Mothering Magazine – March 2010
Taking life just as it is may sound easy. Doing it? Now that’s hard, but also necessary and ultimately liberating. There are gifts embedded in the accidents of fate that give existence its shape, meaning and richness – as the old adage goes, make your mess your message. In my case, the mess was secondary infertility. The message became my ability to help others heal through Yoga, mindfulness and acceptance. Mothering and nurturing myself was part of my journey.
I was a 26-year-old actress making it happen in Los Angeles. Motherhood? Uh, no. Not just yet. My eyes were fixed on my career.
A few years later, I was married and a veteran step-mom, now yearning for a child of my own. I went off birth control during my stepdaughter’s high school years, confident I’d get pregnant. I did. Just not on my schedule. It took a lot longer than I reckoned.
Still, motherhood-by-marriage and the birth of my son lulled me into assuming another child would come easy.
When I decided it was time, I hit a brick wall. Between my fast-forward film and TV career, my family, and my yoga teaching, I was living pedal-to-the-metal, overworked and over-stressed. I had lost a lot of weight for a film role and stopped ovulating. I was out of balance. I went to a reproductive endocrinologist, and he ran some tests. He told me I was suffering from “secondary infertility.” I wanted to take more aggressive measures to get pregnant as my clock was ticking. I wanted to try IUI or IVF.
My husband felt differently. He had two children and didn’t need more, if we had them naturally he was fine, but he didn’t want to push. Because of his resistance, I had been researching how to balance my hormones with yoga. It was on me to heal my own body and I plunged headlong into a self-prescribed treatment of acupuncture and yoga postures to balance my hormone cycle and reduce my own stress. I developed a proprietary approach to yoga for fertility for myself. I stayed with it, and I started to calm down in my mind and my body.
Out of my mess came my message. I created Strong Yoga4Fertility and worked with women just like me. I taught them how to breathe. To open their bodies and to receive life as it comes because that’s what I had to do. Women who couldn’t get pregnant were suddenly getting pregnant. It turns out that yoga combined with their medical protocols was potent. Perhaps even more significantly, irrespective of the outcome, the women working with me found how much they’d been suffering from fear and shame around fertility issues. By learning to connect to themselves and others on the fertility journey, they learned that they weren’t alone, and that everyone’s path is different.
In my parallel journey, my husband and I produced both a “Yoga for Fertility” and “Yoga for Partners” DVD. After we packaged them, I got pregnant. My pregnancy lasted the first trimester. There was no heartbeat. I had to have a D&C and I was devastated. However, through time, I realized that the second child we were supposed to have was my birthing this important work – helping women through fertility issues. It was meant to be this way.
With the practice of yoga comes transformation. I’m blown away by how much women evolve as they build a deep and loving connection to themselves through this work. I also teach them about nutrition, greening their homes, and removing toxins from their environment. They learn to integrate their thoughts, feelings, bodies and energy. They become more conscious parents through this work.
I learned the first step toward being a mother was to nurture myself, honor my feelings and learn self-care. How can we possibly honor a child when we aren’t honoring ourselves?
Being a mother is the biggest gift I’ve ever been given. I love my son. He teaches me every day how to be a consistent and caring human being. I’ve also learned that being a mother is to breathe in whatever life offers. The foundation of yoga is the breath. The challenge for women is to learn to breathe and receive.
Brenda Strong offers 3 DVDs; Strong Yoga4Fertility, Partners and Pregnancy and is the creator of the Fertility Ball and the Strong Fertility Ball Yoga Method. She also trains yoga teachers her Strong Yoga4Fertiity through ongoing education at Yoga Works. For more info visit: www.yoga4women.com or www.yoga4fertiity.com