For those of us who struggle to conceive, we’ve heard the advice to “just relax” or “go on a vacation.” As if we can control our chances of conceiving by relaxing “harder”, or that relaxing has anything to do with the source of stress.
Well, it turns out it can. Struggling to conceive is a traumatic experience. That’s why 50% of women said that infertility was one of the most upsetting experiences in their life. Further evidence of the impact of stress was recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Research by Professor Greg Anderson of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology confirmed that a population of nerve cells near the base of the brain – the RFRP neurons – become active in stressful situations and then suppress the reproductive system.
You’re probably thinking: “Great, now I feel extra pressure that this is somehow my fault?”
And now the stress about how stressed you are adds to the problem.
As a fertility coach and someone who has walked this path, I can tell you that there is an answer that goes beyond, “just relax.” That’s why we founded Organic Conceptions. We work to help people understand that yes, stress is a factor, but where it’s coming from isn’t always so obvious. And addressing stress is critical not only to your reproductive health but your overall quality of life. Our approach teaches you how to be aware of what is going on at each stage of this journey.
How We Address the Stress Factor
How can we know what you are going through at a given point in this journey? Because we have done the research. Through a multi-year, multi-age study of couples who overcame infertility, we found that 9 tipping points or experiences were universally shared among the participants. To say we know what you are experiencing is an understatement.
How do we help to lessen the load of stressing about stressing? We always like to remind our clients that these experiences are normal. Just knowing that the emotions that you are experiencing are valid can begin to lighten the load.
From Validation to Creation
We also teach people that they don’t need fixing. Our program allows you to see yourself along each stage. We give you the opportunity to change your mindset in a way that shifts your entire experience. We call these three stages: Validate, Relate and Create.
When people begin this journey they are very much in a victim state of mind. In this mode, people tend to think: “This is happening to me.” We gently course correct through our program, and we help you reshape your thinking and realize that you are the architect of your experiences -- you have the power to create and shape your reality.
The Secret Life of Stress
When it comes to stress, remember earlier when I mentioned that the source of stress isn’t always obvious? The secret is stress is not coming from your environment or what’s happening to you. It comes from your thoughts. Your thoughts, feelings, and negative emotions at each step of the journey are the cause of stress. Not the event itself. Take a moment to let that sink in.
We know the thought processes people experience when they’re trying to conceive, and it doesn’t go as planned. We then help you reshape or reframe these thoughts, so the natural result is you become less stressed. It’s a beautiful thing really.
When You’re In-the-know
As head coach for Organic Conceptions, and having struggled to conceive not once but twice, I have an inside scoop on real-life examples of what these stressful thoughts look like.
One perfect example of a stressful thought: “What is wrong with me?” This thought seems innocent enough, but it creates an actual autonomic response in the brain called instinctive elaboration. It’s a chain reaction of feelings, actions, and results that perpetuate more stress. And this all stemmed from that little question that we so innocently asked. Getting to the root of these thoughts is the answer to lowering stress levels. But, it takes being proactive and not dismissing the emotional cues.
We love hearing from our clients about how they achieve different mental shifts and the impact it has, not only during their fertility journey but in other parts of their lives as well.
If you’re ready to think differently about your fertility journey, please reach out- we can help.
By Erin Sherman, Founder & CO-CEO of Organic Conceptions
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