UNRESOLVED GRIEF IS DESTROYING YOUR FUTURE AND HERE’S WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

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Grief is not the type of emotion that allows one to quickly shrug it off and happily move on. Grief has the power to stop a person’s unfolding life in its tracks with a chilling slowness. This slowness is by design, granting an opportunity to create the time and space that is often needed to process loss. Space and time have become somewhat antithetical to modern life, while grief and melancholy have remained unchanged by technology and digital communication. 

Society once had a process and rituals to cushion those who had recently grieved. The tradition of wearing black to indicate that a person was still in a period of mourning has been practiced for centuries. Adhering to a ritual period to mourn, while also assisting in the smooth transition of a loved one’s spirit into the afterlife, is common in many religious lineages that are still practiced today. But what about grief that does not pass or heal with time? 

I first heard the term “unresolved grief” almost twenty years ago while studying the energetics of acupuncture points. My teacher carefully pointed out that just at the top of the lungs, located next to the first rib, was an unseen eddy that could accumulate the undealt with and difficult to process melancholy of a lifetime. I raised my hand and asked, “Isn’t that the acupuncture channel that corresponds with fear?” “Fear and grief are very closely related,” the teacher responded. “One often follows the other.” 

If we don’t take the time to process and resolve grief as it occurs, it can linger and remain in our body and spirit for a lifetime. 

And because fear and grief are so closely related, when they are left unprocessed they begin to covertly influence actions, leading us to make decisions based on the past, instead of the future. 

Identifying grief is as simple as asking yourself to take an honest inventory of the periods of time in your life when you have experienced the loss of a friend, a lover, a family member, or even a dream. How much time did you allow yourself to process the grief? Who did you share the loss with and did you share completely how the loss impacted your life? 

While grief is closely related to fear, when grief is allowed to be properly processed, it can turn into an artistic masterpiece. So for those of us who have experienced grief, let’s mend the hearts of ourselves and others by uniting people through our common experiences.

TRADING IDEOLOGY FOR THE IDEAL

Utopia can mean both no place and universal place. And the current political climate is both reflective and causal of this. Many people are displaced and others are unwelcome in their own lands. Humanity, at the height of “civilization,” is poised to change the way we collectively live together. The concept of utopia shouldn’t disappear just because we have not been able to achieve it. There is great power in imagining something better. If we only create and focus on the dystopia and destruction of the planet, we lose our window of opportunity to dream up other potential pathways and realities that could manifest. 

It’s time to move from the locked in space of ideals to the liberated space of the idea.

Everyone is capable of hacking systems, and, with the right support, inspiration and freedom. While most people do not act from agency — because of fear, rigidity, peer influence, apathy and distraction — we all experience windows of potential ways to act. It can sometimes feel as though we are swimming upstream to seize these moments, but once a new route is established the swimming becomes effortless and others can now follow. How can you personally foster the imaginative powers to envision new concepts, thoughts, frontiers and commonalities? 

In my own work, I frequently see patients who are fastened into negative ideologies concerning their reproductive health. I act as an advocate to assist them in breaking free from the clouds of dystopia to the clear skies of utopia. When given the space to reimagine alternate realities and question the ideal, the reframing of fertility can begin. This is an abounding metaphor not just for our bodies but also for our world.

 

How To Respect Yourself

Respect does not come easily for most of us. Often times we either don’t know how to ask for it or we get angry that someone isn’t giving it to us. Perhaps, at the root, we are not sure what respect authentically means outside of cultural references which imply that it is a type of honor given to someone who is worthy of it. However, are not most human beings — and arguably all living things — worthy of at least some respect, whether they have earned it or not? 

The etymology of respect literally means: the act of looking back at something or someone who presumably inspires this second look. If respect is about a person being eye-catching enough that you do a double take, does that mean that most of the spectacle on the Internet, TV and movies is worthy of respect? I doubt it. A lot of what has been carried over from old moral and religious structures is respectable by many people’s standards. 

For instance, if you are a person who keeps your promises and pays back your debts, you are often considered respectable. Respectable actions though, don’t imply that what you are doing is selfless, ethical or benefits humanity. Many self-serving and cunning people are “respectable” in this way, without necessarily being worthy of it. Conversely, you can be a respectable individual because of your selfless acts of kindness or duty, but often this comes at the cost of your own desires and wants. 

I work with people who experience frequently what they call disrespect. According to the definition, disrespect means that they are not given the second look that they deserve, often for their hard work at home and in the world. Feeling disrespected creates all kinds of havoc in the emotional body. We each have our own brand of defense strategies that come into play when we feel hurt or slighted. It’s been my experience that these strategies do not provide any of us with the resolution we are seeking. When we find the ways to respect ourselves, respect begins to be mirrored back to us.

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Finding a daily practice of essential self care while switching your allegiance to yourself above all others, is a radical movement towards earning respect from the world. When you take the time to respect, or turn your gaze towards yourself, you can uncover some ugly belief systems that you might be carrying around with you. Reframing your own code of ethics and practicing it requires self knowledge and discipline, but it is the clearest path towards gaining the respect you might be seeking. At the core of the current climate of the world, it is the centralizing truth that none of us can fake anymore. Each one of our actions matter and each one of us matter. We all deserve a second look, especially from ourselves.

Originally appeared in The Fullest

The Baby Whisperer - Manhattan Magazine

It's no accident that infertility is increasing as the world's climate is changing. "I see a lot of polycystic ovarian syndrome in younger women, even in their 20s, because of poor quality of food and environmental factors like pollution," says Dr Julie Von, who has been applying her masters in Eastern Medicine, and her clinical doctorate in women's health and fertility to creating little lives for the past 15 years. "Industrialization causes infertility, and I'm trying to dial it back."

Conscious Conception is the key to her success. She starts with the basics -- getting to the root of where the deficiencies lie. First, she has her client consciously prepare her body for pregnancy by monitoring her health, including psycho-spiritual health, or what is needed to be happy -- think exercise, sleep, and good eating habits. In the second aspect, "I teach people how to manage stress, which is heightened by living in the city, in order to enhance fertility," says Von. Her tools? Holistic medicine, guided meditation, exercises, and practice in belief systems. She solves the mysteries that sometimes plague perfectly healthy mothers-to-be by eliminating basic fears about motherhood, the world, and the environment around us. She makes a list of the positives to reaffirm them. 

Von's most successful case has been a woman in her 30s who had been through five rounds of IVF and had almost given up on getting pregnant. Von worked with her to revamp her diet by removing all inflammatory foods, minimizing her high-speed exercise regimen, and helping her reconnect with her husband. Acupuncture, says Von, was also key: Theories range from Western perspectives that acupuncture increases serotonin and oxytocin --the body's "happy" neurotransmitters-- to Eastern beliefs that acupuncture calms the whole body by putting it into a receptive state where the nervous system relaxes. By recalibrating the nervous system like a scale, Von then creates a plan to time the calibration to cycles and in many cases, like this one, find success. 

"I work as a fertility coach with people all over the world to track their cycles and discuss the blocks they're having," says Von. "I become their advocate because it's dire when you're in it. I am on a crusade to change the way we talk about fertility." 

Written by Christina Cuomo

This article originally appeared in Manhattan Magazine, December 2016

3 Herbal Remedies I Swear By to Stop Spring Allergies

Spring allergies are no joke.  And as weather patterns become more and more intense, plants and trees have their own type of immune response.  The intensity of their own production of pollen, spores and bud has dramatically increased. Stay ahead of you allergies by eating super clean, washing the pollen out of your hair more frequently, getting extra rest and keeping your windows closed on windy days.  In addition, taking a morning dose of Astragalus can help to improve immunity.  Yu Ping Feng San is a wonderful classic formula that literally creates a jade screen between you and the environment, leaving you impenetrable.  Bi Min Gan Wan is a general allergy formula for itchy and watery eyes and sneezing. 

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All available at Kamwo.com

THE PRACTICAL MAGIC OF EMOTIONS

From, The Oracle.  To Be Released May 19th

From, The Oracle.  To Be Released May 19th

Emotion. 

A sometimes dirty word in this world where being in control of emotion is the cultural default. Emotions serve as messengers and act as liaisons between our bodies and the environment. 

Think of the times that you have felt something before you could express it in analytic words. 

Emotions are the energy before the matter. They serve as direct translators to our nervous systems and hormonal bodies. They protect us and keep us safe in times when threats and traumas from the environment happen so quickly that our rational mind can’t process and react fast enough.  

And yet, to be perceived as a highly emotional person– and more specifically a highly emotional woman— is still somehow judged in our society, instead of praised.  

Emotional intelligence is a skill which can be studied and learned just like analytic wisdom. And in many cases, a keen emotional intelligence is what we admire in our friends and family.

Individuals who have taken the time to learn their own emotional landscape are typically powerhouses of clarity. They act fluidly and with confidence, even in the most stressful of situations.  

What is it within each of us that keeps us from expressing with honesty our emotional experience? How can we learn to become acquainted with the most difficult feelings, so that we might better understand the messages from our deepest emotive depths and recognize these emotions as they drift into our daily lives?

Primary emotions such as fear, anger, sadness and joy are sometimes packaged within actionable emotions like hate, anger, jealousy and envy. These actionable emotions are often more acceptable in the workplace or social scape, and to some degree are less intimate than the primary emotions which you might share with loved ones. 

But, at what point did we decide that some emotions are acceptable and others are not? The clear danger in a world that does not value emotional honesty is the suppression of the individual experience into a more culturally acceptable form.  

This “emotional armament” as the psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich called it, can invalidate an individual and sometimes cause depression, anxiety and even physical illness. Invalidating an individual’s emotional experience in society is essentially the same as not acknowledging our own emotional experience. It’s likely that we are often angry at the people who emotionally “lash out” because we are not allowed to ourselves. The same can be said of hate, which for many people feels protective of deeper primary emotions like fear and sadness.  

Self reflection and personal analysis can save us from years of struggle in relationships with others and to ourselves. Each of our personal blueprints is unique and our movements in the world follow circuitous routes with unknown outcomes. If we allow what we express emotionally to be determined by someone other than ourselves, we lose one of our greatest allies along the unknown path.    

In The Wisdom of Insecurity, Alan Watts states, “that to have running water you must first let go of it and let it run. The same is true of life and the universe.” Emotional intelligence requires expression and flow. If you try too hard to lock it down and censor your emotions, you risk disconnecting from the meteorologist within. When you embrace all of the emotions, you contain a constant barometer, steadfastly pointing the way.

Originally published in The Fullest

Unstructured time is the new wellness trend

Dr Julie Von, crystal healing

Dr Julie Von, crystal healing

Unstructured time is the new wellness trend. 

When is the last time you experienced a day, or even an hour, which was not filled with media, exercise, commuting or a specific task oriented achievement?  Think back to the moments of childhood that were empty. Can you remember the capacity that you had to imagine and create out of the emptiness?  By age 7 or 8 we are at the height of being able to magically create and manifest the visions and play of our imagination.  Most of us had not yet been told that what we imagined was impossible.  The tie between empty unstructured time and imagination is strong.   So much so, that when we over determine our schedule and experiences, we disconnect from the part of our being that dreams and creates.  

Your value as a human being is not measured by your productivity. There are downfalls to living in a capitalist economy based off production and consumption.  Capitalism relies on the commodification of eating, dressing, exercising and even spending time with friends and family.  For many of us, our identity is often tied to our output, production and success.  This can be sustainable for some but there is also a danger that certain core aspects of self can be lost, ignored and under nourished when the emphasis is placed solely on what you “do” versus how you “be.”  Human beings are at a critical point in evolution, when the most revolutionary act that we can practice, is simply not consuming. It is much harder than any other time in earth’s history to practice being versus consuming.  The very creative and manifesting force that we all contained in childhood is taken away from us, only to be repackaged and sold back as an experience or product.

Why is unstructured time so essential to a healthy life?  Engagement in the world requires engagement of your nervous system.  Stress hormones, such as adrenaline, work on negative feedback systems, which means that your body reaches deep and produces bio chemicals on demand. Any system that works on demand can break or grow overused and tired.  The effects of constant “doing” without sufficient “not doing,” creates a society which does not contain time to reflect on the effects of doing and production.  If we don't provide time to think about the effects of our collective actions, how do we know that our actions are even effective or meaningful? And how do we provide enough unstructured time to dream and imagine better and more unified ways of being as humans?

I must confess that I am a chronic over doer.  I left home early and I have made my way in the world as a self employed doctor and healer.  I found myself a few years ago, at the end of a great cycle.  I had lived and manifested the dream that I had created in my early 20’s but I had no free time, no extra space, to tap in and dream up my next evolution.  I was over scheduled, tired and stressed.  I decided to do something radical, which literally means, I decided to return to my roots.  I traded all of my fitness classes for either restorative yoga or mediation and kept blank holes in my schedule.  I journaled about the ways I was being present in the now, versus acting out of anxiety and stress for the future and I connected deeply with the powerful 7 year old manifestor within. To my surprise, the essence of my being was not hard to access.   The simple act of providing space and emptiness, allowed my next soul’s mission to shine through.  I lost weight and remembered a deep happiness that I had forgotten that I contained.  I also realized how somewhere along the way, I had associated “being” with anxiety and fear.  Production and action felt safe and somehow doing protected me and kept me viable in the world.  It was at this time that I realized how much of our value as humans we associate with our success and productivity.   Without time to reflect, we repeat the same situations again and again. When we blindly trust a map, we sometimes cover unnecessary distance and forget to take in the environment along the way.  The map is not the territory.

Originally published in The Fullest

 

Is Stress Hurting Your Fertility?

When a woman is stressed, her menstrual cycle can get out of whack. The hypothalamus, which is the center of the brain that regulates her endocrine system, can sense anxiety, and when it does, it can shut down and stop doing its job, which can then deregulate some of the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release an egg each month. The result? She may ovulate less frequently, which makes it more difficult to figure out their most fertile days. What’s more, research also indicates that stress can have an impact on other aspects of fertility — from fertilization and implantation.  But it doesn’t stop there. Infertility itself can cause more stress, which can then stop you from having sex — a pretty obvious fertility derailment. Many people who have difficulty conceiving often feel that the stress of trying to conceive ends up being the very thing that stops them from even trying. They have a hard time addressing the pressure that comes with failed attempts and can end up clinically anxious and depressed, which can, in turn, impede on infertility even more.  So what can you do to reduce stress and up your chances to conceive? Here are 3 tips:   1. Sleep. Getting too little sleep can cause hormonal imbalances, which can then make it more difficult to conceive. What’s more, sleep gives your body a chance to regenerate, recover and relax from a taxing day. So make sure you get the slumber you need. If you are waking up tired or feel like you’re dragging all day long, chances are you’re not sleeping enough.  2. Practice yoga and meditation. Taking the time to meditate, visualize and even pray can mitigate stress, balance hormones and promote fertility. Some cultures also use mantras and create music to help relax the endocrine system. These techniques bypass the rational mind to work outside of one individual’s experience. When that happens, the nervous system has a chance to relax, and the stress hormones start to decrease, giving room for positive feel-good neurotransmitters start to calm you down and regulate your body. If you are not big on “om,” yoga is a great alternative. Picking up a yoga practice twice a week can help reduce the stress hormones that mess up with your fertility. Hatha yoga, in particular, focuses on breathing and slow, relaxing movements without putting too much emphasis on meditation.  3. Don’t take others’ experiences and comments personally. Though spiritual beliefs and meditative tools can help protect your fertility, some words and belief systems can have a huge impact on our emotional stress — especially when they resonate with our deepest fears. When a friend, a family member or coworker express something that are at odds with your current psyche or make you doubt your body, take a step back, put that opinion aside and try to put it in a context that is not your own. In other words, do not take it personally.  4. Eat the right foods. Proper nutrition, which includes adrenal-enhancing omega oils and adaptogenic plants and herbs, will help balance stress hormones in your body and promote fertility. B vitamins also protect the nervous system, increase energy and heighten mood. A healthy diet, along with self-care, really is the best defense against the negative effects of environmental stress on fertility. 5. Have sex… for fun! Try not to let your sex life dwindle because you are too worried about getting pregnant. It’s common for couples who experience fertility issues to feel like sex has become more of a science project. But “it” should be fun and feel good, so do it when you’re not ovulating, too. You’ll (re)build the intimacy you may have lost when actively trying to make babies, and practice makes perfect, right?  Prioritizing your own well being isn’t just beneficial for your emotional health and fertility. It helps you model a healthy philosophy for your children and instill the foundations of a balanced life. It is never too early to begin this process. And because stress only tends to increase with the responsibility of modern motherhood, the earlier you integrate stress-reducing practices into your life, the more prepared you will be for the challenges that you might face as a mom.

When a woman is stressed, her menstrual cycle can get out of whack. The hypothalamus, which is the center of the brain that regulates her endocrine system, can sense anxiety, and when it does, it can shut down and stop doing its job, which can then deregulate some of the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release an egg each month. The result? She may ovulate less frequently, which makes it more difficult to figure out their most fertile days. What’s more, research also indicates that stress can have an impact on other aspects of fertility — from fertilization and implantation. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Infertility itself can cause more stress, which can then stop you from having sex — a pretty obvious fertility derailment. Many people who have difficulty conceiving often feel that the stress of trying to conceive ends up being the very thing that stops them from even trying. They have a hard time addressing the pressure that comes with failed attempts and can end up clinically anxious and depressed, which can, in turn, impede on infertility even more. 

So what can you do to reduce stress and up your chances to conceive? Here are 3 tips:  

1. Sleep. Getting too little sleep can cause hormonal imbalances, which can then make it more difficult to conceive. What’s more, sleep gives your body a chance to regenerate, recover and relax from a taxing day. So make sure you get the slumber you need. If you are waking up tired or feel like you’re dragging all day long, chances are you’re not sleeping enough. 

2. Practice yoga and meditation. Taking the time to meditate, visualize and even pray can mitigate stress, balance hormones and promote fertility. Some cultures also use mantras and create music to help relax the endocrine system. These techniques bypass the rational mind to work outside of one individual’s experience. When that happens, the nervous system has a chance to relax, and the stress hormones start to decrease, giving room for positive feel-good neurotransmitters start to calm you down and regulate your body. If you are not big on “om,” yoga is a great alternative. Picking up a yoga practice twice a week can help reduce the stress hormones that mess up with your fertility. Hatha yoga, in particular, focuses on breathing and slow, relaxing movements without putting too much emphasis on meditation. 

3. Don’t take others’ experiences and comments personally. Though spiritual beliefs and meditative tools can help protect your fertility, some words and belief systems can have a huge impact on our emotional stress — especially when they resonate with our deepest fears. When a friend, a family member or coworker express something that are at odds with your current psyche or make you doubt your body, take a step back, put that opinion aside and try to put it in a context that is not your own. In other words, do not take it personally. 

4. Eat the right foods. Proper nutrition, which includes adrenal-enhancing omega oils and adaptogenic plants and herbs, will help balance stress hormones in your body and promote fertility. B vitamins also protect the nervous system, increase energy and heighten mood. A healthy diet, along with self-care, really is the best defense against the negative effects of environmental stress on fertility.

5. Have sex… for fun! Try not to let your sex life dwindle because you are too worried about getting pregnant. It’s common for couples who experience fertility issues to feel like sex has become more of a science project. But “it” should be fun and feel good, so do it when you’re not ovulating, too. You’ll (re)build the intimacy you may have lost when actively trying to make babies, and practice makes perfect, right? 

Prioritizing your own well being isn’t just beneficial for your emotional health and fertility. It helps you model a healthy philosophy for your children and instill the foundations of a balanced life. It is never too early to begin this process. And because stress only tends to increase with the responsibility of modern motherhood, the earlier you integrate stress-reducing practices into your life, the more prepared you will be for the challenges that you might face as a mom.

What Those Headaches You Get Really Mean -- And What You Can Do About It

By Roxanne Adamiyatt

Given my hunch, it seemed only reasonable to reach out to Dr. Julie Von, holistic doctor and all-round Girl Boss, to see if there was any credence to my thoughts. Turns out, my hunch was correct. Dr. Von explains, “ The problem of continuous treatment of a system, is that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t address the cause of the symptom.” However, this doesn’t mean that our symptoms are useless. In fact, just the opposite -- they give us opportunities to listen to our bodies for own self-care. In other words, “The beauty of a symptom is that it can lead you into an opportunity to rebalance. There are pathways and information out there that can allow you to explore the symptom,” says Dr. Von.

And there are pathways to find out why you are having headaches, for example. Dr. Von espouses the belief that everyone’s treatment should based on their own unique endocrine system -- basically, personalized health care. This all starts with your primary care professional, to balance your hormones holistically -- examine when your headaches are happening, what you’re eating, your cycle, and and the changes in your symptoms. Awareness in the change of symptoms throughout a month will help narrow how to remedy your ailment.

Other things you should be doing? Dr. Von explained that many women are subclinically anemic -- meaning, we don’t have enough iron or Vitamin B in our system. According to Dr. Von, at a minimum all women should take strides to take care of their blood. Think about it. We use a ton of blood for our muscles and brain. Throw inadequate nutrition into the mix, by choice or not, and we are draining ourselves of energy. This, Dr. Von explained, creates the perfect storm because any chronic deficiency will eventually manifest itself as a health problem.

Originally published in Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/1512020/what-headaches-mean-what-you-can-do-about-it

 

Chronobiology

The means by which the moon effects ovulation and menstruation has long been attributed to the relationship between the light of the moon and the circadian rhythms of humans.   It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint that women would synchronize ovulation with the full moon, the time of the greatest available light for festivities and rituals.   The phase of the new moon, where there appears to be no light in the night sky, would correspond to menstruation, or a time to be internalized and inside. Also, there is some correlation to birthrate increasing at the time of the full moon when there is more available light by which to see and work.  

Descartes first discovered the relationship between input of light into the eyes and glandular function.  More specifically, to the glandular function of the pineal gland or what is known in Indian culture as the third eye.  Light information reaches the pineal in the following way:  The retina of the eye contains specialized cells that absorb the light coming in through the lens of the eye.  Upon absorbing the light, the rod and cone cells convert the light energy in the form of anervous impulse.  This impulse is carried for a short distance by the optic nerve.  Then, at the optic chiasma, optic nerves from the two eyes cross, and parts of each go to the opposite side of the brain.  At this point each nerve splits.  Most impulses are eventually sent the optical cortex of the brain, where they are interpreted as vision.  The rest of the impulses…pass back through the brain and down the medulla oblongata, where the brain attaches to the spinal cord.  There the impulses go out of the cord until they reach the two superior cervical sympathetic ganglia, which lie on each side of the neck.  From there the impulses are sent to the pineal gland.  

There is significant documentation that the pineal gland affects several important glandular and organ functions, which influence menstruation, most importantly, the gonads and the thyroid gland.  The pineal gland also generates melatonin and serotonin, which are both influenced by light and darkness exposure.  It is believed that this is the site of physiology where the moon effects the reproductive cycle.  

The endocrine system is mediated in a rhythmic manner by nerve centers in the hypothalamus.  These “super charismatic nuclei” of the hypothalamus function as biological clocks that regulate both the circadian and ultradian rhythms governing a variety of biological processes mediated by the autonomic and endocrine systems.  

The most important effect from nature on the bodies of all life is light.  Light causes patterns of growth in plants, animals and all biological creatures from the sea to the mountains. 

 

 

  

 

Let Us Return To The Root

The etymology of radical is root. Radical fertility is a return to the source of reproduction.  Radical fertility reclaims what was has been appropriated away from the female narrative within the conception and pregnancy process.  It is taught as a practical guide because knowledge and information truly is power and when left to the system it defaults into capitalist monoliths that deny people's unique lives, sexuality and story.  Education or “re” education of what has been archived in our collective wisdom, combined with a comprehension of new reproductive technologies and new revolutionary declarations of self, gender identity and social relations is truly radical.   It cannot be denied that fertility is one of the most essential topics of our time, even without the reminder that at the core of reproduction is the heart of all humanity and earth’s future capability, through the children we create, nourish and release into the vastness of our planets story.  

The combination of environmental and technological change and deeply analytic developments in our social and cultural biome has brought fertility to a new and dynamic frontier and yet people are still disempowered, injured and ignored by medical systems.  Radical fertility fights for everyone's voice and story and takes up the cause of reproduction as an extension of vitality and health not symptom and illness.  When people are empowered to use and navigate the language of reproductive medicine, they no longer are victims of master/ slave dialectics.  They can break free to interpret the data in their own unique, autonomous, individualist way.  This is the most effective way to comprehend and become pregnant in the modern medical system.  Conception, pregnancy and birth can be a true writing of self and all the complexity in which we now live.   In this way, our children are the outcome of our fight to remain loyal to ourselves and they mirror each of our journeys in creating out of our minds, bodies and spirits.  Empowerment is crucial because without it the entire ship can sink.  And indeed for many it already is.  Radical fertility returns to the root that fertility is not a symptom that fertility is an expression of health and the desire to live and pass on life to others. 

The world is evolving and iron clad structures which have ruled for centuries that have failed to care wisely for the planet are presently coming face to face with the discourse that they have tried to suppress. Creating life, having children, no longer is an extension of a religious or political structure alone; it is no longer an unquestioned duty that goes without choice.   A person can now explore their life, sexuality, career, and passions before choosing to have children.

Most women pursuing pregnancy are currently given just two options: either conceive “naturally” with ease or seek the help of an infertility clinic. Those for whom getting pregnant may not be easy and straightforward but for whom a diagnosis of infertility is inappropriate (queer women, single women, transgendered men, those with irregular menstrual cycles or nuanced hormonal imbalances, etc.) are left either without help or are funneled into the world of infertility.  There is a third option: healthy fertility through a deep knowledge and understanding of our bodies, our options, and our lifestyles. 

Radical Fertility draws from the insights of alternative and traditional medicine, midwifery and acupuncture, it fully explains menstruation, ovulation, cyclical changes in the body, and the fertile window.  I work to demystify complex medicine by giving simple definitions of medical terms and concepts teaching you how to optimize reproductive health as well as recognize the signs of potential problems.  

 

     

4 Reasons Not To Rush Into Assisted Reproductive Therapies

I write articles on fertility for many different websites.  Blogs and websites try to grab the reader's attention, which means that they often request a list type format for articles from writers.  Im sure you have seen them everywhere, 5 reasons to do this, 7 reasons that will change your life, etc...  I generally don't mind this format because I am for information getting to the public by whatever means possible. However, there is something in this writing style that does not sit right with me.  It is typically reductionist and by no means does it typically speak for everyone, especially in the realm of woman’s health. List type writing also tends to focus on the affirmative, by suggesting actionable and simple behavioral modifications that can “make all the difference.” In other words, these articles refer to the real topic but often do not address it head on and absolutely do not examine the topic in enough depth.  That being said, Im going to use the list method in the post below.  In a way, Im choosing the list style because it does grab the reader’s attention. And because this topic is dear to my heart, Im counting on it to serve it's purpose.  I do encourage you to think critically, research and examine information for yourself and always contextualize all articles that you are presented with on the internet, especially when it refers to your psychological, spiritual and physical health. 

4 Reasons Not To Rush Into Assisted Reproductive Therapies

Children conceived using Assisted Reproductive Therapies such as IVF have a greater outcome of premature birth.  The research is not definitive on IVF’s effect on long term cognitive and neurological development and while in continues to be studied, much is still unknown.   A recent study says,  “The chance of poorer perinatal outcomes are found in ART-conceived children, even for singletons. Infertility is one possible reason, but currently the true mechanism remains unknown.”

Post Partum Depression occurs in 1 out of every 7 woman. While PPD can be experienced by anyone, there are cited correlations between PPD and difficult births or children who require extra medical attention and care.  Some studies suggest that the risk of PPD in woman who have undergone IVF is up to 5 times higher. The added stress both financially and on the mother, often exacerbates already exhausted and over taxed systems that are dynamically experiencing hormonal rebalancing. 

Suicide is the second cause of death in woman in the post partum period.  It is often the saddest story you will hear, the one in which a mother of a young child takes her own life.  Post partum depression is very real and while it might not result in the extremes of suicide, woman who suffer from it often suffer silently, even from their doctors and family. 

Hormonal drug dosages, blood panels and treatment plans are based off averages.  Not every constitution and endocrine system responds the same as the “average” person.  Sometimes the underlying physiological cause of infertility can be worsened by standard protocols and while doctors and nurses try their best to be compassionate to each patients experience, some people slip through the cracks or their suffering and concerns are simply not heard.  We do not have clear enough data on the long term outcomes of IVF on health.  The fact that people respond to IVF differently is one of the reasons the outcomes are difficult to measure, as well as the fact that IVF is still a relatively new treatment.

 

 

The phrase “dont stress” is so loaded

The phrase “dont stress” is so loaded.  Its variation, the command “relax” is equally complex.  Ive worked with so many people over the years traumatized by their inability to perform “not stressed” and “relaxed.”  Its actually a mixture of arrogance and laziness or perhaps ignorance, which empowers people in relation to others, to believe that words alone are sufficient to lead someone out of a distressed state into another safe space.  My experience is that the more sensitive the nervous system and endocrine system, the harder it is for that system to downshift.  For many it is better to say nothing or to at least ensure that there is authentic compassion behind the words.  Sometimes even acknowledging the energy silently as opposed to codifying with language proves to be the most powerful.  Sometimes, Ill just sit with someone who is extremely stressed. Say nothing but hold space. For many it is a reminder of a deep maternal nurturing that is not demanding, just present and supportive. 

The Link Between Spirituality & Fertility

After working with fertility clients for over a decade, I've learned that fertility depends on much more than age, hormone levels, or ovulation windows. Much of what is happening in conception is beyond our mental understanding and falls into the realm of the spirit. By using the tools of the spiritual, we can promote and nourish our fertility.

Spiritual techniques- There are a few simple spiritual techniques that help to balance the endocrine system and promote fertility. Meditation, visualization, and prayer have long been used for calling in a child's spirit. Some cultures use mantras or create songs and music that sweetly lull a spirit to earth from the heavens. These techniques bypass the rational mind and acknowledge that there are systems at work outside of one individual's experience. When the emphasis and focus is removed from a person's analytic mind, several things happen: The nervous system relaxes, stress hormones decrease, and positive feel-good neurotransmitters start to calm and regulate our minds and bodies. 

Manifest and reproduce-Limiting belief systems can affect our capacity to manifest and reproduce. But how do you work with a force that hasn't occurred yet like pregnancy? In the current climate of the world, the keys to the sacred are not so obvious. They are hidden in the imaginative and the unseen, the spiritual, if you will. Its messages require developing a meditative and receptive space, so we can have the silence to hear and interpret. 

In a recent conversation I had with a brilliant friend, she mentioned that until the mid-1960s, when you asked a women how many children she wanted to have, her answer would most likely be, "G-d knows." Ask the same question now, and most people have very specific numbers, sex and timing planned far in advance. Much of our modern society and culture is based on rational thought. It's not a bad thing, but sometimes it can limit our capacity to understand factors that are outside of our mental comprehension.

Delve deeper- I ask my clients to explore in mediation the person they feel they will be once they have a child. What will change in their life, relationship, and emotional state? Will they feel more complete? More fulfilled? Happy? We delve into these answers, unconscious and fear-based beliefs. We find a way to clear those thoughts and integrate their future self into their present self. It is literally magic! Once we identify the very thing we are externally looking for, we attract it into our life. And along the way, we create a better understanding of our desire and radiance.

Belief systems- Spiritual and meditative tools can also be defensive and protective of your fertility. The words and belief systems of those around us tend to affect us, especially when those words resonate with our deepest fears. Through mindfulness, we can cultivate an awareness of the people and energy in our lives that feel negative and make us doubt the intuitive knowledge of our body. When a person expresses a strong opinion about her experience within fertility that may be at odds with your current psycho/emotional state, step back, put that opinion in parentheses, and try to understand the context without making it your own. 

Do not take it personally! Do not take it as law or fact no matter how much social authority they have. Observe the reaction it may elicit and put that into parentheses, too. Spiritual liberation often begins with liberation from language. This is a valuable skill to take into the terrain of fertility.

Using your toolbox- Sometimes the process of deciding to have a child, suffering from loss or infertility, or just preparing for pregnancy creates a feeling of isolation and confusion. It can be challenging to turn the experience into an empowered and healthy one. Using tools that help nourish and build receptive energy such as restorative yoga, meditation, and creativity connect you to the spiritual or unseen aspects of life. 

Strengthening this connection provides guidance and clarity when you are faced with challenges. Every challenge we meet in life has the potential to help break us open and promote evolution. Creating a spiritual path within fertility balances the hormonal system and promotes healthy pregnancy.

Originally appeared in Mindbodygreen