For most of my 30s I would wake in the morning with this underlying anxiety that would hit me with a subtle waive of nausea. The thoughts that accompanied this feeling would all be centered around this theme of “running out of time to prove my feminine worthiness”. In my mind I was racing against time, I was racing against myself and I also felt as though as I was racing against other women- which is a perpetuating factor, I believe, in our current imbalances. Above all, I felt alone. When we don’t connect and learn from one another we also perpetuate a shame around our bodies not working, not being loved, not loving ourselves and so on. This separation just compounds the feelings of unworthiness and embarrassment at being (insert age here) without a man and a baby- a perfect picture of balanced family-career-love.
I have noticed a trend of this fear creeping into the younger generations of women. I attended a week long I Am Her retreat recently where I supported women in understanding their womb and connection to nature’s wisdom within their bodies. I was sitting with a group whose age spanned 16-60 and the one theme I could really feel into was confusion and anger around not ever having been taught about their body’s wisdom. I am familiar with this theme as it runs through almost all of my female bodied clients. What really struck me in the heart though was the younger women who asked me directly if I thought they were infertile. The fear in their eyes around failing as a woman at 20+ years old saddens me deeply- and I also empathize deeply as I remember that fear in my own body. I looked at them and asked “why would you be infertile?”. The answers vary from:
- My periods are painful and heavy
- My doctor said I most likely have PCOS and it will be almost impossible to have children
- I have been on birth control for 5, 10, 15 years
- I’m getting old and my doctor said it would be challenging
- My best friend just did IVF 3 times and failed
- I have never been pregnant despite all the sexual encounters I have had
- I have cysts- fibroids-endometriosis and my doctor said it will be hard to conceive
- I had a miscarriage
- I had an abortion
I will not cover all of these topics but I will dive under the message around them and to the root issue of these fear based beliefs. Our young girls from the beginning of menarche are unfortunately guided by a western model of women’s health that has little root in the health and flow of the body. Our mothers, and some of our grandmothers, were unfortunately caught in this model and unable to educate their daughters like the wise keepers of the generations before them. Most of our young girls enter their right of passage into womanhood with fear and disgust. This is only emphasized by western medicine’s casual model of prescribing HRTs to altar or stop this process and completely disconnect them from the intricate symphony of their bodies- so beautiful, so powerful and so soft and so rhythmic.
Many women never get to the root cause of their hormonal imbalances, if they have them (and most all modern women do). And if they are using HRTs to avoid pregnancy, they are rarely taught about their fertile cycle and how the life creating process flows each month in their body. This model then sets them up for a life of fear, disconnection and confusion around their bodies. This model robs them of a relationship with their body and it’s connection to all living things. This model then follows them all the way into that moment when they have that first thought of “I want a baby”.
I am not a parent and I do not know if I want to be one. However, I do connect with the miracle of life- the miracles we all are. I know that when we decide to bring a life into this crazy beautiful place this decision can be daunting. And regardless of all the books you read, you can never be prepared for what truly awaits the journey of parenthood. Unfortunately most couple’s journey doesn’t begin with the bliss of the mystery and the excitement around a deeper connection they may experience together as life begins to move through them differently.
The journey begins with a question, a concern and a fear… “can we get pregnant?”. This question arises even before they have started laying the foundation for the procreative process to find some flow in their lives. And, as I mentioned above, this question isn’t unique only to those in their mid to late 30s and early 40s when we are apparently supposed to fear our fertile capabilities. This fear drives couples of all ranges straight into seeking outside sources that can expedite this decision in a time that they feel it should be happening. Most of these sources interfere with, rather than support, the natural process of procreation. And, many do not even address factors, that can be helped naturally, that could be leading to fertility challenges; yes, fertility challenges not infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the woman is over age 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to live birth. ~ CDC
Our limiting definitions within the healthcare system set women, and men, up with fear from the beginning. These definitions already elude to a timeline that, if not met, you have failed- you are broken. What many of the medical definitions do not adjust for, or even consider, are the varying lifestyle factors of the individual. What is their current state of health? How are they managing their stress? Have they been on HRTs for years and now just hoping that once they stop, their body can miraculously work with ease? Have they been educated about the current state of their body?
I was working with a new client who had undergone many unsuccessful IVF treatments. I asked her a few questions about her cycle and inquired as to the length of her luteal phase. She looked puzzled and ashamed and asked “what is a luteal phase?” (If you are reading and do not know either, please reach out to me and be kind to yourself). This confusion is nothing new. Like I said many of the clients I see are unaware of their bodies. The real harm however is the fact that before they have found me, or someone like me, they have been pumped full of hormones and have been under tremendous stress, feelings of shame and doubt through trying to force something that should be coming from love, passion and joy.
This theme is widespread and no one is really talking about the root of the issues around our fertility challenges. It is delicate, private and deeply emotional. But, we must discuss these issues and speak truths that may be hard to hear. The truth that we chose a path of prolonging child birth and took corporate careers instead. The truth that we have some grief around not knowing our bodies. The truth that life flows more easily into places of space, balance and health. The truth that we must look at what happens when we create new life from a place of fear and artificial sources outside the biology of the natural body. All decisions we make have outcomes. Many are woven into the mystery of the gifts we are not able to foresee. Some we choose with clear knowing. And some outcomes we can glimpse but sweep under the rug with the famous “it can never happen to me” attitude. The movement to manipulate and prolong our fertility timelines is one of those choices and leaves me often pondering the real questions that nature may be needing us to ask?
- Are we really suppose to be procreating at the same rate and are our fertility challenges a sign of that?
- Do YOU really truly want a child or is the fear program motivating your decisions?
- What would you be creating in your life if you weren’t focused on creating a child?
- What kind of generations are we creating from this fear based place?
At a point in history we as women truly had to fight hard for the voice and opportunities we have today. I am blessed to have been born into a society that had already been in the transformation and acceptance of women having equal rights and amazing opportunities in education and independence for some time. And, yes, we still have a very long way to go. However, I was also born into a society that had long forgotten the “wise ways” of women as those ways do not produce or contribute to the economic growth of society. These wise ways became inconvenient and old fashioned. It wasn’t hip to be in flow with the moon; it was hip to block the moon all together. And even though she is a forgiving force and always with you, you must cultivate your inner connection with her before she decides to bless you with the miracle of life. This takes time- yes, that thing that we force and push and manipulate in our outer lives that our inner life, our bodies and spirits, know very little about.
Do not get me wrong, I deeply empathize with and honor the path and decisions a woman makes about her reproductive life. I meet her where she is at and open the doors of education and nurturing to do the rest. However, I always encourage my clients to slow down, learn about their bodies, create space and balance in their lives to invite life in. Then, and only then, can we make sound decisions around how to proceed. (This is also very true for anyone looking to surgical or HRT intervention)
Although this is all opinion (and maybe not popular), it does come from a very personal place where I have had to slow down and learn from in my life. And, even more relevant to you, it comes from observing and holding the hands of 100s of women I have worked with who sit with trembling hearts feeling alone, ashamed and defeated by their own bodies. This is just the beginning of this discussion as I only see more of these stories emerging- unfortunately. But, reading this, you can come into your heart- really listen to your heart- and begin to heal this story of so many of us by ending the separation within yourself that bleeds into the separation between us. We are not alone- there is nothing that is in one that is not in all.
Feeling a little lost?
Knowledge is power. I encourage all women to seek out support that can help guide them back to a more natural state before choosing paths that altar and interfere with nature.
~IVF- IUI: Congratulations if you have decided to be a parent! This process has assisted so many in their dream of parenting. However, the female body undergoes a tremendous amount of stress with the these interventions and without knowledge that stress goes right into your baby to be. Before proceeding just seek out the guidance of an ND, Midwife, Maya Abdominal Practitioner, or natural family planning specialist. Understand your body and how to support it best if this is the route that is necessary. Again, give yourself time- you have the rest of your life to be with this child. And, continue with the support of someone who can help your body through these procedures.
~Painful and Irregular Menses: Pain is not a normal state regardless of what you were told about your period. Seek to understand why. Again the above mentioned practitioners can assist greatly in this. Your womb is a vessel for life- not pain.
Other questions? Please reach out to vent, inquire, cry, laugh and connect. I am also available for Skype and phone sessions to help you understand and befriend your beautiful body. You are not alone.
Links: www.arvigotherapy.com | www.iamherwomensretreat.com