"Grow Eggies Grow!" Finding Empowerment in your Fertility Story
The power went down in Acubalance last week. Which on its own makes for a less than ideal day at the clinic, but what accompanied the power outage was an alarm in the waiting room that beeped every 7 seconds at an irritating pitch and tone. After the first two hours of listening to the incessant chirping in the dark, I quipped sarcastically to my clinical director, “Well, that’s just a lovely sound isn’t it?” In response, he placed his hand on my shoulder, put on his best hypnotherapist voice and cheekily said, “With eeeeeeevery beep, you are going deeeeeeeeper and deeeeeeeper into your subconscious. With eeeeeeevery chirp, you are finding yourself mooooooore and mooooooore relaxed.” He was making a joke, but it got me thinking..this is actually something I do every single day with women who are going through IVF. How do we take a situation that feels negative and rewrite the narrative to hack the brain? And more importantly, why?
A few weeks ago, I had a consultation with K who was just about to start her IVF stim injections. As someone who had struggled with health issues early in life, she was no stranger to hypodermic needles and medical monitoring. The thought of receiving a daily injection to stimulate her follicles to grow brought up unresolved feelings of fear and panic. In short, the anxiety around her injections were putting her mind and body into a state of “fight or flight”. Our nervous system has two modes: the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and the parasympathetic (“feed and breed”). When in “fight or flight”, our body releases a cascade of stress hormones such as noradrenaline and cortisol. These hormones trigger the brain to be on high alert, raises the heart rate and diverts blood flow away from the digestive and reproductive organs. In other words, our bodies are actually designed to not get pregnant when in a state of stress. Contrasted, when we are in a state of “feed and breed”, our bodies release endorphins that relieve pain and induce a sense of happiness. Additionally, our blood flow gets redirected to our digestive system and to our reproductive organs.
This is definitely easier said than done, but shifting the narrative of our stories can be the difference between being in sympathetic vs. parasympathetic mode, stress vs. relaxation, victimhood vs. empowerment. During our appointment, I asked K how she could participate in this story. How she could rewrite her narrative so that she felt empowered rather than defeated about being on IVF meds. She came back for her follow-up visit with the sweetest story. She and her husband had put a veggie garden into their yard a few weeks ago and as she was watering her seedlings, she made the connection that this was what she was doing to her own body with the stim meds. She made a sign that read: “Grow Eggies Grow!” that she and her husband used as their mantra as he gave her the daily injections. Sure, injections are still far from sunshine, rainbows and unicorns for K, but by rewriting her narrative, she was able to work her way out from the weight of the panic and move towards empowerment. Happily, K’s eggies did indeed grow and she is now in her first trimester.
Kathleen Lee MTCM, L.Ac. RTCMP FABORM
How can you rewrite your story? Call Acubalance at (604)379-5418 to book your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.