Hypnotherapy and Fertility: A Personal Journey

A quick search of the internet will tell you that infertility rates in the UK are rising and about 1 in 7 heterosexual couples will have difficulty or be unable to conceive. So, I know my own personal experience is not unusual, but perhaps the route my husband and I ultimately chose to find a solution was less common. We chose hypnotherapy.

At that time, I had yet to discover Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, and was still working in the stressful world of banking and IT. Initially I took the traditional route and consulted my doctor when it seemed something was wrong and was referred for tests. I have a healthy respect for our medical professionals, so I was more than a little shocked to be laughed at by the consultant when I explained that I was concerned that my apparent lack or at least highly irregular menstrual cycle could indicate a fertility problem. As you can imagine, this is an emotive and personal subject to discuss that had taken no small amount of nerve to share. So, her reaction was quite a blow – certainly not the reaction that any solution focused hypnotherapist would give when faced with a client in the same situation, I’m sure. Nonetheless, I persisted (with a different doctor) and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is where the ovaries are not producing viable eggs and instead of producing a single egg, produce lots of tiny ones instead.

Photo by cottonbro from PexelsThere followed many demoralising months of attending the fertility clinic at the hospital, where I would sit in a dingy corridor and await my appointment, surrounded by leaflets with helpful titles like “Facing a life without children?”, followed by appointments where I was repeatedly told I was too old and too heavy (even though I wasn’t that overweight), and left feeling that it was all my fault. As the months went on, I didn’t get any younger, took the medication, dieted, exercised, and got lighter very slowly, but it seemed it was never going to be enough. At the same time, my anxiety, depression, and focus on the problem increased until it was overwhelming. It was at this point, years after this journey started and while on a waiting list for a surgical procedure that might help, that it was suggested to me that I give hypnotherapy a try…

… and there was the fulcrum on which my life would turn!

There weren’t many Solution Focused hypnotherapists in Scotland nearly 12 years ago, so my hypnotherapist was not of the solution focused model. Nonetheless, it was a revolutionary experience and couldn’t have been more different to my visits to the fertility clinic. The one bit that I didn’t like and found very upsetting was having to recount a traumatic event from my teens during the initial consultation. That’s why, when I decided to retrain as a hypnotherapist years later, I chose to become a solution focused hypnotherapist. We know that there is no need to recount past trauma and that it isn’t helpful to put the client into such a negative mindset.

The rest of the sessions felt nothing short of miraculous though. Hypnosis followed the format of progressive muscular relaxation, followed by a deepener of wading through warm, cleansing water before climbing out the other side to visualise my “womb-room”, metaphorically spruce it up and visualise the incoming soul. Even after all these years I could still give you a detailed description of what that room looks like. I use the present tense there because I still pop in and mentally sweep it out sometimes! I left the sessions armed with my hypnotherapy CD and positive affirmations, already looking forward to the next session the following week.

Photo by MART PRODUCTION from PexelsEvery time I came home, my husband said it was like I was a different person. I was happy, relaxed, positive, and energised. I felt like that too. It was like I was lit up inside. I was hopeful.

Now a solution focused hypnotherapist myself, I understand what was happening. I had been so anxious and depressed about not conceiving and the prospect of never doing so that my primitive mind was firmly in control, and my body was actively preventing conception into this perceived state of emergency as a result. The hypnotherapy put me back into my intellectual mind, made me relax, and take the pressure off. Bringing the anxiety down returned balance to mind and body, and not only did I feel better generally, the primitive mind’s state of emergency was called off.

Never underestimate the power of the intellectual mind, relaxation, and hope.

I walked into session 5 of my hypnotherapy and announced that I was indeed pregnant! My hypnotherapist was overjoyed. The hospital, less so. When I phoned to cancel my forthcoming surgical appointment, explaining that I was doing so because I was pregnant. It seemed that it was a massive inconvenience to them rather than a success story. No matter.

I went on to have a beautifully calm and trouble-free pregnancy and was delivered of a beautiful and healthy baby boy almost 11 years ago.

While I cannot say that the medication I received was ineffective, what I can say is that I’m certain that I would not have conceived without hypnotherapy to reduce the overwhelming anxiety and negativity. We hear stories all the time of couples who have been trying for a baby for years, with IVF or without, and had no success, only to fall pregnant the moment they “stop trying” and the pressure and anxiety dies down.

Never underestimate the power of the intellectual mind, relaxation, and hope.

Photo from PexelsI walked into session 5 of my hypnotherapy and announced that I was indeed pregnant! My hypnotherapist was overjoyed. The hospital, less so. When I phoned to cancel my forthcoming surgical appointment, explaining that I was doing so because I was pregnant. It seemed that it was a massive inconvenience to them rather than a success story. No matter.

I went on to have a beautifully calm and trouble-free pregnancy and was delivered of a beautiful and healthy baby boy almost 11 years ago.

While I cannot say that the medication I received was ineffective, what I can say is that I’m certain that I would not have conceived without hypnotherapy to reduce the overwhelming anxiety and negativity. We hear stories all the time of couples who have been trying for a baby for years, with IVF or without, and had no success, only to fall pregnant the moment they “stop trying” and the pressure and anxiety dies down.

Perhaps it is no surprise that infertility rates are rising, given our modern lifestyle and high levels of stress and anxiety. These issues effect fertility in both men and women and the stats say that fertility issues are fairly evenly spread across male and female with one or other, or often both partners the cause. Medical issues must always be referred to the medical profession, of course, but I think there is also a role here for solution focused hypnotherapy and the holistic approach. We can't make any guarantees of success, but we can offer hope and help make the medical process less of a trauma while providing a means to cope with whatever the outcome may be. Who knows, perhaps like my experience, we may even help create a family.

Elaine Neale
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e: Elaine.Neale@Happy-Hypnotherapy.co.uk
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