Infertility is the ultimate catch-22: The longer it takes to conceive, the more stress builds, and the more stress builds, the harder it is to become pregnant. To add to the pressure, all too often women feel like they are trying to beat a biological clock—and time is of the essence.
Technically, infertility is defined as a disease characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or due to an impairment of a person’s capacity to reproduce either as an individual or with his/her partner. But a new book by acupuncturist Denise Wiesner, Conceiving with Love, blends western reproductive techniques with traditional Chinese medicine to create a more holistic paradigm of fertility. Instead of impairment, Wiesner speaks in terms of the necessity of connecting, both to one’s partner as well as the spiritual aspects of sexuality.
In her book, Wiesner creates a five-element wheel for lovers that shows how the elements work together to create the perfect storm for baby making—and why that might not happen when the elements are out of balance. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the five elements (or five phases) are based on nature and are comprised of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In this system, particular attention is paid to the relationship between the different elements in nature and the life force, or "qi," that flows through them. Peak fertility occurs when the elements are harmoniously balanced inside of us.
Your Holisitc Fertility Guide
Here is a rough outline of the five elements, adapted from Conceiving with Love, with tips on how to integrate them to nurture your chances of conception.
In balance, at the center of the five elements is earth, which nourishes all life. Earth is communication on all levels. It symbolizes self-care: Taking care of oneself in order to feel the love that originates in one’s own heart and allows us to receive love from another. The key to earth energy is accepting yourself—and your body—exactly as it is.
Out of balance: You have lost your ground and your self-confidence. Trust in the all-is-well has given way to excessive worry. Preoccupation with what your partner thinks makes it hard for you to be present with yourself.
The question: In what ways do I judge myself as not enough?
The goal: To embrace your body just as it is, by tending to it with devotion.
In balance, metal invites releasing past disappointments and welcoming vulnerability. It requires the strength to de-armor, reopen past wounds and glean wisdom from trauma. It means opening up places that have shut down by connecting with your animal nature. It asks you to let your body and senses lead.
Out of balance: You may have unresolved sexual trauma that prevents you from fully opening to your own sexuality. Or it can mean that establishing boundaries is hard but the lack of them takes its toll.
The question: What I am holding onto that I need to let go of?
The goal: To celebrate your sexual self.
When the water element is flowing, stress gets released before it accumulates and blocks. This element rules sexual energy and reproductive function. It’s the energetic imprint of desire, as in feeling turned on and turning someone else on. It encourages a deep receptivity to your partner as well as yourself.
Out of balance: Water, when out of whack, registers as low libido, fear and exhaustion. All these qualities can amplify reproductive struggles.
The question: What keeps you from hearing your beloved?
The goal: To connect sexual life force with heart energy.
Wood in balance ignites passion and challenges you sense of adventure, sexual and otherwise. Wood is vision, fantasy and dreams.
Out of balance: Sexual frustration, as well as genital pain and other sex organ struggles.
The question: What is your heart’s desire?
The goal: To express the full range of your emotions so they don’t get in the way of your ability to make love freely.
In balance, fire keeps your vital energy burning steady. You feel in touch with your spirit and your heart and connect deeply with others.
Out of balance: Being out of touch with your fire can manifest as lack of mojo and motivation—being cut off from one’s deepest truth. It may feel like depression and low affect.
The question: What do you need to forgive, both in yourself and in your partner?
The goal: To feel intimate with the divine, with spirit.
Use these elements as a tool for inquiry. What element do you feel abundant or weak in? What element seems to be calling out for some extra attention? By strengthening where your energy goes slack, you can boost your connection to yourself, to your partner, and to the baby you would like to bring in.
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