{Using Mind-body Fertility practices is a relatively new concept. We have spent the last few decades most concerned about the physiological side of infertility but now we are discovering that the emotional health of the TTC couple is equally as important as hormone balance, sperm/egg quality and health of lining. I connected with Amira Posner, the Counsellor that runs the Mind-Body for Infertility groups at Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Special thanks to Amira for writing this guest blog post!}

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“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor Frankl

Infertility is the ultimate mind-body experience. Above and beyond the physical impact infertility causes, the mental turmoil, including stress, anxiety and uncertainty, can often feel like an equally heavy burden. If the journey goes on for a long time, the mind and body can begin to feel medicalized, disconnected and functioning on high alert, in fight and flight mode.

Integrating a mind-body approach can help ease the emotional and physical stress associated with infertility, making the process, a little bit easier.  In addition to activating the body’s natural relaxation hormones, a mind-body approach helps to focus our attention in a positive and productive way.

A mind-body approach harnesses the idea that the mind and body are not separate, but work together as one. What happens in the body impacts the mind and similarly, what’s going on in the mind can play a role in influencing the body. A mind-body approach  integrates the breath and the body, in order to feel grounded and more connected to the present moment.

Using a mind-body approach requires effort, practice and patience as it changes our existing thoughts, beliefs and even our physiological responses. Otherwise known as our “default state” or “on autopilot”. When we function on default and autopilot, we are more susceptible to playing out our automated thoughts and reactions.

 

Integrating a daily mind-body practice can help with the the ups and down that come with fertility treatment. With daily practice, it is possible to alter the way the mind and body respond to stress.   Studies have shown that women who participate in a mind-body group conceive faster and self-report feeling better.

I get to see these results first hand from the participants who graduate the Mind-Body Fertility Group that I facilitate. The participants report feeling more at ease with fertility treatments. They also report a better relationship with themselves and their overall fertility experience.

The mind-body tools that are explored in the six week Mind-Body Fertility Group are Mindfulness meditation, cognitive restructuring, the relaxation response, fertility yoga and hypnotherapy. In each session, we learn how to use the technique and how to integrate the tool into day to day life. By the end of the six weeks, participants have a daily routine of mind-body practices that help them to “let go” of the struggle and shift the way they experience infertility.

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ABOUT AMIRA POSNER
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Amira Posner is a fertility counsellor. She works with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. Amira facilitates the Mind-Body Fertility Group in Toronto, Ontario. She is also a mother of three miracles. For more information, visit 
Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.

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