This Fertility Warrior’s Best Weapon: Breath
An important mentor during my fertility journey once used the phrase “Fertility Rambo,” referring to the women who after suffering loss put themselves right back out there on the battlefield; raw, but willing to keep fighting. This idea of being a warrior on the battlefield of infertility has really stuck with me. I have found that if I can breathe, I can keep going.
I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 10 years and I have always struggled with my breath. I attended many momentum-driven vinyasa flow classes that are meant to “link breath with movement,” but I could not inhale into Warrior II (or UpDog or any other pose) for the life of me. I would move into a pose and then pause for the breath, before holding my breath again in order to move into the next pose. This is the opposite of relaxing for the nervous system and this breathholding left me feeling off balance. One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned over this past year, by far the most challenging year of my fertility journey and possibly my life thus far, is how to breathe through these moments of struggle.
It sounds too simple when life is so complex, right? But it works- I promise. The best way I can describe the results are a calming and untangling of my mind. It gives me a moment to recoup before reacting to whatever triggered my need to take a breath. Breathing through tough yoga poses is such a compelling lesson on and off the mat- you can breathe through anything. It started on my mat, but works just as well in the real world, especially out on the battlefield of infertility. I am now aware of my natural tendency to hold my breath and how depleted, agitated, and off balance that makes me feel. As soon as I feel this coming on, whether triggered by a challenging yoga pose or an unexpected or unwanted fertility event, I tell myself to take a deep breath. And every time I am reminded of how powerful a deep breath can be. It’s becoming more natural, but I still have to remind myself occasionally to stop and breathe and that is okay because life is about growth. Some days it is easier to say than others, but I truly believe that navigating the wild rollercoaster of the fertility journey is making us stronger with each twist and turn. So, I encourage all of my fellow fertility warriors to pause and take a breath when you feel the struggle coming on. This crisp autumn air will serve as a beautiful reminder of the power of your breath.