have a chance. Say that you can help me.”
The work we do at the Mindful Fertility Project is comprehensive, and asks you to examine closely your physical AND psychological process. Sometimes you simply have to shift your physiology (change WHAT the mind is working on): for example; a thin uterine lining is caused by low estrogen, inadequate blood flow, poor health of the endometrial tissue, repeated use of clomid and long term birth control use containing progestin.
It is really essential while trying to conceive to begin to recognize the difference between unpleasant feelings and the reaction we have to unpleasant feelings.
I am writing to invite you to participate in an important fertility research study. It’s purpose is to gain a deeper understanding of how acceptance, mindfulness and coping impact couples’ relationships within the context of infertility.
The essence of the research on the fertility diet is that healthy eating for fertility is based on a natural, whole foods, plant based, anti-inflammatory diet that includes the following:
It’s Mother’s Day today. And for many women who struggle to have children, this holiday can bring up a lot of challenging feelings.
I want to discuss the most fertile response to the question, “Do you have children?” (or any other question regarding the status of your couplehood, womanhood, procreative endeavors – solicited or otherwise)….
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week #NIAW in the United States. For one week, every year, the fertility community comes together formally to support and raise awareness for the women and men struggling to conceive – the 1 in 8 who long for a baby.
Is there another way, other than our thinking, for us to know and relate to our experience while trying to conceive?
The autonomic nervous system mediates the two main modes we exist in: survive or thrive. In general, the survive mode is mediated by the sympathetic branch of the ANS, and the thrive mode is mediated by the parasympathetic branch.
Symptoms of depression are incredibly common during infertility. Being sad when you cannot easily conceive is of course an incredibly natural reaction.
Today Chalita Photikoe, Chinese Medical Doctor and fertility specialist at the MFP shares with us The BEST self acupressure point to improve egg health.
A quick reminder that there are 36 hours left to buy the Mindful Fertility Journal for $197. Tomorrow at MIDNIGHT the price goes up to $397.
COLORING CONCEPTION Stress Reduction for Fertility Success $17.97 USD This fertility coloring book offers poignant mandala designs and physiologically accurate images for you to color and make your own while trying to conceive. The images provide a relaxing way to...
At the very center of the intensity of your feelings is your life force. Fear, grief and shame never give up. They are messengers of integration. And they are here to remind you of something you have been taught to deny.
Mini relaxation exercises are focused breathing techniques which help reduce anxiety and tension immediately!
I have written a lot about fear this month and I want to continue today by discussing a common misconception: the antidote to fear is hope.
Can you be aware of your fertile reality without any story? Can you experience loss month after month without any story? Can you pursue your longing passionately, without any story? OTHERWISE, our attention focus is on our thinking. And predominantly while trying to conceive, our story feels life threatening.
The most challenging question in the mind-body treatment of infertility is…. how do you de-activate the stress response WHILE experiencing, and in many instances anticipating, pain and loss? To answer this question I like to use a metaphor.
As human beings our ability to survive is not a result of our size or our ability to out-run predators. We have become a dominant species because of our opposable thumb (our ability to use tools), our fight or flight response (our ability to mobilize in the face of threat) and our ability to think. However, our thinking is not a neutral computing apparatus. Our thinking is subject to what cognitive scientists call the negativity bias.
Acupressure is a very old (about 5,000 years) and widely practiced form of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupressure actually predates acupuncture by about 2,500 years. Acupuncture is practiced with needles, acupressure is practiced with your fingers and thumbs. Acupressure and acupuncture channels circulate blood, nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
Has your doctor ever told you about the research in mind-body medicine? Studies have proven acupoint stimulation lowers miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies by 50%, increases live birth rates by 60-90%, increases the uterine lining by up to 1- 4 mm and increases IVF success rates by up to 40%. Studies have also proven that stress reduction enhances pregnancy rates by 55% and that reducing the depression associated with fertility challenges increases the chance of live birth with an IVF cycle by 93%.
“This is Anxiety News Radio, WANR, broadcasting inside your head twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Wherever you are, the signal will reach you.
This holiday season, the kindest thing I can offer you is to sit in the certain VITALITY of the pain with you, removing the burden that you feel better, heal or buy my stuff in order for your dreams to come true.
The relaxation response, discovered by the inspirational author and Harvard cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson, M.D., represents a hard-wired antidote to the fight or flight response. The relaxation response is a set of integrated physiological changes that are elicited when you engage in a repetitive mental activity while being mindful.
One of the most challenging aspects of fertility challenges over the holidays is how isolating and lonely it can feel. All around you, friends and family are preparing for their celebrations. And sending you their family holiday cards. You feel alone just waiting and hoping for your turn, opening everyone else’s joyful photos.
Are your daily practices fertilizing your body? If they are, keep doing them. If not, and you keep doing them, you’ll create more suffering in your body and mind.
Do you ever feel like you just aren’t sure if what you are doing regarding your fertility is helping? You’ve changed your eating habits, invested in acupuncture, maybe tried and IUI or an IVF cycle but still you are not pregnant. And your mind quite naturally feels confused believing there is something wrong, working on overdrive to discover what it is because your experience is “abnormal” and if you live by the medical definition, “infertile.”
This week I want to take a moment to talk about gratitude. As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, we are confronted with a global violence crisis and a domestic fertility crisis that have me reflecting on how crucial it is now, more than ever, to incorporate mindfulness into our modern lives; for the sake of our yet to be born children, for the world’s children, for ourselves, our fertile health and for an increasingly violent, disconnected and destructive global community.
A landmark study published in 2008, based on the Harvard Nurses Study, makes startling connections between diet and conception. As the most comprehensive research to date on diet and fertility, this study associates a slow carb, whole food, mostly plant based diet with a six-fold increase in fertility.
While the specific ways we practice aggression toward our embodied experience while trying to conceive are many, they generally fall into two categories, corresponding to our early attachment histories.
1. We come to fertility challenges specializing in avoiding, denying, suppressing, and repressing our vulnerabilities – by engaging in numbing activities or by weaving narratives of blame and victimhood, and how something is wrong with us.
2. We come to fertility challenges urgently and frenetically seeking relief from our vulnerability through a very anxious engagement with others and the world; mainly the medical system.
We all know what it’s like to engage in behavior designed to get us out of very vulnerable states of being, but we can also discover that the quickest and most reliable way to get relief from our vulnerability is to start THINKING.
In a fraction of a second, we can dissociate from our present, embodied experience and spin the most seductive tale about what has happened, about how fair or unfair it is, about why we are “infertile,” about who is to blame, about what it all means, and about how something is wrong with us.
Before we know it, we have lost contact with the precious reality of our tender, raw, vulnerable bodies – and have begun to start thinking ‘about’ our experience rather than actually ‘having’ it.
We think that by thinking we are creating opportunities for healing, but abandoning our embodied experience is never healthy.
If we will practice being mindful, get very curious, and cultivate the desire to know what is true more than anything, we may start to discover that abandoning ourselves, shaming and blaming ourselves, and exiting the aliveness of intense states of vulnerability may be seen as the ultimate act of self-aggression.
Self-aggression is not bad or wrong or evidence of our failure or “infertility,” it is simply out-of-date and inefficient.
It was the best way we learned to care for ourselves as young children – to weave stories in the attempt to make meaning when our needs were not being met, when we were not being seen or mirrored by our parents.
The Mindful Fertility Project helps you reverse this cycle of turning away from yourself and offer yourself the gift of self-kindness.
The meditations will help you stay close to your embodied vulnerability at this time.
The practices will help you turn toward yourself, your body, life and God and end the unkind activity of self-abandonment in all its forms.
We do not need our narratives of interpretation, shame, and blame to protect us any longer from our own hearts.
We can take the risk required to love ourselves so deeply that we will do anything to stay, to not abandon ourselves any longer, and to no longer blame others, ourselves, our bodies and the world for our experience, for our feelings of aloneness, grief, abandonment and fear.
It is the ultimate act of self-kindness to stay close to your embodied vulnerability, to withdraw the projections of an unhealthy body, cruel world and ‘bad me,’ and to recognize the majesty of what you are. It is a simple path, in many ways, but not an easy one.
It is the path of love and it is what you are trying to conceive.
A friend recommended I look into “mindfulness” to help with our infertility diagnosis and our upcoming IVF cycle. This is my 6th IVF. I have a few questions.
I guess I just don’t understand how mindfulness can help me get pregnant. My husband has no sperm and nothing I think or feel or connect with my body is going to change that. How could our infertility happen because of stress in our lives? My husband isn’t more stressed than most guys, and most guys don’t have any problems with their sperm counts. How come this is happening to us?
Also, my main source of stress is trying to get pregnant! Before we started trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t overly stressed at all! Now, there is an endless stream of appointments with doctors, and phone calls with the insurance, and blood tests early in the morning before rushing to work, and the invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds, and the constant waiting and waiting – waiting for results, waiting to for my period to start, waiting for an answer, waiting for another appointment, waiting in line, waiting on the phone. I feel like my whole life is just being on hold. Everyone around us seems to be having babies and moving along, but we are stuck waiting. Before we started our IVF, I thought the needles would be the worst part, but now I know the worst part is even worse than all the needles in the world. The worst part is the wait.
So, how exactly can mindfulness help us? Can mindfulness improve my husband’s sperm count? Can mindfulness make the waiting shorter? Can mindfulness guarantee that this IVF cycle will work and will bring us the baby we’ve been waiting so long for? I have a hard time believing that a series of meditations can make any of that happen.
I took my son to see his first feature film last week. We saw, “Inside Out,” the latest Disney/Pixar collaboration. If you haven’t seen it already – go! It is a psychotherapist’s wet dream. But more than that – it is an essential emotional road map for those struggling to make sense of their inner world. What I love is that Disney/Pixar consulted with the Greater Good Science Center’s founding faculty director, Dacher Keltner, to make sure the film’s essential messages about emotion are consistent with scientific research.
And they ARE!
Without bogging the film down, the psychological insights enliven the main character who is struggling to make a big life transition.
With humor and tenderness, Inside Out shows us how difficult emotions like sadness, fear and anger can be extremely uncomfortable for people to experience – which is why many of us go to great lengths to avoid them.
The desire to get everything “right” while trying to conceive, although completely understandable, is incredibly stressful. We believe when we get it all “right” we will conceive.
However, after decades of research and practice in assisted reproduction; IUI, IVF, sperm donation or egg donation is not a guarantee of pregnancy. Something about conception, birth and death makes it clear that even when conditions are physiologically “perfect,” we cannot manufacture a life. Conception is an excellent reminder that we are more than a collection of body parts.
When my son was 3 years old, approx. one year after he acquired language, he asked me, “Why doesn’t Daddy love me?”
Step 1: Nutrition (Natural Treatment Protocols for 7 Hormonal Conditions) Step 2: Self Acupressure & Yoga (4 Instructional Videos to Thicken the Uterine Lining) Step 3: Mindfulness Meditation (2 Audio Meditations to Reduce Stress and Depression) [activecampaign...
The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 & 30,000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution. These new ways of thinking and communication enabled humans to conquer the world.
THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE tool I teach women who are having trouble conceiving or carrying to term is this:
Acknowledge the pain, the shame, the loss, the powerlessness, without needing it to go away (without aversion).
Your fertility story is the very foundation of the Mindful Fertility process. Even if you’ve done tons of therapy, as you pursue your longing for a child, as your vulnerability increases, as you heal, change your behavior, change your state of consciousness, at every new level of growth and expansion, it’s your fertility story that determines your “success” because the image of a successful cycle is held in your implicit memory – deep in your sub-conscious mind.
One of the very first psychological processes that gets triggered while trying to conceive is self-doubt.
Most women and couples who earnestly begin to practice mind-body medicine, have found that analytical thinking and rational problem solving based on implicit dominant cultural ideas about the body; paradigms that use Newtonian physics to think about matter, paradigms informed by patriarchy, haven’t helped them solve the riddle of their symptoms.
On your journey to conceive you have no doubt become aware of at least one or two waves of despair rising and falling within you. At times you feel down, hopeless, uninspired and unable to find any meaning.
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your desire for a child. It’s so human, to have some yearning in the heart, some longing for connection, to be met in presence, to be seen, to be heard, to be touched, to be held and to hold.
Let’s talk about the brain again. We know from the findings in neuroscience that the mental and emotional changes we can create through mindfulness are transformational at the very physical level of the brain. By developing the ability to focus our attention on our internal experience in the Mindful Fertility meditations, we are picking up a scalpel we can use to re-sculpt our neural pathways, stimulating growth of areas of the brain that are crucial to mental health and fertility.