My friend, who was destined for IVF, found it really weird lying in bed at night next to her husband with me whispering in her ear, thankfully she got used to it.
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’ is the old-time children’s rhyme. How wrong it can be! Words can be incredible powerful, they can uplight or destroy people. I am not just talking about name calling either. Language is so powerful the slightest word can make a huge difference to how our mind experiences what is said (and thought – thought is just a conversation with ourselves, still made up of words). This is one of the reasons why hypnosis uses very subtle forms of language.
For example if you think about the things you tell yourself you should be doing but never get round to whether starting a new health kick, doing more exercise, tacking the pile of household paperwork building up. You have probably been telling yourself you ‘should’ do x, y or z. Now take say to yourself ‘I choose to do ….’ and notice the difference in how it feels.
Industries tend to come with a language of it’s own without much thought of the impact of the words used. For example. Childbirth. Bear with me, I know it is not a subject you particularly want to discuss, however it is hopefully something you are going to experience at some point in the future. The common words associated with childbirth are ‘labour’, ‘contraction’ and ‘push’. What images/experiences come to mind when you think of those? When your mind hears those words your muscles automatically tense up – not conducive for a smooth, as pain-as-free-as-possible birth. Our whole culture and vocabulary create an expectation of pain. A lot of cultures around the world have pain-free child births because they don’t have the language or expectation we do. I know right now you would cut of your right arm to experience childbirth however painful it may be, I can appreciate that I have been there.
The same is true for fertility. How many of you have been labelled (or labelled yourself) as ‘infertile’? Look it up in the dictionary and you will probably see the words ‘sterile’, ‘barren’. That’s pretty black and white and bleak. Subconsciously you may be taking in that black and white definition when you associate yourself with being ‘infertile’, or having ‘infertility’.
Fertility is rarely as black and white like that, it is an art as well as a science. We were told it was one in a million chance of us getting pregnant naturally and even IVF wasn’t a viable option would have to be ICSI and even then the clinic were not too optimistic. We conceived naturally.
The same goes with the term ‘failed’ IVF. How many of you have had a ‘failed’ IVF cycle? There are many steps in the IVF process and usually your body succeeds in some of them. It is rarely a non-starter. One of my clients came to me after 3 ‘failed’ IVF cycles. When we talked it through it turns out her body had harvested a good number of healthy eggs, the embryos were good quality, for whatever reason they didn’t take and produce a live pregnancy. So her body had succeeded in may of the steps, it just needed some assistance in the final step – which it did successfully in the 4th IVF cycle.
Some of our closest friends have been struggling to conceive for many years. I had offered to work with her for many years but we are close friends so I can understand she didn’t want to confuse boundaries. In the end I gave her one of my fertility hypnosis CDs and said she could choose to listen or not. After getting over the weirdness of having me talking in her ear at night (on the CD!) she began to love listening and was pregnant within four weeks, just ahead of starting their first IVF cycle. Sadly she had a miscarriage a couple of weeks later. As we talked in the midst of their grief she could begin to see the positive signs that she is not ‘infertile’, her body is waking up to what it needs to do, she is beginning to believe it is possible and her internal talk (language) around her fertility is changing.
There are native traditional cultures around the world who’s fertility rate far surpasses the typical American or British fertility, these are cultures where they don’t have the same expectation and language that we do and giving birth well in to their late 40’s is not unusual.
So, what labels have you been given, or do you give yourself that perhaps it is time to let go of?