Fertility has been on my mind a lot lately. For one, I’m in the full swing of pregnancy with my first child; a journey that has been challenging, surprising, not how I imagined, and perfect in its meaningful messiness.
Second, a good percentage of my practice involves fertility support for women. I work with them on all of the angles (menstrual cycle regulation, basal body temperature and fertility tracking, Chinese medicine treatments using acupuncture and herbs, dietary counseling, lifestyle and stress management, health coaching ect…).
Despite minor imbalances here and there, these women are all strikingly very healthy, motivated, and accomplished. Yet many of them feel confused and disheartened by their struggle to conceive.
If I’m healthy, why has it been so difficult?
In my opinion the answer points to more than the physical factors of the body alone. I firmly believe the most important ingredients for making a baby include aligning the mind, heart, and spirit. When these realms of our Being are in agreement, the body will follow suit. This has been my personal experience, as well as my professional observation.
Therefore, below is my four-step formula for baby making! These tips are specially crafted for the mind, heart, and spirit. They do not fall into the framework of Chinese medicine directly, but should be considered in addition to all the traditional approaches listed above.
Furthermore, while this article is geared towards women, I don’t want to disregard men. Men struggle with fertility too!
Ok, so what the magic secret already? Answer: growing a health baby requires becoming a fertile garden.
1. Weeding Your Garden
The feminine aspect of conception is all about receptivity. To be able to receive anything, you must have space for it. Therefore, before you can plant your garden, you must first clear the weeds.
In my experience, the most common weed women hold on to is their high expectation of how and when they should get pregnant. Aka: their perfect plan, their specific timeline, and most poignantly – their image.
What will people think of me if I can’t conceive?
They also tend to hold onto toxic beliefs about self-worth, or lack there of… Sometimes women want to have a baby, but are not comfortable with the notion of being a mother. Sometimes there are unresolved issues with their own parents that are taking up lots of space.
One of the biggest weeds crowding out your garden may be resentment: resentment towards your partner, your pregnant best friend, your body, or society in general. This invasive, prickly weed of blame and finger pointing blocks all sunlight and sucks up the nutrients from the soil. Resentment doesn’t leave you with much room for growth.
Weeding your garden requires discipline, sweat, and some elbow grease. It’s not the most fun phase. But it is fundamental. If you skip this step, you will struggle with weeds all throughout your journey. And it will be hard to enjoy your garden when it starts to bloom, because all you’ll see are the unwelcome invaders.
Tips for weeding your garden: Answer these questions: What in my life needs weeding? What am I holding onto that no longer serves me? What belief systems are crowding out new ways of connecting with the world, with myself, and with my partner? What do I need to let go of…? What do I want to make room for….?
2. Building Your Soil
Healthy soil has lots of organic matter and nutrients. It is alive! But paradoxically, this vibrancy is the product of death.
As the old ways of being decay, they lay down nourishing blankets of earth. This fecund muck forms the womb from which new growth sprouts. Bottom line: if the weeds don’t die, you won’t be able to make the soil.
But building the soil also requires adding in some extra goodies to spice things up. Some magic fertilizer to give your soil extra growing powers. I believe the key ingredient here is self-love. When you learn to give yourself the love you want to give your baby, your soil begins to turn a deep, rich color. It begins to smell sweet. It radiates life-giving potential. Self-love is the most crucial nutrient for your garden.
Other yummy ingredients to mix in are sensuality, romance, and playtime. Focusing too hard on tracking your cervical mucus and basal body temperature can really take the spark out of your connection with your partner. Lovemaking becomes homework. And let’s just say, that’s not a party I would like to attend….if I was a baby waiting in the wings.
So I encourage you to relax. It’s great to be mindful of when you are at your peak fertility, but don’t let that over shadow the bigger picture.
Tips for building your soil: Answer these questions: How do I care for myself? How can I treat myself with kindness, affection, and compassion? When am I able to feel sensual? How do I meaningfully connect with my partner? What makes us laugh together? How do we play with each other? What do I love and appreciate most about them? Why do I want to start a family with them? What kind of environment do I want to bring new life into?
3. Planting Your Seed
Now that your soil is ripe and overflowing, it’s time to plant your seed! Here, the secret is realizing you have all you need. You already have the seed. It is not something you need to long for anymore. It is within you.
When you spend all your time pinning over the baby that isn’t coming, you are putting yourself in a place of not-having. A place of scarcity. And according to the Law of Attraction, all you are going to get is more not-having; more scarcity.
But when you begin to feel into the places inside you that nourish life, you get more life. Simple as that. You’re already are a mother. This desire fills your heart, right? So let it radiate out and encompass you. Believe in yourself. You were born with the ability to grow your baby. This is not something you need to learn how to do; you already know it.
And just because you don’t have a physical baby to hold in your arms at this moment, doesn’t mean you aren’t a mother. Your intention is enough. Becoming a mother isn’t like switching on a light. It doesn’t happen at a specific point in time. It is a slow process of inner transformation. Your intention is the seed you have already planted. Congratulations!
Tips for planting your seed: Answer these questions: Where in my body do I feel life moving? What within myself do I love? What is my intention? Speak the answers to these questions in PRESENT TENSE!
4. Letting Your Garden Grow
This last step is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest phase. It is the waiting game. It requires faith…. and lots of patience.
When we look to Mother Nature for guidance, we see that life grows according to its own perfect timeline. Usually it takes a full season for crops to bear fruit. All we can do is continue to tend the garden and support the growth, but we can’t rush it. We shouldn’t rush it. Mother Nature knows best. We need to respect her pacing.
And just as becoming a mother isn’t something that happens over night, growing a baby usually takes a lot longer than nine months. While it’s perfectly normal to feel all the weeds of resentment, frustration, and despair creep in at times, I invite you to keep gardening and know all your efforts are not in vain.
Your mind is learning lessons that will continue to till your soil for years to come. Your heart is a river of love flowing through your garden, watering and nourishing the earth. Your spirit is becoming more resilient with each turn of the season. And all the seeds you’re planting are germinating deep within your body.
Know this, feel into it, and believe you are an abundant, fertile garden. Celebrate yourself in all your life-giving beauty.
Tips for letting your garden grow: Trust yourself. Trust Mother Nature.