|"Rendition!" by Suhair Sibai|
Your are not alone. More than half of you reading this piece will have switched off reading the word ‘fertility’. Herein lies the issue.
Fertility is not conception; they are separate. When I’m talking fertility, fertility spans the arc of womanhood – menarche-menstruation-birth-menopause and beyond (Maiden-Mother-Crone) however you look at it. Whether we intend to birth or not, have gone through menopause or not - fertility is the arc of womanhood fullstop. The reverence of being a woman is to look at our whole, not a fragmented storyline which neatly fits into the language of Western medicine.
The silence is through our conditioning. It starts and ends with you. We can change this now. “We can change the World in one generation,” The Girl God. I’m not into the blame game, but more into pulling this out by the root and restoring inherent holistic health.
When we ourselves compartmentalise womanhood into easy chunks we take away the innate grace and harmony in the chaos. Life is messy but there is a natural flow if we allow.
As a starting point this article details three main ways we may unconsciously be silencing our fertility and how we can reclaim back the arc of womanhood. It doesn’t hold all the answers, just suggestions, as your answer is as unique as you are an individual.
#1 Menstrual Pain as a Modern Rite of Passage. This is complete myth. Pain is a messenger of dis-ease. Unfortunately many a modern woman has become so far removed from her natural rhythm that irregular cycles, menstrual pain and heavy bleeding have become acceptable signs of a ‘natural’ period (menstrual cycle) but this should not be so.
We have lost our way.
It is not normal to have pain and misery when you have your menstrual cycle, this is your body telling you that something is wrong.
Some pain and cramping is acceptable e.g. pain approximately two weeks before your period could be ovulation pain (the egg being released which is called Mittelschmerz) and also some cramping is acceptable as the walls of your womb contract to allow blood to be released (due to the presence of prostaglandins (fatty acids). Excessive, frequent pain, the presence of blood clots or smelly discharge are signs of disease and you should go and seek the advice of your Health Practitioner.
In addition, many modern women use invasive gadgets such as tampons, IUDs, condoms and the like that we insert into our bodies, sometimes without a thought as to what chemicals are leaching into our system and affecting our hormones for convenience or we need the pain to cease - and quick. I say this not to judge, but to observe – there is a difference. This has been both my personal and professional experience.
#2 The Child Choice. The conscious decision to have or not have children; to live child-free. I am not talking about childlessness as defined as childless by circumstance. The choice to be child-free is being discussed more openly, it needs to be. It’s a contentious issue perhaps because for centuries women’s whole being was centred around having children. This one point alone could ignite a whole conversation.
As someone who helps women and couples trying to conceive I am concerned that because we’re not openly sharing about our life choices as women we are affecting all facets of our life. I wholeheartedly believe in respecting each other’s choice. But are we inadvertently taking our own choices away by misinformation. For example we’re told if we begin our family over 35 we need to be concerned, sparking decisions to freeze eggs or undergo IVF, perhaps prematurely. Yes, age is an issue as general health declines as we get older but we could be perpetuating the perceived problems we are trying to avoid by this kind of ‘pregnancy panic’. As Dr. Michel Odent says ‘If you exclude the well-known risks there is no spectacular difference in women who have children later; they have just as good a chance of having a healthy baby.’
Consider this, what if a couple were child-free based on misleading information. It’s about being realistic, making decisions based on truth and unfortunately in terms of getting pregnant there’s a lot of incorrect information out there.
#3 The 12 week wait. For most, getting pregnant is one of the most poignant of life experiences, a time to celebrate starting or adding to a family, yet most of us wait for 12 weeks to tell those close to us.
We do this in case something goes wrong – but what other area of life do we do this? What other celebratory time in our life do we delay telling those we love ‘in case something goes wrong!’ And, yes I do understand the reasoning why we keep quiet but isn’t life about supporting our loved one’s when they need. Personally I would want those close to me to know if I did miscarry and when I need time to grieve, if it’s a secret how can I and they, honour that?
As a Natural Fertility Expert I see many couples struggle emotionally because they haven’t acknowledged this part of their fertility journey (this includes abortion or unsuccessful try via assisted reproduction technique (A.R.T.) such as IVF). I truly believe in celebrating the whole journey to parenthood and that the path there needs to be as joyful as holding your newborn.
We’re cutting off life when we are not acknowledging a huge part of life – its impermanence.
We continue silence by keeping silent. Dis-ease is relieved when we share, it’s comforting when we realize we’re not alone, there is some solace. The more we openly share about our triumphs and struggle as women we ease the way for our growth as unique human beings aligned with our gifts.
Suggestions to bring voice, and ultimate choice to our fertility journey:
Begin with our young and younger selves and take the onous off of puberty and sex education as just mere biological function and pregnancy prevention but more on fertility preservation. How to embrace the whole experience of womanhood and what that means. Allowing our young adults to seek discernment and more informed choice when needed.
As adults let’s reconnect through sharing with ourselves and others (our inner and outer worlds) in whatever way is comfortable). Our village/our tribe can be wherever we are and connecting with others wherever they are – mentally and physically – online or offline.
Create a regular, open and safe non-judgemental space for healthy dialogue. When we honour places where we are in the process of healing or have healed, it opens the way for others. We unknowingly become a compass to another. The seemingly chaotic appearance in the midst of our own healing can be a light that guides another. Its in sharing our own chaos that growth can be welcomed through the door, not only for us but for others we may never meet.
Men also have a part to play. If the men in our lives understood the arc of womanhood they could empathise. Most things in life that are ridiculed are because there is a lack of understanding. And misunderstanding comes from ignorance or shame via taboo, the fact is our men-folk need to comprehend womanhood to support those around them.
“Want to change the World in one generation?” In terms of fertility I believe we can and in the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire World at once but of stretching out to mend the part of the World that is within our reach”
Each and every woman has within herself, literally the chance to embrace fertility. Whether we intend to birth or not, have gone through menopause or not - fertility is the arc of womanhood fullstop.
Lorraine Ferrier is a dynamic Natural Fertility Expert and creator of the Fertility Joy Program –to make your baby dreams a reality. So, if you want to conceive naturally or have had trouble conceiving in the past you can connect with your Fertility Joy here www.lorraineferrier.com
And in the spirit of not being alone...why not apply for a FREE ‘Fertility Joy Breakthrough Call’ just email Lorraine direct at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: ‘The Girl God: I Want Fertility Joy!’ and she will send you a short application form.
This post was written as part of the 2015 National Infertility Awareness Week Bloggers Unite Challenge ‘Your Are Not Alone’. Find out more here http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/ (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)