• A Daily Dose of Gratitude

    A Daily Dose of Gratitude

    by Melissa Hinshaw, LMT

    November is traditionally the time of the year when we gather with friends and family to share and show our gratitude for what we have and who we share our lives with. Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday and its sentiment is powerful. But what if gratitude became apart of out daily lives…I mean on a very conscious and intentional level? Could it change our attitudes? Better yet, could it alter our physiologies? Let me tell you what I discovered when I decided to write about gratitude and what it does for me.

    Let’s start with the definition of gratitude. It comes from the latin for, gratia, which means grace or thankfulness. Everyday we are thanking people for this and that, one because we mean it, and two, because it’s the polite thing to do. The gratitude I want to discuss is the gratefulness we have for all we have with the awareness that we have not earned, nor do we deserve all that we’ve been given. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. We work hard, we do what is expected so we get what we deserve, right? This is true, but letting the Universe know we are honored everyday for all things, big and little, can have a huge impact. I think of it like how a child approaches every morsel of the day…each moment is special and magical and noticed.

    Let me tell you a secret about myself. Everyday when I arrive at Pulling Down the Moon I take the stairs up to the 8th floor. On my journey up I do what I call is my, “grateful chant.” I say, OUTLOUD, all the things in that moment that I am thankful for. Please don’t laugh, but here goes…”I am grateful for finding a parking space. I am grateful that my kids had a nice morning. I am grateful that my son is feeling good today. I am grateful that I have a safe home. I am grateful that my car works. I am grateful that I have Pulling Down the Moon. I am grateful that I can pay my bills. I am grateful to be loved. I am grateful to have the chance to love deeply, etc…” The chant stops when I reach the top and it is different every day. This has become a ritual for me that I look forward to and I cannot start my day without it. Whoopie!! Melissa is grateful. So what? Well, after doing some research on gratitude I discovered just how powerful being grateful can be.

    In a study done at Harvard Medical School they found that, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” An article in, Tech & Science, outlines the five scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Some of these include improved sleep quality, increased helpfulness and empathy, and increased self-esteem. The final two effects of being grateful really stood out to me, especially for my sisters going down fertility lane: grateful people are more hopeful and healthy and they also have increased resilience. These are qualities that can make or break getting through a difficult journey…like trying to make a baby when the deck isn’t stacked just right.

    I will end this by saying that my way is not THE way to experience gratitude but it does work for me. I encourage you to find a way to express and/or show gratitude every single day. Actually, it has more to do with the feeling of gratitude and how that affects our souls and our bodies. So, I guess it is about finding ways to feel grateful for anything and everything…the bumps that life puts in front of us as well as the gifts. Let’s not take for granted that which we receive on a regular basis. Let’s cherish it and honor it and thank it with grace. “I am grateful for the opportunity to write this article and to share with my sisters what has changed my life!”

  • Acupuncture for Fertility, The Method Behind the Madness

    Acupuncture for Fertility, The Method Behind the Madness

    By Meghan Gibson, MSOM, L.Ac.

    Close your eyes. Picture this, you’re lying on a soft table, there’s a warm feeling of heat above your feet, the sounds of ocean waves and Tibetan drums playing in the background and – there’s needles all over your body!? Wait, what? Yup, that’s what an acupuncture session is like! Once you get over the initial strangeness that is having needles in your body one can find an overwhelming sense of relaxation during and after treatments. But, have you ever thought while laying down for your treatment, is there a method to this madness or am I just a pin cushion? There IS a method to the madness and it all started thousands of years ago.

    The first text books referencing acupuncture are 2,000 years old. Think about this, Western Medicine is changing and evolving every day. Text books are constantly being updated and changed with medical advancements and the use of better or new technology. Acupuncture books are the same, the points are the same, they have not changed. This medicine works and hasn’t needed updating because the points and their functions have been tried and proven for thousands of years.

    Did you know there are 365 acupuncture points along 12 meridians all over the body? Each point has a different function and is connected to a different organ. Each practitioner uses varying sets of points depending in their “style” or preference but, for example, there are heat clearing points on the arms and on the legs so depending on the practitioner you could get a seemingly different treatment but the goal was the same in both. That’s one of the things that makes this medicine so amazing, is there are so many point combinations you can use but the purpose is the same.

    The ancient Chinese gave some great names to some of the key points used for fertility. Did you know there were acupuncture points called, “Door of Infants” and one called ”Beautiful Baby”? There are so many amazing acupuncture points that aid in not only fertility but pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. Has your husband been complaining about his frozen shoulder? Yup – we’ve got points for that too. Now is a great time to check out our services and get back to feeling your best.

    Don’t worry, you’re not just a pin cushion. There’s a method to the madness and just because one treatment didn’t “feel” like the other the goal of the session was same. Any questions visit www.pullingdownthemoon.com for more information.

    Click here to schedule an initial consultation

  • Does Food Packaging Affect Your Fertility?

    Does Food Packaging Affect Your Fertility?

    by Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    When we’re talking about how nutrition affects fertility, we sometimes only think of how the food we eat affects our fertility. The reality is that the type of food packaging used may also have an impact on fertility. One of the main chemicals used in food packaging that has been linked to fertility challenges is Bisphenol A or BPA. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which is a chemical that can disrupt our hormones. BPA is used in the lining of cans and in hard polycarbonate plastic bottles, some food containers, and in thermal paper receipts.

    What are the health effects of BPA?

    Women trying to conceive, women who are pregnant, babies, and small children are likely the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Higher levels of BPA in the urine have been associated with recurrent miscarriage. In addition, BPA has been associated with increased risk for PCOS, breast cancer, and obesity.

    Replacements for BPA

    Many food manufacturers have taken BPA out of the lining of cans. You will note that many manufacturers actually note that there is no BPA in the can lining right on the can. Looking for canned food in BPA free cans is helpful though the safety of BPA replacements isn’t entirely clear. See below for alternatives.

    Common foods that many contain BPA and Safer Alternatives

    Canned tomatoes: Buy tomatoes in glass jars or in tetrapak cartons.

    Canned beans : Buy beans in glass jars or tetrapak cartons instead of cans. When cooking beans from dry, the crockpot is a great way to do this. You can then even cook a large batch of beans and freeze some for future use.

    Canned fish : Sardines or herring are sometimes available in glass jars. Choose tuna in pouches instead of cans. Buy fresh versus canned fish. Choose fish in BPA free cans when canned is the only option.

    Water bottles : Use a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle, or if you need to choose a plastic one, make sure it’s BPA free. Alternatively, drink beverages out of glasses or ceramic cups.

    Beverage cans : Ideally for fertility, limiting beer and soda is ideal, but even some healthier beverage choices are found in cans like La Croix. Try to choose these options in glass or plastic bottles instead. Plastic beverage bottles contain safe types of plastic that do not contain BPA. It advisable to avoid reusing these plastic bottles and to avoid leaving plastic bottles in a hot car or other area, where they can get hot.

    Food storage : Use glass food storage containers whenever possible. When this isn’t possible, wait until food cools down before putting into a plastic container, and avoid heating food up in plastic containers. Instead transfer to a ceramic or glass container first.

    Receipts: Because BPA is also found in receipts and may be absorbed directly through the skin, it’s important to avoid handling receipts when possible. Ask the receipt to be put in the bag instead of taking it in your hand. Washing your hands as soon as possible after handling receipts also may help reduce BPA exposure, by preventing BPA absorption through the skin. It is best not to recycle receipts, because this causes recycled paper products to then contain BPA.

    This isn’t an exhaustive list of ways to reduce/prevent BPA exposure, but this should help get you started. For more information on BPA, check out the Environmental Working Group’s website at http://www.ewg.org/bpa/.

  • My Journey, A Personal Story

    My Journey, A Personal Story

    by Anonymous

    I have been married to my 8 th grade sweetheart for 12 yrs. We talked about getting married and starting a family “one day”. He wanted 12 kids. I remember laughing out loud and said “maybe 4” to include adoption. Fast forward through dating off and on for several years, conversations about a smaller family, and not even 4 months post marriage; I shared news that would rock our world. I have a condition called Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (formally Failure). The most difficult symptom is serious fertility complications that lead to less than 1% of us birthing children with our own eggs.

    The initial news shook me to my core. I checked out of relationships, rarely left my bed, and cried so much I couldn’t cry any more. Hubs let me be, but one day said–enough. I got up and have been trying to deal ever since. Sometimes it has been like I am riding around on a unicorn sprinkling glitter around the world just as happy as can be. Other times have been similar to people finding out a loved one is an alcoholic where they are completely shocked because the family member seemed to be functioning, while being a mess behind closed doors. In all of those feelings I have tried to find balance, hold onto hope, and look for guidance on next steps but–it is hard. I have held onto the idea that if I just do ‘xyz’ then I won’t need to use donor eggs, though almost 12yrs post diagnosis–here I am at the same crossroads.

    It has made me feel less than a woman and wife. My husband’s nickname is the ‘baby whisperer’ because he has a gift with kids yet doesn’t even have one to call his own because his wife’s body won’t cooperate. That’s a heavy burden to carry around on top of my own personal issues with this plus the other non-fertility symptoms associated with my condition. When looking at donors over the years, I have been shocked and hurt by the lack of Black donors. I perform a search and see a few hundred donors but when I filter for a local Black donor, I have 7 to choose from which is no exaggeration for most databases I have looked at. It has stopped me from moving forward on several occasions. Why can’t I find anyone that looks like me and has the same background as me? Why do I care so much, shouldn’t I look for the best and healthiest donor? I won’t even get into the financial burden this places on us. Donor cycles can cost over $30k and you need about $10k to just reserve the donor.

    I believe that our trials are meant to be shared to help others. Fertility for Colored Girls (FFCG) is an organization that has helped me and lead me to Pulling Down the Moon (PDtM) by way of conversations about local holistic health options with various members. I had tried acupuncture before, but hadn’t been to a space with comprehensive service options until walking into to PDtM. It has given me the opportunity to learn about nutrition, yoga, supplements, acupuncture, and massage as it relates to fertility. I am in a space where some women on both sides of the desk are either on a fertility journey or have completed a journey. I appreciate the peace I leave with after completing a service, I appreciate the supplement options as it is hard to find quality products, and I appreciate the nurturing knowledgeable touch of the staff. Both women and men come in for services and it makes me smile when they have good news to share. This is a sisterhood I never wanted or imagined I would join. Having holistic options for support and treatment has been a lifesaver and greatly appreciated as I move forward with a plan of attack towards a healthy pregnancy. This sisterhood rocks!

  • How Lateness Helped Me Find Greatness

    How Lateness Helped Me Find Greatness

    by guest blogger, “Jugy”

    When it comes to being late, I am notorious for it. Late to parties, dinner reservations, weddings … you name it. I have had no qualms about being fashionably and shamelessly late, it is my MO after all. While my fashionably late behavior has gotten me in all sorts of annoyances with friends and family, I wanted to talk about being a late bloomer.

    The thing is, I did not start dating until I was 24 years old. I was a tomboy and did not want to deal with dating shenanigans. Alas, curiosity and interest in boys became a reality and I started dating around. The problem was my radar was focused on all the wrong men! The party boy, unsure boy, and the goofy boy. I dated them. I loved them. I hated them.

    A misguided radar can make marriage and kids seem farfetched, and even a long-term relationship. Nonetheless, I did not stress. I was a late bloomer and life was good. I took great care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I built a phenomenal foundation of friends that were like family. So, I did me for a while. I worked on my radar. I stopped going for the crazy man in the room and realized that values came first. And, at 37, I met a man that would become my husband.

    I found together forever and this meant the next step: kids! My age was creeping in the back of my mind, so we decided to visit my primary care doctor for a basic workup. We started to try naturally and fell pregnant that month, only to end in miscarriage 7 weeks later…then another, and another, and another. After a fertility work up, I came to realize it was my very MO, lateness, that was causing our infertility. Age and time, the two things you cannot get back in life, crept around the corner to cast a cloud on my happiness.

    I was so confused, sad, and heartbroken over the fact that I could not do something that is a natural part of life – maintain a pregnancy. Back at my RE, I learned about Pulling Down the Moon (PDtM). This community would become the very thing I did not know I needed – a strong community of supportive women. I have since experienced fertility acupuncture, massage, yoga, and nutritional supplements and have learned a lot about Chinese Medicine. My sense of mental health, relaxation have improved drastically. I have a renewed faith in the fact I am doing all I can to make my dream of having a family come true. To me, it is about no regrets looking back, no matter what the outcome.

    PDtM is a “home for the soul.” I am surrounded by women that understand the challenges of letting go, acceptance, and welcoming a different path to life. Without lateness, I never would have found this greatness.

    About the author: “Jugy” has been receiving treatments from PDtM since December 2016. She has had age-related fertility for the past 2 years with 4 natural pregnancies ending in miscarriage and 2 failed IVF cycles. When she is not thinking about things fertility-related, she is a digital marketing professional that loves to cook and stay active.