About a month ago I received an email from Kris Carr (if you have not heard of her, you should look her up. Her story is amazing and her outlook on life is inspirational.). In the email she shared this story that a Jazz musician told her years ago. When I read this story, I instantly felt connected to it, as it described the process of working through struggles in life, and for me in particular, my fertility journey.
Here is the musician's story copied word for word from Kris's email:
“Back in Mississippi, on my pappy's farm, there was a deep hole behind the barn. Pappy was fixing to put in a new well come spring, but for years the seasons came and went with no sign of a well. ”
"One day us grandkids noticed that pappy's favorite goat was missing. Well, we practically tore the place apart looking for the darn thing, until we just gave out. 'Must of been snatched up by a coyote,' Pappy said. Little did we know that the darn goat had fallen into the deep hole. At the same time, after listening to my granny's complaints about the dangers of small children tearing around near the hole, my pappy reluctantly agreed to fill it.”
"The next day old man Spencer came over with his John Deere backhoe and proceeded to dump mounds of dirt down the hole and onto the head of Pappy's goat. When the dirt landed, Pappy's goat would shake it off and stamp it down. The more dirt that fell on that creature, the more he would shake it off and stamp it down until finally he shook it off, stamped it down, and rose right out of that hole!"
Now do you think for one minute that the goat said things like: "I'm not good enough to rise, I'm too tired to rise, I'm too fat to rise, I'm too busy to rise?" Or things like, "I'm not smart enough or qualified enough to rise? Or I'll rise tomorrow." Heck no. He probably said, "Holy sh$t, there's dirt on my head! Looks like there's only one way out and that's up." And guess what? I bet it wasn't easy. No way. And I bet he had to summon all his strength and grit. Just like we all do from time to time. That's life. It's not always simple self-care breezy. We are strong and we struggle, there is dark and light, growth and setbacks.
But, no matter what, we always have the potential to rise.
Rise out of our slump. Rise out of our bed. Rise out of our negative thoughts. Rise out of our comfort zone. Rise out of our complaints. Rise out of the fast food drive-thru. Rise out of our wine glass. Get up and rise. Just like Ronny. Just like that resilient goat—we can rise.
Rising is a choice that's one powerful thought away.
When we think of all those around us getting pregnant without struggle, all the doctor's appointments, uncomfortable tests, negative results, thousands of dollars spent, and tears cried, it can feel like mounds of dirt being dumped on us. There are times when it feels like too much and our negative talk or self defeating beliefs kick into full gear. There are times that we want a baby so bad, but our partners say its not worth it after all the emotional ups and downs, all the fights, and at the cost of feeling tension in our relationship. Trying to have a baby when its not happening the way we imagined, can be overwhelming and disheartening.
As the story portrays, or at least what I like to get out of it, is that things may get hard and messy, we may need to take breaks to catch our breath, but if we keep stomping our feet by staying true to ourselves, adapting when needed and being clear on our vision, we will always rise.
Now, this rising may lead to having a child without intervention, it may be having a child through medical help, it may mean adopting, or it may just mean deciding that not having a child is what is best for you and your partner. Either way, you have come out on top through your own process and not just getting burried by what the stats say or your test results. Science can tell us a lot, but it can never tells us everything because it cannot measure the magic of love or the power of intention.
Today, tomorrow, this year, create your vision and make it become reality regardless of who tells you it is impossible. Don't let the backhoe operator control your destiny. They can dump the dirt to knock you down, but they cannot stop the power and effect of your determination. STOMP YOUR FEET and never stop until you say its time!
Lots of love
The first thing most of us do when we hit that wall after a few months of trying to get pregnant, is to research, and then research more, and then research even more. During the first few years of me trying to conceive my first child, I read many books on Fertility. Some were really helpful, others were helpful, but dry, and others, I just could not make it to the end. Here were a few books that I found really helpful and that I often recommend to my students.
1. Fully Fertile by Tami Quinn
This is one of my favorite books for optimizing fertility. It has a great section on yoga for fertility, lots of information on nutrition, and exercises in the back to help with the emotional aspects of infertility. If you want a well-rounded book that covers many different elements on trying to conceive, then this is the book for you.
2. Inconceivable by Julia Indichova
I recently just discovered this gem. It was a quick read that was so uplifting. It is the story of the author’s journey through infertility and how she was able to heal her body through her own intuition and natural remedies. When I was going through my journey, I often believed that I could heal my body regardless of what the Dr’s said. It was so uplifting to read another women’s journey who also believed that she had the ability to change her circumstances. If you have tried the medical route and keep seeing failed results, give this book a read. It may just give you the encouragement you need to start trusting your body to change your circumstances.
3. I Got Pregnant, You Can Too! By Katie Boland
This book is very similar to “Inconceivable” and is referenced in the back of Julia’s book. This was one that I found during my struggles and it helped me power on after a few road bumps. Katie Boland tells her story and how she miraculously got pregnant when all doctors said it was impossible. She is someone who had tried many different holistic and natural remedies, and made the impossible, possible. This book is a good one to help you feel empowered when you are starting to feel beat down.
4. Love Is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky
There was a point in my journey when I realized that trying to have a baby had become a journey that was so filled with fear that love was totally lost. This book came across my fingers at the very right moment (thank you Universe). If you find that you are living month to month and holding your breath on day 27, then this is a book that might help you re-calibrate your thoughts and return back to the sensation of love.
5. Making Babies by by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, LAc
This is another great book with lots of amazing information. It is wrote with both the eastern and western perspectives on fertility. There are many amazing success stories throughout the book that provide great insight and hope to those struggling with fertility issues. As an extra bonus, the book helps you discover from an acupuncture point of view of what kind of body type you may have that could be hindering your fertility as well as suggestions of how to bring your body type into balance. This is a great book and a "must read"!
There are many more books out there and some really great ones. This is just a short list of my personal favorites (however, I could probably still add at least 3 more books to this list). If you have a book that you have read and absolutely loved, I would love to hear about it. I still try to keep myself in the loop, so that I can keep passing on the information to others.
“I am sorry, but there is no chance of you getting pregnant without IVF. You have had too many ectopic pregnancies that it is best we remove your last fallopian tube and just do IVF.”
Those heart crunching words were words my husband and I heard after our 3rd ectopic pregnancy. I already had my left fallopian tube removed after my first ectopic pregnancy and had medical induced abortions with the other two ectopic’s in hopes to save the right fallopian tube (which they said after surgery on the first, was in good condition). When the Dr said this to us, every part of my body screamed NO! My gut knew there had to be other options. Bodies heal themselves every day. We cut our finger, the skin grows back, we break our leg, the bone mends itself, the human body is an amazing structure and miracles happen all the time. My husband walked out feeling disappointed and defeated, I walked out feeling inspired to prove the medical world wrong. Anyone who knows me would testify that when I put my mind to something, nothing will stop me, and that is just what I did.
How, you ask? Lots and lots of positive thinking, and a belief that my body could heal. I tried many natural therapies and I believed that all of it would work, even when the skeptics crossed my path. After my second ectopic pregnancy, I began my research and started to make a plan. I began by evaluating my lifestyle. I was in a job that I was not fully in love with. It was a great job and paid well, but it did not inspire me and I was not passionate about it. In fact it was the complete opposite, I was stressed, I was negative, and I was completely exhausted by 5pm. I loved the people I worked with, but this was not my passion. So, I jumped without a bridge…I quit my job with nothing lined up (thank god for supportive husbands).
I had recently got my yoga teaching certificate and decided that I would try teaching for a while until I either made a go of it or figured out what my next step would be. Yoga had been my guiding light through many difficult times, so I figured that it and meditation would be the start of journey to healing. I adjusted my practice to ensure I was adding healing to my womb, was slowing down, and addressing the emotional body as much as I was addressing the physical.
After my 3rd ectopic pregnancy, I made a strong effort to have a daily meditation practice. Every day I sat for 5-10 minutes and visualized these little janitor men in yellow suits with tiny push brooms scrubbing and scraping out all the built up gunk in my right tube. For the next three months, each day I saw a bit more cleaned away, until the day I went for my HSG test. On that day, before my appointment, I visualized the tube clean and the little men buffing and shinning it to perfection. At my appointment that afternoon the Dr asked me if I was sure that I actually had ectopic pregnancies in my remaining fallopian tube because there was no sign of any trauma or scare tissue. She said that she had never seen that before. (Skipping a head…I got pregnant with my daughter a month later)
My change in attitude and my goal to stay positive were definitely primary factors in me conceiving successfully, but they were not the only things that I did. I did acupuncture Chinese medicine, visceral manipulation and maya abdominal massage. I started opening up and was honest with people close to me about what was going on and that I had lost three babies. I allowed myself to mourn to heal and I always came back to believing that it would happen. I had a great teacher who introduced me to the power of manifestation and ”The Law of Attraction” by Esther Hicks, which I listened to the audiobook in my car for three weeks. If I read something and it seemed far out there, then I would try it (like carrying around a rose quartz rock in my pocket). I did not give up and I did not let any set back change my thinking. I also think it is important to note that I did not let the Dr’s pressure me into procedures I was not ready for. My husband and I made a plan and had a timeline set before we would look at other options like IVF or adoption.
In the end, my determination and belief that it was possible paid off. I had a baby girl shortly after my 3rd ectopic and then two years later had another little girl. I learned from this experience that the body is special and the mind is beyond powerful. If you can believe it enough to feel it in every fiber of your body without any doubt, then it can happen. Trust yourself…trust your body…trust your heart!
The practice of yin yoga is very different from a yang practice. Neither one is better than the other as each brings balances to its opposite. Modern life has a tendency of throwing us off balance in which some of us tend to seek more of one form than the other. It is important not to focus on choosing one type of yoga to provide us optimal health, but rather understanding that a balance of both is what is required to maintain our wellbeing.
In today’s growing yoga community, most yoga classes that are offered are of yang nature. They emphasize lengthening, strengthening and creating flexibility in our muscles. These classes can be great in challenging our bodies as well as challenging our endurance. It is these classes that help us feel satisfied physically as they push us to our edge. They also feed into our ever growing need to be moving, sweating, and meeting challenges – all very yang like activities. Although, these classes are great to stoke our internal fire, also known as our agni, we can sometimes miss the central point of yoga which is to be present in the body and to be connected with the breath so that we can engage deeper into our practice. It is in our yang practice that we can miss out on the opportunity to find acceptance in the stillness and find our balance with rest.
Yin yoga on the other hand, teaches us to find comfort in the stillness. This type of practice to some is considered more restorative because it does not require the vigorous movements that the yang practice entails. Like anything, a Yin practice can be just as challenging and demand as one chooses to makes it, just as a yang practice can be restorative if we choose not to go to our depths. Yin is about reaching our other tissues – our connective tissues, bones, and our fascia that run throughout the whole body. Yin differs from the yang postures in that it requires you to soften the muscles and release tension so that you can go deeper into the body. In order to stretch our colder yin tissues and provide healthy compression in our joints we need the muscles to trust that they are safe and to let go so that the deeper work can be done. It is for this reason that almost all yin postures are done on the ground in seated and reclined positions. The key to Yin work is that each pose must be held for longer periods of time, so the muscles have the opportunity to let go and for our bodies to begin to open in a deeper way. In many ways, a yin practice can be very meditative as we choose to still the body, calm the breath and quiet the mind.
So, Yin Yoga or Yang Yoga? Regardless of which practice you are more drawn to, remember that it is in the nature of both practices to encourage the movement of prana (energy) throughout our entire being as it opens the body to aid in the removal of physical and emotional blockages. Yin cannot exist without Yang as Yang cannot exist without Yin. Like all things in life, we need to find and create balance. Yoga is where yin meets yang and together they create harmony.
Kate teaches a variety of styles from Traditional Hatha and Yin to Specialty Therapeutic classes in fertility, pregnancy and postnatal. She is certified at a RYT-500 and currently is working on completing her Yoga Therapy certification.
What Clients Are Saying
I first met Kate four years ago when we were starting our fertility journey. I was very blessed that, combined with three acupuncture sessions, I was pregnant after the first fertility yoga class with Kate! I continued yoga weekly with her throughout my pregnancy and I ended up stronger at the end than I was before conceiving. Kate was really patient with people of all abilities and I never felt uncomfortable or defeated if I had trouble holding certain poses. During my second pregnancy, I did not practice yoga and I noticed a big difference. I would highly recommend Sacred Spaces. Best of luck on your journey. - S.M.