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Putting the OM in Infertility
A blog by Amira Posner, Healing Infertility, June 9, 2016
In my mind body fertility group last Wednesday, I recalled an event that happened to me when I was seeking fertility treatment six years ago. To make a long story short, I fainted during a follow up appointment with my fertility doctor. I had no known health issues, aside from dealing with secondary infertility. I ate breakfast that morning, took my vitamins as usual and my blood pressure that day was fine. When I look back, I can now chuckle at myself and use the story for learning and sharing, but at the time, I am quite certain that it was the anxiety and stress I was experiencing that caused me to feel dizzy, nauseated and pass out.
My follow up appointment that day was about the sonohysterography procedure I had done a week prior. My results were not normal and that meeting with the doctor was for the purpose of his trying to explain to me what my results were and the options available to me. Before I could ask any questions, I was being helped off the floor by the support staff. The nurses were bringing me water and candy. The fertility doctor lost me at the words "arcuate uterus." I have a what???
I left the fertility clinic that day in a taxi without any of my questions answered. My fertility doctor was now concerned about my mental health. Insult to injury was what I kept telling myself; perhaps I did have mental health issues. Anxiety and stress!!!
For women and their partners, infertility challenges and stress tend to hold hands. In some of the fertility literature, a diagnosis of infertility has been compared to a diagnosis of cancer. 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility, and many of these couples also experience the emotional upheaval that may makes them feel like they want to pass out, just as I did. It was my own experience with secondary infertility that caused me to seek out a better way and eventually help others unlock the tight grip between stress and infertility.
Putting the OM in infertility means widening our perspective just enough so that we can connect to something deeper and more powerful, something that already exists inside of us. One of OM's many definitions means “ mother of the seed mantra." OM is popular for its vibration and the way it makes us feel when we say or chant it. OM can be considered a meditative technique that focuses the mind and calms the nervous system. When we chant OM, we are consciously aligning our mind, body and spirit. If we can shift the way we perceive ourselves and our experience through integrating OM, literally or figuratively, we are opening ourselves to a mind body and spiritual perspective. When we do this, infertility becomes a bridge to something much greater. As our attention moves to cultivate a deeper part of ourself, anxiety and stress can be released. We can learn to breathe and move through this experience differently.
A growing number of women are turning to mindfulness and meditation techniques to help them de-stress, relax and move through the infertility experience with more ease. Ali Domar is the pioneer behind the mind body approach to dealing with infertility. Her cutting edge research has focused on the relationship between stress and infertility. Ali Domar began her research in 1987, studying the impact of psychological stress on fertility. She was the entrepreneur behind developing new mind body techniques to combat infertility related stress. Now, in 2015, the holistic model of integrating a mind body perspective in a fertility treatment plan is more main stream. Many fertility clinics offer yoga classes and mindfulness support groups to help women alter the way their bodies respond to stress.
The infertility experience does not need to be so anxiety filled and stressful. There are alternative ways to deal with the emotional stress as it rises and falls during fertility treatment. Integrating a mind body and spiritual perspective helps focus our attention in a positive way and also addresses our emotional responses in a situation that is very much out of our control. I know from first hand experience the benefits of the mind body approach. I was blessed to have discovered this method and and have it work so successfully. I have seen this same result in other women and am confident in saying this can be a very useful tool for women who suffer from infertility, and the stress and anxiety that comes with it.