how meditation helped me to get pregnant

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I never thought I would have trouble getting pregnant.

I remember the first time I took a pregnancy test, it was just shortly after one month of trying. I was so hopeful. To this day, I can still remember the disappointment when I saw the negative result on the test. I recall saying to myself “It takes time, Kate. I’m sure next month, it will be positive.” But, next month came along and it wasn’t positive, and neither were many, many months that followed.

I reckon I must have taken close to 15 pregnancy tests, and with each negative one, something in me started to break. Each month, I started hopeful and ended up disappointed. And I observed as the conversation in my head turned from hopeful to fearful and eventually heartbroken.

When I look back now, I can see how anxious, stressed and obsessed I was about getting pregnant. I had worked myself into such a state.

One morning at work, a colleague announced her pregnancy and her words hit me like a ton of bricks. I ran into the toilets, locked myself into a cubicle and broke into tears. I broke down. I was devastated and more to the point, I was jealous. Because she was pregnant and not me, and on top of that jealousy was the horrible guilt I felt at not being able to be happy for another’s joy.

But something in that jealousy woke me up that day. I realised how stressed I had become and how much wanting to have a baby had become a destructive obsession for the and how it was emotionally tearing me, and my marriage, apart.

Shortly thereafter, I made a decision to stop “trying” so hard to conceive. I threw the ovulation sticks in the bin. I stopped buying pregnancy tests, stopped tracking my cycle religiously, and stopped treating myself like I was broken or failure for not having fallen pregnant already.

In place of all of that, I started taking long walks in the morning where I paid attention to my breath and absorbed my surroundings by being present. Without realising I had become mindful, without even noticing it. And then I learned Vedic Meditation with Kimberley. It was, without realising it at the time, for me, the game changer.

If you can find a stress management tool that not only diminishes your stress responsivity but also re-programs your hormonal production to its natural settings by bringing all systems into harmony and balance, then the barriers to conception will be significantly reduced. That’s exactly what Vedic meditation does. Unlike other fertility treatment options, it is a completely natural and gentle way of boosting fertility. Rather than being yet another thing I had to add to my already long list of medical appointments and things I should follow to fall pregnant, my meditation sessions, twice a day, became my favourite parts of the day – they were my oasis of space, calm and peacefulness during the day.

The process of conceiving can often be quite a harrowing experience. Dealing with possible infertility brings its own stresses, and the challenging nature of the IVF process almost certainly plays a part in the low success rates.  We are all aware of the stressful physical and emotional toll that IVF takes so it is not surprising that depressive symptoms often accompany this process.

Anything stressful is going to inhibit our reproductive functioning further. It’s that simple. If our biology won’t permit it, then that is one thing, but if it is a case of a poorly functioning reproductive system, then there is a good chance meditation can make the difference. As Kimberley advised me, a regular daily practice speeds up the chances of success, as opposed to a more sporadic approach, which means it takes longer to get our reproductive stars in alignment.

Over the course of my life, I’ve observed that every time I have chosen to pause and step back, and paid attention to how my thoughts and my mind are affecting me and my body, and make a conscious effort to practice letting go through meditation, I open up a space within me for whatever it is that I want.

This, I’ve discovered, is a common experience in speaking with women who are on their fertility journey. Whenever they begin a meditation practice, they gradually learn to stop blaming themselves and as that blame and guilt lifts, naturally their stress decreases and their self-compassion and self-love increases. In other words, they look to the positives instead of the negatives and in doing so, they create a healthy space for a baby to grow.

Although there are many varied tools, strategies, and treatments out there to support a woman’s body during this time, there is surprising little about how we, as women, can support our minds. Yet we all know that our mind and body are connected, so we can’t ignore one and expect the other to work efficiently.

Having discovered the important role our emotional health plays in the fertility process, I did my own research into how meditation can help women conceive. What I found opened my eyes even further to why meditation is the tool we are missing in fertility care.

Here’s just a small sample of some of the research on the benefits of meditation for fertility:

Balancing Hormones
Like most of my girlfriends, I thought menstrual symptoms were normal, but it turns out they are usually first indicators of a bigger issue, namely hormone imbalance. Hormonal imbalance can affect important chemical signalling in the body and cause problems with ovulation.

Meditation has been shown to influence hormone centres that can promote hormone balance, which may help conception.[1] Starting a regular meditation practice can help recalibrate your hormones, allowing them to function properly so you can create a healthy environment for a baby to grow.[2]

Reduced Stress
When I was trying to conceive, I tracked my ovulation and menstrual cycle obsessively. This, however, became a vicious cycle or me as I would end up with a negative pregnancy test that would make me even more stressed, anxious and upset until it was time to try again.

Studies have shown time and time again that stress is linked to reduced fertility in both males and females. [3]In one study of 291 women undergoing IVF treatment, it was found that anxiety and depression negatively affected fertility.[4]  Looking back, I can see how much my stress affected me getting pregnant, and I didn’t conceive until I started managing it.

Better Relationships
When my husband and I started trying, we joked about how “fun” it was attempting to make a baby. Unfortunately, that initial excitement was quickly replaced with worry and concern about whether or not we were able to have children and feelings of inadequacy.  We felt disconnected from ourselves and each other at a time when we needed support more than ever. Research shows that mindfulness practices can enhance compassion and kindness [5] and could have saved my husband and I from a lot of arguments and misunderstandings.

More Compassion
I was really hard on myself during my fertility journey. I hated my body for not working properly and I blamed my mind for not being smart enough to figure out the solutions to my infertility. When I started practicing Vedic Meditation, I noticed that I was more gentle with myself, and therefore others. I stopped beating myself up.

Studies back this up with data that shows that meditation is associated with self-compassion and stress management.[6] Knowing now how much meditation has allowed me to have a more positive and compassionate inner dialogue, I can’t help but wonder how much that would have helped during the inevitable ups and downs of trying to conceive.

After diving into all this research, and seeing how meditation has helped so many women through their preparing to conceive process, I have come to the realisation that we are ignoring one key tool when it comes to getting pregnant: meditation for fertility.

It’s my genuine and fervent hope, that in the next few years, when women seek advice from their doctors  searching for tools that can support them with fertility, that meditation be recommended, right along side with ovulation tracking, nutrition, and exercise.

And as for me, I am happy to report that some 10 months after learning Vedic Meditation with Kimberley, I am pregnant and expecting twins! Yes twins! To say we are delighted is an understatement. I am OVER THE MOON! And I know, my meditation practice played a key part in helping me fall pregnant and stay pregnant. And when the babies come, I know my meditation practice will continue to support me and my family as we travel down this new chapter in our lives.

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Post Script

Kate has kindly agreed to receive any questions you may have for her via email. Please email your questions here and Kate will respond to your questions.

If you are interested in learning more about meditation for fertility or falling pregnant, please contact me.

If you’re ready to learn, the dates for my next group course can be found here.

[1] Greene, Robert A., and Laurie Tarkan. Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Pregnant. 334p., 2008. Google Books. Web. 3 Aug. 2016.

[2] Infante, J. R., Torres-Avisbal, M., Pinel, P., Vallejo, J. A., Peran, F., Gonzalez, F., Contreras, P., Pacheco, C., Latre, J.M., Roldan, A. (2001). Catecholamine levels in practitioners of the transcendental meditation technique [abstract]. Physiology & Behavior, 72(1-2), 141-146. doi:10.1016/s0031-9384(00)00386-3.

[3] Whirledge, S., & Cidlowski, J. A. (2010). Glucocorticoids, stress, and fertility [abstract]. Minerva Endocrinologica, 35(2), 109-125. Retrieved August 3, 2016.

[4] Campagne, D. M. (2006). Should fertilization treatment start with reducing stress? Human Reproduction, 21(7), 1651-1658. doi:10.1093/humrep/del078

[5] Marchand, W. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and Zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 18(4), 233-252. doi:10.1097/01.pra.0000416014.53215.86

[6] Hofmann, S. G., Grossman, P., & Hinton, D. E. (2011). Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: Potential for psychological interventions [Abstract]. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(7), 1126-1132. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.07.003

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