I remember the first time I took a pregnancy test, it was right after one month of trying. I can still feel the disappointment I had the moment I saw the negative result and still hear my hopeful thoughts saying, “It takes time, Anna. I’m sure next month will be positive.” But, next month wasn’t positive and neither were many, many months to come.
I don’t know how many pregnancy tests I took, but I do know that with each glance at a negative one, something in me started to break. Each month I watched as the conversation in my head turned from hopeful and enthusiastic to fearful and heartbroken.
Looking back now, I can see how different I was during that time. I became anxious, stressed and obsessed about getting pregnant.
One morning, when I was getting ready to head out to see my family who lives a few states away, my husband placed his hand on my shoulder and said he needed to tell me something before we left. It turns out my brother had told him that my sister-in-law was pregnant and knowing how emotional I was about not being pregnant, he thought it was best to tell me now before they announced it that day in front of everyone.
His words hit me like a ton of bricks. I broke into hysterical tears, threw my head into his chest and broke down. At the core of it, I was jealous. Jealous that she was pregnant and not me, and on top of that jealousy was the horrible feeling that I couldn’t just be happy for my brother and his wife.
There was something in that jealousy that woke me up that day. I realized how stressed I actually was and how having a baby had become a destructive addiction that was emotionally tearing me apart. A few days later, I decided to stop “trying” to conceive. I threw away the ovulation sticks. I stopped buying pregnancy tests, stopped tracking my cycle, and stopped treating myself like I was broken. Instead, I focused on taking long walks where I paid attention to my breath and being present. It was as if I started a meditation practice, without even noticing it.
Two months later, I was pregnant.
Over the course of my life, I’ve observed that every time I step back, see how my thoughts are affecting my body, and make a conscious effort to practice letting go through meditation, I open up a space within me for whatever it is that I want.
In speaking with women who are on their fertility journey, I’ve noticed this in themselves as well. Whenever they begin a meditation practice, they slowly stop blaming themselves, their stress decreases and their self-compassion increases. In other words, they get better at focusing on the positive instead of the negative so they can create a healthy space for a baby to grow.
Although there are numerous tools, strategies, and treatments out there to support a woman’s body during this time, like hormone balancing, fertility diets, ovulation tracking, acupuncture, IVF, etc, there isn’t much talk about how women can support their minds. We all know that our mind and body are connected so we can’t ignore one and expect the other to work efficiently.
Realizing the important role our emotional health plays in the fertility process, I decided to look into the research behind how meditation can help women conceive. What I found opened my eyes even further to why meditation is the tool we are missing in fertility care.
After diving into all this research, and seeing how mindfulness has helped so many women through their preparing to conceive process, I have come to the realization that we are ignoring one key tool when it comes to getting pregnant: meditation for fertility.
It’s my hope that within the next few years that when women walk into their doctor’s office looking for the tools that can support them with fertility, that meditation be right in line with ovulation tracking, nutrition, and exercise.
Originally Published on Expectful.
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