Trying to conceive is hard. And we often lose our piece of mind during fertility treatments. Here we will look at some tips to help with the roller coaster of trying to conceive.
1. Manage Expectations
Many of us plan when we want to conceive, plan when we are going to get pregnant and plan when we have the baby.
We make a decision – this is when I want it. The more it doesn’t happen according to our expectations, the more pressure builds up. There is such a sense of loss and disappointment that we don’t become pregnant. That things are not going the way we want them.
When we don’t fall pregnant the way we expect, when it doesn’t happen the way we plan, pressure builds up – we start to seek reasons why. We go see a fertility specialist, change our diet, seek natural therapies to improve our health and chances to fall pregnant so it happens in the time frame we want. If we are in our 30s or 40s we are usually told our time is running out. We may be told that we only have a short window to have a baby and so even more pressure is put upon us.
When we don’t fall pregnant, when we don’t meet the expectation we have set for ourselves – there is disappointment and despair. Then more pressure. Maybe it will happen this menstrual cycle. Hope builds up. Then the fear that it I won’t be pregnant this cycle. All these things build up stress and pressure. And then there is pressure we put on ourselves that we are stressing and this effects our fertility. It is all truly exhausting.
This control we have on the timing of things effects the flow of liver qi in the body.
2. Soothe the liver with movement
Liver qi is energy that flows around our body. In Chinese medicine the liver qi is responsible for the smooth flow of energy around the body. It keeps things moving. The nature of this energy is the outward, expansive movement, like leaves of a big tree, growing up and out.
Liver qi also needs flexibility and adaptability. If the flow of qi is blocked it loses the ability to flow and move outwards. Energy builds up creating too much pressure. The pressure we put on ourselves to through planning can block the flow of liver qi. And we lose that ability to adapt and be flexible, it let things go.
Pressure on the liver comes from internal causes such as meeting high expectations and many demands on ourselves. It also comes from external demands such as being told time is running out for us to get pregnant, pressures form family to have children, fertility treatments and pregnancy planning.
All these stressors including the expectation of when you are going to get pregnant can put a great strain on the liver. And it is already the most congested organ in our body in modern life. Pregnancy is beyond our control. It is something we can’t plan or expect. Try – yes. But with planning, with the expectation, we lose our adaptability, our ability to go with the flow and let what happens happen.
The liver qi is about having flexibility, and this is something we need when trying to conceive. Like the flexibility of bamboo. Bamboo stands tall, but also has the flexibility to bend in the wind. If we are like a pine tree, tall with strong roots, but with the inability to bend, then we break in the wind. We need this flexibility. Especially when it comes to trying to conceive. The emotions of not meeting the expectation of being pregnant in the time we want it causes great strain on the liver.
Pressure causes stagnation of liver qi creates blockage not only on a physical level but also on emotional and spiritual level. On the physical level we have muscular tension which then creates heat. Movement is the key to clearing the heat and blockages. Use movement on the physical level – walking, cardio and dance; as well as mindful movement such as yoga, pranayama, meditation. We need to learn to let go of the demands and pressures we put upon ourselves. The fertility journey is often fraught with the highs and lows, hopes and fears, devastation and exhilaration.
3. Remember the love
The lack of communication between couples also lead to blockages in the flow of liver qi. The communication failures about what is going on, hidden feelings, wishes and expectations cause blockages. These blockages effect the flow of our blood to our reproductive organs. In women, this flow of blood cause bloods to congeal, which lead to menstrual cramping and menstrual pain. In men it effects sperm cells.
The pressure of timing can also effect our sexuality. Where the spontaneity of love making is lost and sex becomes a planned event. There is now a pressure to perform laced with the fear of failure to get pregnant. This can effect the self esteem and self confidence of all involved.
This is where benevolence comes into play. To resolve blockages in the liver qi when it comes to relationships – open discussions and ‘walking in each others shoes’ to gain a better understanding of the pressures and feelings of your partner help to unblock the liver qi. Remember the love between you, and go back to the source of why you want a baby. Embrace this love again. Don’t make baby making a chore.
But benevolence also needs to be directed towards ourselves too. To take the pressure off. Emotionally and physically. We can’t control when we get pregnant as much as we want to. That is up to nature. And while we can do everything in our power to prepare our body, it is our peace of mind that also needs attention and care
4. Tap into the mind body spirit connection
If you are embarking on a fertility journey and struggling to conceive, looking at mind, body and spirit care is the most important aspect of this journey. What practices will you use to help with the stress and disappointment. This is actually the most important aspect when you are to conceive. Thoughts and emotions have a profound effect on our physical body. And our thoughts can cause a lot of issues for the smooth flow of liver qi and the functioning of our reproductive organs.
Maybe embark on learning meditation, practice yoga or receive acupuncture for stress relief and bring calmness into your world. It takes a lot of resilience to go through fertility treatment.
5. Open Communication and Support
We touched on this under the heading of remember the love. Support is something that is invaluable with fertility challenges. There are many fertility support groups on social media. You will also find support with your health care provider. It is also a good idea to look for a fertility counsellor early in your journey as the waitlist can be long.. Be open and communicative with your partner. Gather supportive friends and family that can lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. We often keep our fertility struggles hidden and find it hard to talk about it.
You can book acupuncture or herbal support while trying to conceive here