When I first started thinking about having a family with my partner a couple of years ago, I was 37 and naturally feeling a little anxious having been constantly reminded by well meaning friends, the medical world and society; don’t leave it too late.
My career over the years has been blended with the best of both healing worlds nursing and complementary healthcare modalities, so I like to think I have a pretty well rounded approach to my health when needed. I was wrong.
After some pretty quick success, I was pregnant! Great I thought. I continued taking my pregnancy supplements, a little exercise and continued with life.
At our second ultrasound, 11 weeks down the line, my world ended.
I like to think I have a good relationship with my body. It subtly tells me what I need and when I need it and also when something is not working.
Nothing prepared me for this. I felt completely betrayed. We were no longer friends.
Refusing the prescription for “helping complete the process” I went home in a state of confusion, despair and complete heartbreak.
2 Months after I was physically given the all clear, but emotionally I was still feeling “off”.
Months later, I was still experiencing both physical symptoms and emotional loss. Hormonal disruption is so tricky to live with because the balance is so finely connected to our emotions. Thoughts would appear which would leave me feeling, sad, anxious, panic, depressed, hopeful, and disappointed. I wasn’t moving on.
It actually felt guilty and dangerous to move on. So my body complied.
Month by month, I waited for a positive sign. Suddenly a year had passed.
I needed to get out of the loop.
As a natural health practitioner and passionate advocate for integrated health, I wanted to find a medical doctor who was compassionate and open to holistic and natural health, who I could work with one to one.
I didn’t find one.
What I did find was a very curt and rude female doctor who brought me to tears with her bleak expectations of my health and family wishes.
That appointment spurred me on to do my own goddamn research.
There are AMAZING women all over the world, having babies naturally, fixing their own bodies and taking charge of their own health – I was going to be one of them.
Armed with my blood results, I began my research.
Knowledge is your friend
To me the internet is the eighth wonder of the world.
Type in <natural health – natural fertility – natural hormone balancing> and the world is your oyster for great information and an abundance of free resources.
Not only does it offer advice on how to interpret blood results it offers the “whys” and “ways” to fix the problem.
I started with looking at how to balance my hormones because without me being balanced, my body would not have the resources to start let alone maintain any pregnancy. Plus, it’s extremely exhausting to experience the highs and lows of swinging hormones.
I came across a brilliant book (and website, check it out!) called The Period Repair Manual by an Australian Naturopathic Doctor, Lara Briden.
This is a must read for any woman, regardless of whether you are looking to conceive or not.
She carefully explains the different hormones, their jobs, and the various ways an imbalance shows up in your health. More importantly she explains why and how to fix it with natural supplements, diet and lifestyle choices (cue joining the gym!).
Now I had my own personal diagnosis. I went shopping to stock up on the specific natural supplements I needed and booked my first session in a programme of specialist fertility acupuncture.
Interestingly, even though I have been through medical training, I learned an enormous amount from her observations and experience: an important discovery was that our eggs take 90 to 100 days to mature, so this was the goal: to introduce and maintain a supportive diet and lifestyle to 100 days and beyond.
Next stop – emotional health.
Over the years, and often through necessity, I have discovered and trained in many different techniques to overcome and balance thoughts and emotions. Two of my favorites are Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
Both find ways to bring balance to mind, emotion and body. Both are very effective.
EFT in particular has helped me the most in regaining some centre and perspective when faced with disappointment, anxiety and grief as well as effectively processing trauma. When I first experienced EFT I was amazed at how quickly very intense emotions would gradually subside after only a few minutes. What I also love is that it’s so simple to use, anyone can do it at anytime, reducing any dependence on a health practitioner and the perfect go to tool when you’re feeling out of sorts.
EFT is a way to express and acknowledge all the worst feelings you have about a situation or yourself, in a safe and non-judgmental way. Combining this with acupressure tapping naturally heals the upset and more importantly reduces the emotional intensity you feel towards certain events and memories so that they no longer have a hold on your emotional wellbeing.
This combined approach has an extraordinarily positive effect on your body, interrupting the flight or fight response and reducing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It’s so effective that after a range of positive results were obtained in clinical trials in America (and around the world) they now use it to treat PTSD in war veterans among others.
It’s particularly important to minimise the production of these stress hormones as chronic stress as it not only impedes fertility but it also disrupts and inhibits digestion, reduces immunity, causes muscle and joint problems, increases heart problems and increases the risk of developing circulatory disease.
Nobody wants that.
Well, after applying these changes for a couple of months I decided that a new batch of blood tests was required to see how my body was reacting to the new diet, healing modalities and lifestyle changes.
Positive. In fact, very positive. So much so that my new found Doctor had wondered what I had been doing. Excessive hormones had been lowered and deficient hormones had increased. Hormones to show fertility levels were now at excellent levels despite my age (It’s just a number!).
Integrating the best of both worlds, medical and complementary, has offered many solutions to regaining my health and wellbeing.
I feel much more empowered about my health and have developed a new and respectful relationship with my mind and body plus a strengthened inner confidence that whatever happens with my health in the future, I will be OK.
Good health and wellbeing is available to everyone.
We have the choices, we have the resources we just need to have the courage to make a change.
Be brave, you won’t regret it.
Catherine Garner is a specialist mind-body Wellbeing Consultant helping women to regain and improve their fertility health and financial wellbeing, with EFT and NLP.