One of the world’s greatest philosophers, Marshall McLuhan, once said “I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.”
Could he have been talking about overcoming fertility challenges? Likely not, but even when it comes to infertility, sometimes the only thing standing between you and a successful pregnancy is your mind, according to Karen Stillman, a certified Dreambuilder™ coach with over 12 years’ experience as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.
While running her successful medical practice in the Ottawa Valley, Stillman would often sit and listen to couple’s stories and struggles around becoming pregnant, and frequently the fertility issues were overcome once the woman stopped struggling, she says.
“What if I told you it was easy? Can you allow in your mind that it’s going to be easy?” Stillman says.
“I would tell them, ‘Really, there’s nothing wrong with you. Until I have a test that tells me something’s wrong, I see no reason why you can’t have a baby. I will do the required tests. In the meantime stop doing the LH kits and temperature charts. Have some fun. Enjoy your sex.’ It’s just another layer of stress.”
In many cases, the couple would become pregnant while on the waiting list for the fertility clinic.
Just the pressure of working with tight timelines when using ovulation kits creates stress that leads to a cascade of physiological shifts that impact the fertilization of an egg, Stillman explains.
Add to that the 21st century rat race many people live in and it’s a small wonder that infertility has become a modern day concern, she says.
“When you’re stressed the first thing to shut down is your reproductive system.”
What you think about, and what you talk about, expands, so choose words and thoughts wisely, Stillman stresses.
“What I see commonly in my practice is a huge fear factor,” Stillman says.
The attention tends to be on the all the possible what ifs, rather than leaning into what it is they would really love.
“If you’re fearful, you’re putting attention on all of the things you don’t want in your life, rather than drawing what you would like into your life.
“Where your attention goes is where your energy flows,” she explains.
“We are repetitive thinking people. 95 per cent of our thoughts are repetitive and 85 per cent of thoughts are negative thoughts.”
Considering there’s a large, unexplained category of pregnancy loss or infertility, it makes sense to consider what else is standing in the way of a successful pregnancy, she notes. Twenty-five to 30 per cent of infertility is unexplained. Is it possible that focusing on the problem is the actual root cause of the problem?
Women who have faced fertility challenges often come to believe they are going to have a difficult time becoming pregnant, she says. This is particularly true for women of advanced maternal age because the medical system has set timelines, yet when a women’s reproductive system stops is not an exact science, she says.
Again, if the focus is on inability to conceive due to age, then that is where the energy flows, she says.
Couples also don’t allow themselves realistic timelines, she says, often trying to fit in the birth of a child with how it coincides with maternity leave timelines, school and other factors.
“What’s your end game?” Stillman questions. “To have a baby, a family? Or a timeline?”
Want to have a family? Lean into the dream. Visualize what life is like with a baby. If you and your partner enjoy hiking, have you envisioned hiking with the baby? Or a baby seat on your bike? How about imagining what life is like with a three year old, or a five year old?
“Regardless of what it is you would like to manifest in your life, you have to have a burning desire for it. If you have a lukewarm desire then you have lukewarm results.”
“Lean into the dream of what you would love; lean into the dream of what your life would look like with a child.”