I never thought that I would be grateful for being an infertile woman. For the ten years it took for me to finally have resolution, more than struggling with conception, I struggled to survive with my heart, marriage, and life intact. Being infertile has taught me the power of women and community.
If you are still somewhere in your fertility journey, you are probably feeling moments of if not complete insecurity about resolution, and one thing that can add to that insecurity is hearing someone else’s “formula” for how it finally worked for them. It’s hard to remember that if there were one path to the goal, a silver bullet for pregnancy, or a clinic or doctor who could guarantee success, that everyone would know about it and be pregnant already. Your journey is yours alone, but you don’t have to feel so alone on it.
When I started teaching Yoga for Fertility in 2005, it was to be an inspiration for women who were on the path to conception and were seeking community and safe and supportive practices for fertility. I was a success story: My one year of infertility treatments and my two IVF’s seemed at the time an almost insurmountable challenge, but I had a healthy son.
Now I know that teaching also helped heal me and gave me the necessary courage to face the challenges over the next five years it took to complete my family. My female students inspired me, and one another, as much as I inspired them. They helped me hold onto perspective, to live the teachings I hold dear, and to not give up.
The company of women is immensely powerful. For the hundreds of women I have supported over the years through yoga and life coaching, it is a universal key ingredient in their resolution and success: Meeting even one women who they can relate to, who can understand their anger and their sadness, their longing and their resolve, who can hold the space for their success and comfort their feelings of loss.
So here’s my “formula”, from one woman to another: The women you meet, the doctors you see, and the fertility wellness professionals like Helen Adrienne and I will have lots of concrete ideas for what might connect you to your right path to resolution. I can talk a blue streak about fertility diets, supplements, yoga poses, breathing exercises, self care practices, mind/body tools, visualizations, and meditation. But I don’t have the silver bullet. What I offer is help in appreciating all of your “silver linings”: to help you find supportive peers, keep perspective on all the good in your life, encourage you to do what you love, and keep hope alive.
My path was gnarly. I suffered tremendous losses, but it has been a gift to be an infertile woman. My experience brought me my three healthy children, inspired me to create and stay connected with a community of supportive women, and forged my purpose to serve women as they create their families and hold onto themselves. I feel lucky. More than lucky, I am truly blessed.
Tracy Toon Spencer is a life coach and yoga teacher who specializes in supporting women on the road to family. She has studied with and been certified by experts in the fields of life coaching, mind/body medicine, and yoga. She teaches at NYU Fertility Center where she leads the yoga program as part of the Wellness Team, and at World Yoga Center in Manhattan. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, ABC.com. www.fertilelifenyc.com.