Here is where it starts to get even more personal. I feel I connect with blogs and books that are honest, raw, and unfiltered. That is the approach I hope to take when writing my posts. If it is not authentic, why waste your time reading it? Well here it goes.
Fertility. Who knew it was such a hot button topic for women and men? I honestly did not give it any thought until a close friend of mine recounted how hard it was for her and her husband to conceive their miracle baby. It got even more real when my husband and I decided to go off birth control and start planning for a family.
The women in my family have been notoriously “fertile” and it seemed the minute they decided they wanted to be pregnant, they did so the following day. I was set up to think when the time was right for me, all I would have to do is stop taking the pill and a baby would follow nine months later.
Instead, life decided it was time for a lesson in patience and self-love and for the first time in my adult life, the need to be in tune with my body when it came to reproduction. I was educated in health class and by my doctor on menstrual cycles and how everything “worked” but I never gave a second thought as to why I was feeling certain emotions or physical signs at different times of the month. I also didn’t think much of it when my gynecologist prescribed birth control pills to help reduce my PMS symptoms. My thoughts now on birth control pills is something I plan on blogging about later.
This is where the word thankful comes in when describing my first lesson in patience when trying to conceive. If it was fast and “easy” for us to conceive, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to a place of deep understanding and appreciation for what my body is able to do. It is extremely fascinating to me now.
After our wedding, I stopped taking birth control pills (which I had been taking every day since I was 15). Again, here I get very real so if you are not interested in the reason behind why I turned to acupuncture and just acupuncture itself, skip down to the last paragraph.
When I stopped taking the pills, I assumed my body would continue on the same menstrual cycle schedule I had had for 10+ years. While on the pill I began menstruating on the same day of each month, with little to no PMS symptoms, and it only lasted a few days. What a miracle pill, right? Umm NO..actually the complete opposite (again I will have to do another post).
There was nothing natural happening while I was taking the pill. Just hormones being pumped in and out of my body, kind of like my body being on constant auto pilot for years. When I stopped, my body was beyond confused after being told what to do for so long, it didn’t know how to operate on it’s own.
It took several months after I stopped taking the pill for me to finally get my period naturally. I was thrilled…until it didn’t come again.
The midwife I was seeing for my pre-pregnancy check-up prescribed Progesterone which I was so anti because I was DONE with putting anything artificial, especially hormones, in my body after seeing what birth control had done. However, she was very persuasive and explained that it may jump start my body again as well as replace the cellular wall of my uterus (which needs to be fresh for implantation if I was hoping to become pregnant).
We were so eager to start a family and I was still confused about my body, so I took the pills and got an artificial period immediately. I was relieved to have a “fresh start” and was convinced this would signal my body to start having menstrual cycles again. Unfortunately, this was not the case and my period never came.
I began to obsessively research the topic and found a plethora of information with hundreds of women that had had or were going through the same type of situation. This was the true beginning of my stand against anything artificial being put in my body and really trying to understand my body and what it was telling me.
Around the same time I was promoted at work to a position which included more responsibility, more hours training, and much more stress…I was overwhelmed. My husband began to see the stress taking over even at home, and I felt like I was on a downward spiral. I was exhausted keeping up at work, trying to limit my exercise so that it wouldn’t interfere with my period, rubbing on countless recipes of essential oils to spark menstruation, etc., etc. No wonder I was stressed. I was taking on too much and asking too much of myself.
Enter acupuncture. When researching “stress relievers” I kept coming across, yoga, coloring, meditating, walking, and acupuncture. All of which I was doing, except acupuncture. I have always been drawn to eastern medicine, but I had never tried acupuncture.
I was apprehensive to try acupuncture because justifying paying more money to do another stress reliever was hard for me, and the thought of willingly getting stuck with needles was not appealing either. Truthfully, I was afraid I was so broken that this one last attempt would not help and I would be out of options.
One day while I was waiting in line for a green juice, I came across a business card for a community acupuncturist near my house. I pocketed the card and decided to research the place to see if I could get some reviews and feedback. The community aspect of it, which means you are in a room with a group of people getting treatments all at once, and the low cost interested me as I felt I wasn’t investing too much for my first experience.
After reading raving reviews, I got up the nerve and made an appointment. From the moment I walked in, the nurturing atmosphere, tranquil with fountains, soft music, essential oil aromatherapy, and the chiming of gongs, I was hooked. I immediately felt relaxed when laying in the chair and revealing why I was there for acupuncture: stress and my menstrual cycle. My acupuncturist was gentle, as he knew it was my first time. The nerves settled after my first needle was placed.
I say placed because the point of entry to the skin is so minimal it is as if it’s resting on top of your skin. It is not painful at all, and if you get a treatment where it is, they are not doing it correctly. Once all my needles were in, he told me to close my eyes and relax. Which for me, is very difficult. I try and multi-task multitasking and can never sit still. I made the effort because I was committed to make this work and closed my eyes.
Within 15 minutes I was S L E E P I N G. I woke up after two hours (not even exaggerating here) feeling refreshed and on a natural high. I began going two times a week, which he recommended in the beginning to jump start things, and my treatments would average 45 minutes each time. After a few weeks, I RAN into my next appointment eager to tell him I got my period for the first time naturally, in 9 months. It was liberating. I was so happy my body was finally in a place where it was able to relax and read it’s own signals clearly.
How does acupuncture work? It is traditionally used in Chinese medicine and is described simply as inserting tiny needles into acupuncture points throughout the body. While there are many different methods, it is common for your practitioner to take your pulse, ensure you are relaxed and at a healthy pulse rate, and check in to see how you are reacting to the various points where they’ve inserted needles. As with anything, always consult your doctor before attempting any new treatment and do your research to make sure you are well read on anything new you would like to do to your body.
I look at my weekly appointments as treats to myself because I feel like I am taking time out of my week to thank my body for all it is doing and to truly unwind. This is the time I get in tune with how I am feeling. Not only has it helped me for menstruation, acupuncture has also helped with my digestion and has cut down the stress in my life tremendously.
I have now gotten my period every month for 3 consecutive months, and this gives my husband and I hope for our family to grow in the very near future.
I am always learning from my body, and I am so thankful now at the clear signs it gives me when I am feeling too stressed, too weak, or even strong. Listening to my body has been the best gift I have given myself. It has helped in many areas of my life including work, home, and my relationship with myself. I attribute a lot of this to my discovery of acupuncture and the new lease on life it has given me.
What types of things do you to do to unwind? I would love to hear!