Mind-Body Health

Infertility: How Your Beliefs Affect Your Body

Infertility: How Your Beliefs Affect Your Body
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you may be experiencing frustration, disheartenment, and anxiety, running the gambit of emotion from “I need to be a mother” to “It’s never going to happen.” It’s an emotional time and you may even feel like a failure. You may be thinking, “Why can my best friend, my sister, and everyone on the planet have a baby, and I can’t? I should be pregnant by now.”

I hear this and other beliefs all the time in my holistic fertility practice—where smart, driven women have no idea that these beliefs (that aren’t actually true) are tanking their fertility juju.

Become Aware of Your Beliefs

So what is a belief? A belief is a thought we think over and over until it feels true. It can rule what we do and how/if we accept things into our life. Our brain (ego) will hang on for dear life to these beliefs because:

    1. It wants to be right.
    2. It wants to keep you alive.
The body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered in the amygdalae of the brain and the adrenals. When your body senses a threat, the brain can literally put the kibosh on the functioning of your endocrine system and your lady parts. It means well, this brain of ours—and it was super helpful when we were being chased by wolves—but not so much when we’re trying to conceive.

Many of these beliefs that we are carrying around we either think we’ve dealt with or we just have no clue they’re even there. They’re like elevator music you don’t realize is even playing until you pay attention to it. These sneaky beliefs can be so damaging and most of us have no clue. It’s so important to become aware of these beliefs because we as humans can spend weeks, months, or even years spinning our wheels in the energy of “I should be” or “It shouldn’t be.” It takes so much energy to stay in that place of constriction, worry, and disappointment. It’s exhausting. It’s also not sending you forward to what you want.

“I should be pregnant by now.”

Anytime we think something "should be" or "shouldn't be" other than what it IS, it’s not true. And man, that’s a tough pill to swallow. That’s actually where most of us keep ourselves stuck—the anger and the frustration that something is happening in a way other than what we expected or wanted.

Being in "What Is"

When you’re in what is, you aren’t stressed about the situation. You’re only stressed when you think your situation should be something other than what it is. It just means that you’re being present and accepting the situation as it is, so that you can then take steps forward. By no means does “what is” mean that by accepting the situation, you’re allowing yourself to be run over or mauled by life.

However, "what is" can still suck—you don’t have to be happy about it, but when you start from that neutral place of “Ok, here’s what is, I’m not thrilled about it. Over here is what I’d love, so what steps can I take to get there?” that’s a much calmer, in-charge-of-your-life feeling than thinking, “But it should be this way, it should be! I don’t understand why it’s not because I should be pregnant by now."

Being in that state for a long period of time is draining, not to mention it’s a ton of energy that can’t move forward. So often we aren’t even aware that this is running in the background and affecting us. It’s like having too many apps open on your phone—your battery drains so much faster. And then your phone can’t do what you need it to do for as long as you need it to. All you need is a little bit of awareness, “I need to shut these down so that my phone can function better.”

You can do the same with your body. Your thoughts affect your physical body, so when we clean up our thoughts, our bodies can function better.

Exercises for Examining Your Beliefs

The fact is, if the situation should be different, it wouldbe. If it shouldn't have happened, it wouldn’t have. So can you go into this in almost an exploratory, experimental, petri-dish kind of way and say, “Huh. I think I should be pregnant by now. But if I should have been pregnant by now, I would have been. So what are some reasons why it maybe wasn’t the right time up until now?”

Try this exercise: Brainstorm a list of why it hasn’t been the right time before now. For example:

    • Did you move?
    • Did you change jobs?
    • Is your job really stressful?
    • Were you or your partner out of work for a period of time?
    • Were you grieving a death in the family?
    • Was your relationship solid?
I guarantee there’s one or more reasons. And make sure you write them down. There’s something that clicks for the brain when you write it, and then look at it. Like, “Oh, no wonder! That timing would have been really stressful.” It can also make you realize you’re not a failure. You will also be a little more in control of your process once you realize you can get out of your own way when you examine these beliefs.

Now try writing a list of why now is the right time. For example:

    • Your relationship is better than ever
    • You are financially stable
    • You bought a house with enough room
    • Your job is less demanding than it used to be
If you have trouble doing this, maybe it brings to light some things you want to adjust. If things aren’t happening when you think they “should,” see if you can inquire why. It will move your energy way faster than wishing it were other than it is.

One of my clients was spinning in this belief big time. She had been trying for three years and was feeling like a failure. But when she did this exercise she realized that in those three years they had bought a house, her and her husband each changed jobs twice, she was working in a toxic work environment, and had severe anxiety attacks. Not so conducive to baby baking. After seeing that on paper, her brain calmed down and she realized she shouldn't have been pregnant then. Then she did her list of why now is a great time. And it worked. She gave birth to twin boys!

The fertility process can be very overwhelming, but there are things we can do to take charge of it and feel better. Know that you can do this, and I wish you the best on your journey.