Guest blog by Dr. Emma Brodzinski, a therapist and fertility coach.
The fertility journey can have you second-guessing yourself at every turn. Clinicians tell you things; your acupuncturist tells you things; your best friend’s cousin’s auntie tells you things. It may all be good information but you have to decide what you are going to act on and what you may want to leave to one side.
There are also so many questions – should I go for another cycle? Should I take a break? Will this ever happen for me? How do you find the answers?
One of the key things I find myself encouraging clients to do is to tune-in to their own inner wisdom. Tuning into your intuition means that you can access a deep sense of knowing and find the peace and clarity that you desire. It’s a cliche but it’s true – the answers really all are within you. As Rumi says:
I have been a seeker and I still am, but I have stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my own soul.
There is no doubt that research is an important aspect of the fertility journey (and I always recommend that people do their homework) but there comes a point when you have to go within and feel your way into a decision rather than looking externally for answers.
So how can you do that?
If you are wondering where to start, here are three ways that you can begin to access your own inner wisdom:
1. Listen to your dreams
Freud said that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious”. Your dreams can bring your deep-held thoughts and feelings into your awareness. I tend to take a Jungian approach to dreams (Jung, Like Freud was a psychoanalyst but look more to the soul’s journey than to repressed desires). Jung suggests that you attend to the feeling that the dream leaves you with. So, if you dream that you are riding the rapids without a paddle but it actually feels exciting and pleasurable rather than scary, listen to that message. Maybe your subconscious is telling you to just ride the waves and enjoy the journey.
Many people worry that they don’t remember their dreams but, again, it may be that you just remember the feeling rather than all the detail of a dream and that can be enough to give you a clue to how you are feeling about a situation. You will also be surprised at what can happen when you set the intention to remember your dreams. So many times I have seen merely this conscious choice open up the doors to recalling all sorts of information.
When life is busy we don’t often take the time to slow down and check-in with our thoughts. Journaling can be a great way to make this space whilst still, remaining ‘active’ Journaling can be done in lots of different ways – fundamentally it is about communicating with yourself so you just need to find what works best for you. Some people like to respond to prompts and there are many journals on the market that come with questions that encourage you to reflect more deeply. For example, if you knew that everything was going to be OK, what would be your next step? Other people like to pose their own questions and then to write in response to them. Others like to ‘free-write’ and just keep the pen moving as they put their thoughts down on paper. But it doesn’t have to just be writing. I often use drawing and images within my journals – much as the same as ‘free-writing’ it can be surprising to see what comes up as I ‘free draw’ or the images I choose when I sit down to create a collage in response to a situation. The activity itself is calming and the resonance of the images can be striking.
Research has proven journaling to be a beneficial activity – in Opening Up by Writing it Down, Dr James Pennebaker documents how a journaling practice can lower depression and anxiety and even strengthen immune cells. You will be surprised at just how wise you are as you answer the questions you pose yourself and creatively respond to the challenges that you are facing. It can be a really affirmative practice and also fun!
3. Attend to the feeling
Julie Von in Spiritual Fertility talks about tuning into feelings of expansion and contraction. In each situation and for every decision ask yourself the question of whether your response feels expansive – so a sense of opening, softness, welcoming – or contraction – closing off, brittle, shutting down. If you feel expansion then it is an indication to move forward whereas contraction is a sign to say no or move away.
It always surprises me how we are much more willing to take the advice of a stranger at a bus stop than we are to listen to our own intuition! Yes, you should always gather the information you need but make sure that it is ultimately you that is in the driving seat as you process the options and come to a decision. The pointers here are places to begin. I do hope that, as you start to explore and listen to your own beautiful self, your fertility journey will be a moment where you come into a deeper communication with yourself.
Dr. Emma Brodzinski is a therapist working from a shamanic perspective. Her own fertility journey was a true ‘dark night of the soul’ and brought her into a new dimension of understanding of what it means to call a child into the world and led her to work with other women to bring their babies home! As well as working one to one and in groups with clients, Emma is currently working on ‘The Magic of Orange Knickers’ a book which details her process for sacralizing the IVF process. You can connect with Emma on Instagram @dremmabrodzinski or via her website www.emmabrodzinski.com