I have been asked privately and in the quiet corners “How do you think you got pregnant?”. The few bold and curious that are struggling within their own infertility prison asked so I thought I would share with everyone.
I want to start by saying that I deeply respect and honour everyones choice to fertility treatments and procedures that support them in becoming parents.
For me, I believe strongly that the physical body is the expression of the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies unfolding. And that my body always has my greatest wellbeing at heart. The body is just trying to inform me of how I am in alignment or out of alignment with aspects of my Self, my beliefs, my values. And for each of us this is very unique and personal and can only be understood by our own willingness to build a intimate relationship with our bodies and hearts. And because of this belief, I said no to the surgical interventions the doctors suggested, and I chose not to go with IVF. This was my choice and in no way reflects how I feel about you making your own.
Looking back 7 years ago, from the outside peering in, I would have been considered a very healthy, very fit individual. And of course I was acting the behaviours that I thought would make me healthy and fit but not actually feeling like I was vibrant or thriving on the inside.
Let me start from the beginning…
I was a competitive athlete growing up and unfortunately the nature of the sport had us weighing in to be able to participate. I developed a lot of performance anxiety, feeling never enough in all aspects of my life and over time developed an eating disorder. This all rooted back way further into unfortunate events of my childhood, however the damage I did from over training for years and under eating created many years of amenorrhea (loss of period due to poor conditions in my body to house a possible child). The doctors never seemed too concerned and so as years passed, I enjoyed the freedom from my bleed to meet the demands of training and school life. When my period would show up, the symptoms were horrific and devastating to normal functioning so the doctor prescribed me birth control to help reduce the symptoms. It worked (with nasty side effects I wasn’t aware of at the time) but I was relieved to not deal with the debilitating symptoms and of course, the added bonus of not getting pregnant. I continued to suffer in silence in my eating disorder and over exercising habits, that were the behaviours conditioned from me truly hating myself and not ever feeling like I was enough. Years of not having a real female cycle and undernourished body mind and soul wrecked havoc on my hormones and certain organs started having problems like my thyroid, digestive tract, adrenals and reproductive organs.
I was blessed to develop a relationship with my partner Ben in this time, who showed me a love so unconditional I slowly believed I didn’t have to punish myself for being me. I noticed shifts happening in my patterns where I chose not to exercise so obsessively (once a day instead of 3) and began to enjoy some foods again. After graduating university, I found Yoga and slowly began to build a relationship with my thoughts and breath.
I remember the first time I saw a Naturopath at 26 years because I wanted to start preparing my body to have kids and she applauded me for how healthy I ate and how active I was. On paper I appeared the perfect model of health, however the truth was I felt anxious and lack lustre at the mercy of horrendous periods that had hospitalized me on occasion and required heavy medications to survive those few days and completely lost in who I was. What she didn’t see was how restrictive I still was with my eating and how unhappy I was in my workouts trying to run in front of the self hatred I could feel over my shoulder. Even my yoga practice in the beginning was very militant and rigid following the linear orders of fix this and tighten that. All my practices of “self care” were from a place of “I am not enough” and truly were mandatory conditions I placed on myself in order to be allowed to interact with my life.
I am sharing this because the years of harm I caused my body during such detrimental stages of hormonal development, and the lack of love I showed myself, are the reasons why infertility was my best teacher. Learning to move from my heart, love myself in all my faults and savour my day to day following my curious and vibrant innate nature definitely was the beginning of my healing process.
I had forgotten how movement was an expression of the hearts longing to know the world, our desires to be curiously explored and the aliveness that we all inherently are. I had lost connection to nature and in turn my food and who it allowed me to be. I had separated myself from what invigorated my passionate heart, and enriched meaning in my life from all the years of trying to fit in and follow what I thought I should be.
So with the kind supportive embrace my husband always showed me, and the gracious teachings of yoga that opened me up to look deep into my own fears and access repressed tears I worked so hard to burry, and the community of amazing friends I found all inspired to keep elevating their expression of self worth and love, I began to shift my habits.
I spent everyday in nature, running hard at first with music in my ears but over the years I slowed down. I was able to be with my own thoughts and the sounds of the environment around me and I began moving to my own rhythm taking in the peaceful landscapes and walking more often.
I connected with the local farmers and spent hours learning how to cook in rhythm with the seasons, my cycle and what made me feel deeply nourished. I read hundreds of books and listened to countless podcasts of self development, spirituality, yoga, nature, and anything that intrigued me and left me feeling inspired. I quit the job I didnt enjoy and I began to build my own relationship to a career that fulfilled me. I traveled to places that allowed me to indulge in my deepest curiousities, I studied with healers and leaders that invigorated an education that excited and uplifted me. And I spent more time quietly listening inward, getting to know myself, creating from what intrigued me, and practicing movement and meditation that allowed me to awaken to my own wonderful wisdom.
I noticed my periods were not as aggressive when I slowed down the week before and introverted more taking time to be creative and reflective. I charted my cycle over months and saw patterns in my behaviours that didn’t serve me and reclaimed my power in them by scheduling my work to better honour my cycles needs and tailoring my yoga practice to stimulate my best self rather than follow a protocol because that is the way it is always done. I slept in when I needed to, I quit drinking coffee because I could feel it was draining my natural vitality, and I chose to surround myself with only people that were loving and real with me.
I stopped listening to other people’s opinions and started tuning into my own inquisitive and unique nature. I opened up to new perspectives, and tried on many different ways of being allowing the things that lit me up guide me and the things that didn’t I left behind. I stepped towards my discomfort and fears and allowed them to teach more of what I am truly capable of. And all because I was determined to allow my infertility struggle be the reason I became liberated from attachment, anger, resentment, bitterness and most of all fear.
I believe one of the most potent changes I made was my relationship to my sexuality. I began to let my partner in more intimately and opened up to him about curiosities I wanted to explore. We found ourselves connecting on planes of experience that I can only compare to drug induced states and we interacted with a source love and tenderness that transformed how we saw the world and who we are in it. We hit a peak of connection at burning man where this little girl was conceived that I can only express was worth every sad moment, grieved adoption and painful period we had endured up to that point. Because it was the magic that could only be unleashed with 7 years of dedication to a truth so meaningful, it allowed miracles to unfold.
Of course this is not even close to the end of the journey, in some ways a new one is just beginning. But I am so grateful to my dedication. I revered my body, mind and soul as my greatest teacher and it has led me to deep contentment, sincere humility and generous patience that I know will only serve me more in what new challenges life brings. I can’t express how much I wanted to just get there sometimes, how much I wanted to get the hormonal injections, or receive the surgery, but I am so glad that I persevered to realize what was true for me. And I will carry this, my most significant lesson so far, that I will never give up on experiencing my wholeness and living a life that I am creating. Because after all this life isn’t happening to me, its happening of me, through me and for me. And that perspective allows for the most fertile of possibilities I still have yet to conceive.
Thank you to all of you who have listened in my struggles, encouraged me in my fears, believed in me in my triumphs and love me for all my wild and wacky ways. I wish I could name my daughter after each and everyone of you. And I hope I can in some way be the smile, the hug, the ear, the friend that you count on too.
I love you