This article was written by Angela Le as part of a series for Beauty and Well Being.
Welcome to the final post of the energy and light fertility series. Today I am going to share the story of a patient who I’ve been working with for a few years. The transformation that she has gone through has been life changing to say the least, and I am excited to share her journey, and accomplishments, with everyone.
Anita’s story starts off as many do – she found love a little later in life, and she and her husband started trying to have a baby when she was 34. Anita had no problem conceiving, but had a difficult time maintaining a healthy pregnancy. She experienced several early miscarriages that left her physically and emotionally drained. Each required at least six months of recovery time before she could start trying to conceive again. In part because of her age, Anita was feeling both the deep sadness of the miscarriages and the pressure of needing to conceive quickly, even if her body hadn’t completely healed.
By the time she came to see me, Anita had suffered through four miscarriages. Her last one, she experienced a traumatic hemorrhage after an incomplete D&C. At that point, she was considering IVF in order to genetically test the embryos. She had been told that one more D&C could potentially damage her uterus in dangerous and irreversible ways. Anita was despondent – she had already been through so much pain and loss, an experience that she and her husband were suffering through alone. Feeling like she had no other choice if she wanted to have a family, Anita made the decision to move forward with IVF at age 39.
She was disconnected enough from her body to soldier on through the hectic routine of medical appointments and hormone injections, on top of a demanding work life.
Right away, Anita experienced the physical and emotional demands of infertility treatments – an intense combination that can easily knock more sensitive women on their backs. She was disconnected enough from her body to soldier on through the hectic routine of medical appointments and hormone injections, on top of a demanding work life. Despite this, her need for a baby and fear of dying without being a mother kept her going. The drugs, hormones and exorbitant costs of fertility treatments in New York City only increased her anxiety and irritability.
After three back to back IVF cycles, she had only one genetically normal embryo. Anita transferred the embryo and sadly, it did not result in a pregnancy. She was emotionally devastated, and physically her body was at the toxic limit. A particularly difficult moment was when she felt the finality, the deep realization she could not pursue any further medical treatment. What she didn’t yet know was that while that window was closing, another was about to open for her, one that would be rewarding in ways she couldn’t quite imagine while in the throes of fertility treatments.
The work we did together in the treatment room each week created space for her to consider doing something as extreme as a ten-day silent meditation retreat.
Anita and I had been working together throughout her fertility struggles. Initially, we started at the physical level – we tackled her diet and lifestyle, discovering together that she had major gut issues, including parasites that had been undiagnosed by her doctors. Afterwards, we moved on to emotional aspects – her current relationship with her husband, past issues stemming from nuclear family dynamics, and, most importantly, her relationship with herself. The work we did together in the treatment room each week created space for her to consider doing something as extreme as a ten-day silent meditation retreat. I knew she needed to take a break from everything to focus on herself, and the retreat felt like a good opportunity for her to put into practice the concepts of stillness and surrender that we had discussed in our weekly treatments.
Meditation re-acquainted her with the beauty of life, and how each day is a gift. She felt alive again, for the first time in a long time.
During the first few days of the silent retreat, Anita struggled. This was one of the first times she was truly by herself – no husband, job, city or fertility treatments to be engaged with or distracted by. However, after the initial resistance, a deep sense of peace followed as she simply sat with herself in silence. Over the course of the retreat, she discovered that infertility was much more complicated than not getting pregnant, it was connected to other deeper issues – a toxic relationship with herself and unresolved childhood trauma. She needed to release these before she could let go of the all-consuming need to have a baby. Meditation re-acquainted her with the beauty of life, and how each day is a gift. She felt alive again, for the first time in a long time.
Slowly but surely, the burning need for a baby became an acceptance of reality as it was, and an appreciation for the beauty that was already present in her life – her loving husband, her wonderful family, and fulfilling career. She understood that her desperate need for a baby was her attempt to fill a hole in her heart (one she hadn’t even realized existed before looking within herself). Once she surrendered, she found peace and understood that a baby wouldn’t fill that hole – only she could do that, by going within and getting to know the true Anita.
There are so many women out there right now going through similar situations without any support or guidance.
As a fertility expert, it’s always so surprising to me how little inspiration and support is out there. While Anita might not be triggered anymore, it took a ten-day silent retreat and working with me for years before she could achieve that peace. There are so many women out there right now going through similar situations without any support or guidance. Anita was able to heal her deeper wounds and came to realize a stronger sense of self through surrender, but that isn’t available for a lot of women who need it now. This is a process that takes not only a guide, but also a deep commitment to oneself. Anita was only able to truly let go of her need to have a baby after she gave herself a precious gift – the recognition that she was what she had been looking for.
Anita’s advice for women reading this is to remember what a gift life is while trying to conceive. She encourages women to really stop and consider why they want to be a mother, instead of choosing to have a baby because they think it will save their marriage or give them a purpose in life. Anita realized that happiness comes from within, and wants women to know that you can be happy, and totally fulfilled, without children.
If we take the opportunity that infertility presents to us, we can never fail. With the right support and guidance, every woman experiencing the pain of infertility can discover a true source of peace and happiness within.