focus on fertility: introduction

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading the book Fully Fertile, by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller, and Jeanie Lee Bussell. Because our first insemination will take place during the month of July, we are about four months away. This week, I’m going to start going through the exercises in the book, and will update this blog with my progress. Before I get started though, I wanted to write a bit about why a woman who has never even tried to get pregnant thinks that a book about infertility will be so useful.

I work in an extraordinarily high-stress environment. Last summer, when we got married, this high-stress job had an extremely negative impact on my ability to enjoy my own wedding. I started this particular job about 13 months ago, so when I was in the run up to the wedding, I was still relatively new, and had a difficult time (still do, in fact, have a difficult time) creating boundaries between my work and the rest of my life. Add to that the fact that we planned on having our wedding at our home, which required significant work before it would be ready for the event, and my stress reach a level in the weeks before the wedding where all I wanted was for the wedding to be over so that I could rest. With a wedding, a person is able to force her way through this kind of stress, and the wedding day comes and goes whether you are ready for it or not. The first three days of our honeymoon, my wife and I both spent much of the time sleeping. The result of taking on too much and pushing through was that a few weeks after the wedding, I realized that felt like I had missed it.

This process won’t work with respect to getting pregnant and having a baby. You can’t force this kind of thing. Aside from that, I don’t want to. One thing I learned from my wedding is that just because you can do it all, it doesn’t mean you should. Recently, I’ve been very, very stressed. I’ve been snapping at the kids, suffered from insomnia, and had to go for a run at 10pm because of my work stress and dissatisfaction wiht my job. I can’t quit it right now, so I realized that I had to really do something to deal with the stress I am under. That’s where Fully Fertile comes in. Even though I am not struggling with infertility — to my knowledge — I knew I needed a way to get in touch with my body, my mind, my emotions, and just take care of myself during this extremely difficult and stressful time. I’m doing the exercises in the book in the context of planning for a baby, but I am doing them to take care of myself and give myself the support I know I’ll need to make it through the next year-plus at a job I find so stressful and challenging to cope with, while also going through the life-changing process of having a baby.

The Fully Fertile program uses yoga, Oriental Medicine, nutrition, and spiritual practices like meditation to optimize physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and provide support for the conception process. But the posts in this series won’t just focus on what the exercises in the book are — you will need to purchase the book to get that. And I’m not here to sell books. Instead, these posts will be my journey, using the book as a tool, to try to get in touch with my own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health to support myself through a time I know will be challenging. I invite anyone who is going through a similar process to join in.

Because I’m a type-A, driven sort of person, I know that I need to focus my attention somewhere, to avoid becoming a bit obsessive and drive my stress levels even higher if we aren’t able to conceive right away. The exercises will give me a focal point and give me something to work on so that I can prioritize self-care, otherwise managing my health and stress will definitely take a back seat to the ever-growing To Do list.

Lastly, although the Fully Fertile program is designed to be done over the course of 12 weeks, which means I technically would not need to start until mid-April in order to have completed all of the exercises by the time we are ready for our first insemination, I have no illusions that there won’t be hiccups along the way. There may be a super-busy week where I’m not able to do the exercises, or there may be a particular topic that I get stuck on and want to spend more than one week on. To that end, I’ve purposely built in some slippage, to give myself permission to be imperfect in this. It’s very important to me that my stress-reduction plan does not become just another stressor in my already hectic life. So don’t be surprised if you see multiple posts for the same week’s worth of exercises.

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