She sat down in my office as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders. In a quiet tone of voice, she began our session “we’ve been trying for almost 6 years now. I don’t know how much I’ve got left to keep going. Our marriage is strained, our financial reserves depleted and I feel so angry with my body, it feels like it keeps letting me down. At the same time I can’t stop myself from hoping to find a way to have a healthy pregnancy and hold this baby I’ve been dreaming about for all these years.”
Over the years of supporting women between 35 and 48 years of age on their fertility journey what I’ve observed to be the strongest contributing factor that interrupts their ability to trust their body to conceive a baby are often unresolved family issues. Unspoken resentments, long held hurt feelings or an estrangement within the family can all contribute to an underlying stress within the body that act like a slow leak in a tire. Unresolved issues within our family or our marriage show up just like that slow leak in the most essential areas of our lives.
With all the fertility clients I’ve worked with the pain of being ready to welcome a child and yet continuing to feel like it’s just out of reach creates an urgency in the body that until calmed may unintentionally stand in the way of conception. Considering the emotional aspects of preparing your body to welcome your baby can be the missing link to all that you are currently doing.
The common belief is that your fertility has a steep decline after 35 years of age, yet so many other factors come into play. “One in 28 babies are born to women over 40 and yet women are told that you only have a 5% chance of getting pregnant when you’re over 40. Emma Cannon, author of Fertile, questions where these statistics are really coming from.
Often the urgency within the body on this fertility journey can override anything else. With all the things women think they ‘should’ be doing, they soon find they are living life run by appointments, overwhelming stress and scheduled sexual encounters. Many couples find that sex becomes more like a to-do than a source of pleasure or connection. Finding your way back to each other, back to a joyful exchange can be a powerful shift in welcoming your baby or expanding your family.
As the body ages, the more important our lifestyle choice become. It’s not a surprise to any of us that the body’s natural resilience declines with each passing year. We can take an active role in protecting our well being with more than simply the foods we choose, the water we drink or the exercise we engage in. Resolving family relationships, sourcing the courage to have the important conversations and taking steps to resolve what has been left unsaid are often overlooked yet essential pieces to the fertility puzzle.
While much of my focus with my clients is on creating greater connection in your most important relationships, I share other effective options for boosting the odds in my client’s favor. I also recommend whole foods everyday, stress reduction and implementing daily self care practice. Instead of thinking about your healthy lifestyle improvements as a special diet or completing a meditation class it’s much more beneficial to know that you are nourishing your body to prepare to welcome your baby.
I often share with my clients the importance of ‘widening the landing strip for your baby’. Many of the efforts towards fertility can be geared toward physical support, I’ve found the missing link can be including the emotional and relational aspects of a well balanced lifestyle.