As a fertility coach, my mission is to help my clients prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for parenthood. Having been on the fertility journey myself, I know that it’s a road fraught with unexpected twists and turns, bumps and bobbles, and some people never reach the final destination of having a healthy baby.
Since beginning to write for B-Method a few months ago, I’ve largely focused this space on the physical aspects of reclaiming your fertility. Things like cleaning up your diet. Getting more sleep. Taking vitamins. Moving your body through exercise. These were all areas where I made improvements in my life during my fertility journey, and as you know, my journey did end with a healthy baby. These areas are all extremely important to making sure you’re in the best possible physical shape for the demands of trying to conceive, and for undergoing fertility treatment (if you are doing that).
I’m going to keep addressing those areas, because they are really important.
I’m also going to talk more about the non-physical side of enduring this journey. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is just as important while trying to conceive, because it’s a huge part of managing your overall wellness.
What is wellness?
According to the World Health Organization, wellness is “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Simply put, being well is more than just not being sick. It’s a process of becoming aware of what you need, on all levels, to live a healthy and fulfilling life. It’s about change and growth, to help put you on the path to being the person you’re meant to be.
With or without a baby.
Of course, I sincerely hope with all my heart that you have the baby.
Last week I talked with you about managing stress on your fertility journey. Stress management is integral to achieving wellness. But it’s just one wellness strategy.
Other wellness strategies are things like finding a spiritual system that resonates with you, working on your relationship with your partner, cultivating strong, healthy relationships with other important people in your life like friends and family members, practicing gratitude for the bounty in your life every day, or serving your community.
These are all things that I addressed during my fertility journey as well. And things that I continue to work on because the path isn’t linear. You don’t all of a sudden master them and then not have to work on them anymore.
It’s also not a matter of, you do it “right” and then all of a sudden you’re rewarded with the baby. Lots of people have babies every day who don’t seem to deserve it. And lots of other people seem to be living a solid life and aren’t able to create their families.
I can’t tell you how many times I, during my fertility journey, asked God why he was punishing me for not giving me the family of my dreams when I felt I had lived a good, solid life and made sound decisions, but in the fertility area, I was being short-changed and punished.
Eating clean and doing yoga and taking vitamins and sleeping better and all the things I talk about here in B-Method definitely helped me get healthier, physically. But it did more than that. It also helped me to create the space to look within and chart my path to wellness. And I believe charting that path, and living it each day, helped me conceive my son.
Once I stopped looking around me at other people, and ceased with the “woe is me” thinking, and began focusing inward, I noticed a shift. I began feeling happier, and it wasn’t forced happiness, it was real. I felt better on the inside and the outside. This helped me cope on fertility path when times were hard (which was often).
It’s not easy to get in touch with yourself in this way. And, unlike improving your physical body, there’s no one “right” way to manage your overall wellness. It’s not so cut and dried as, for example, following a 5-step plan to lose weight. It takes a lot of introspection and self-exploration to find what really works for you.
It also takes courage, strength, and perseverance, and it’s not without some pain along the way, but it’s well worth it because it allows you to live a life of authenticity. That’s the place from where true happiness comes.
Even though I now have the baby, I’m still working on being well. It’s not easy. Some areas I really struggle with, like my relationships with friends and family. I tend to close myself off and not reach out enough to others when I need help. I’m also hyper-sensitive and get upset easily. It’s caused lots of misunderstandings in my friendships over the years. As such I often feel isolated and lonely, which is definitely not good for wellness.
I’m excited to delve more into how our mental and emotional well-being can help us on our fertility path, and be happier people in general. I’d also love to hear your thoughts about these topics, how you’re charting your own path to wellness, and how I can help you.
[Originally posted at B Fit, B Fertile on 7/14/16]