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Your Year In Summary

There is only one day left in this year, and as we prepare for 2016, we look back to what was our own personal 2015. For me it held many wonderful memories and some challenging times too. My children are expanding their wings and becoming more autonomous. We traveled to Europe for 6 weeks a highlight for sure, many re-connections with new and old friends. Leaving my family to create my own time that was interesting and liberating too. I did miss them all and feel having that time apart made me appreciate them even more, especially my husband.

I also made a few new friends from my daughters’ school that was a bonus as being a parent you need to create your own community and find support. Personally I haven’t been fitter, as I enter my 48th year on this glorious earth, I find myself achieving more calmness and stillness in my Bikram yoga practice, something which I plan on maintaining in 2016.

Professionally I did a little with my own coaching work, not much I must confess, this year 2015 was dedicated to nurturing my children. I choose to be present for my children and be there for them, creating memories and not feel conflicted to be doing everything at once. What a wonderful feeling to have that time. In 2016 this will change as my youngest goes to big school and current routines will be impacted. Plus I need the professional stimulation to get back and help others achieve their own goals and inspire them to become more accountable to live their life congruently. This is where I feel my purpose is. I realise that once I get my work in flow I will be in alignment with my mission and purpose thus the family will benefit in so many ways, as I often say once you fill your own cup, it will overflow to others, it’s natural and so organic to watch it happen.

If you are still on the infertility roller-coaster, keep believing and continue your journey, reassess where you are, take a break, love those around you and know you will be a parent, sometimes taking stock of what is around you gives you perspective, and next attempt do something different. Contact me for a confidential talk, I am here for you.

To those who seek change in 2016, think about what you have accomplished this year? What needs to be improved and what are you willing to give up in order to get it? Be gentle with yourself if you haven’t accomplished all your 2015 goals, celebrate your successes no matter how small they are, it is a start, and contact me in 2016 to make those other goals matter, because living your truth matters. Believe me, I have been in your shoes and living on the fence serves no purpose.

So goodbye 2015 it was a Great Year, so many learnings and more gratitude of what is in my world. For that I give Thanks.

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Simple Contentment

We are now half way through September and yes this year has flown by, so glad to have the warmer weather here, I wake up when the sun shines and I can finally pack away the cold winter clothes, for me and the children.. I also think about what will fit next year as I like to give away clothes and have less, this makes it easier to choose what to wear. My life is simple these days, so grateful for that no more waiting for the next phase in my life, to find a husband and have a family. I am living my dream that is true, I created that and designed my life this way; I take full ownership of all my mistakes and what eventually became my reality. Bumps in the road are there to test our path and what we really want. Children came to us later in life and this weekend passed just confirmed how wonderful it all is, they are my light and sun combined my total world, besides my husband of course! How happy I am to fuss over them and think about their needs and how they have developed how their unique personalities are shining through and wonder how they will approach the next stage.

I feel exhausted, that is correct, most mothers can vouch for that, but so contented. I know I need to balance my time to give love to self and give me time to replenish my love tank, I so need that too, so it can overflow to them and others close to me. Being present and mindful my constant reminders to be in the moment, which most of the time I am. I feel that every night my memory is erased and I wake up fresh and ready to go again the next morning no left over feelings from the previous day, a clean slate so to speak. This way I can approach the new and give thanks to what lies ahead of me. That is my simple plan.

We all reach a point in our lives where we need to assess where we are and are we happy there? If we are disconnected with our true path, then it will show, on your health your relationships and most importantly in the mirror your face, be honest with yourself and take ownership of your well-being, prioritize what is important, you owe it to yourself to find your bliss.

It is all worth it just keep at it and try again tomorrow wholeheartedly.

If you are not sure of what you really want, contact me for a customized discovery session, you need to make that first step towards your happiness.

I am here for you.

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Your Fertility Coach

Today I want to talk about keeping your balance whilst on the Trying to have a baby journey. No matter how long you have been working on having a baby, this challenge will test you and for many, I know as I was one of them, you will be completely consumed by this goal, nothing else will matter, you will neglect other areas in your life like relationships, and perhaps your own health. So let’s talk about where you are right now. Perhaps you are..

• Just starting out and you may not know what the next step is, keep trying naturally, have more tests done, or just get a GP referral and consult a Fertility Specialist.
• You maybe already trying with IVF , have had a negative result and waiting to go again.
• You feel like you are keeping a dark secret as no one at work or in your family knows what you and your partner are going through
• You feel overwhelmed and lost and wondering when will you finally fall pregnant.

There are so many stages to this infertility marathon, you need to learn to pace yourself whilst taking good care or you.. Here are some of my 10 Tips for keeping it together during this ‘testing time’

• 1) Take time for your significant relationship, talk, cuddle, cry together and remember you both have feelings and emotions about what you are embarking on together, you are a team

• 2) Nurture yourself, get a massage or a manicure something for you, treating yourself makes you feel better and gives you back some ‘me time’ instead of just thinking about all those possibilities.

• 3) Make a plan and stick to it, if you have set a time limit or financial limit on how many attempts you will undergo, keep this in mind. You will get over this phase just keep it real.

• 4) Be honest with what needs to happen, if you are looking down the path of donor eggs/sperm/embryo, think about what this really means for you as a couple and how you have decided to create your family. We all have our limits. What is realistic for you?

• 5) Keep a journal, this is your personal account of what you are going through, each day will bring different challenges and also write down each day what you are grateful for. It is important to keep positive even when this is testing you to the limit. Each day give thanks for something, the warm sun rays on your face, the special note your partner left you, the coffee you shared with a good friend, etc. Find just something each day and this will help you keep focused and mindful of what the day brings.

• 6) Give yourself a break if you haven’t come up for air and are completely in the “fertility bubble’ STOP and take time out. This will enable your body to recover from whatever treatments you are undergoing and give you time to reassess the situation.

• 7) If you are finding hard to keep positive and balanced in other areas in your life, seek out professional help, a fertility coach has been in your shoes and completely understands your situation. Have a chat and off load some of the weight you have been carrying.

• 8) Find a support group, there are so many around, on FB, online forums, at your fertility clinic, find a group of women who share your journey with, this helps to lighten the load and to compare notes and ideas.

• 9) Create a Baby Vision Board. Collect pictures of babies and paste these on your board, feel the feelings of having this come true. Whatever you do keep positive that your dream of being a parent will be realised.

• 10) Keep believing, there are so many ways to create a family these days, explore all your options.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have found some useful tips, if you would like more information or would like to contact me, please do so, you are not alone.

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Fertility Numbers

As you prepare your body for pregnancy you can easily get caught into over analyzing all those statistics and what your numbers mean. For instance your ovarian reserve sure this is an important figure to have good stats. After all you need healthy eggs for creating your family. However these numbers are just that, there is so much more to your overall health to consider. Only yesterday reading about someone’s’ egg retrieval procedure she only got 6 eggs collected and she was devastated, again she had high expectations and it is only natural to feel this way. It only takes one good egg to create life, given the sperm are healthy too of course! Sperm Analysis tests are overwhelming to say the least, how many million viable sperm, motile sperm, those all important numbers, and if he does a detailed analysis, what about the DNA Fragmentation Index, all this impacts probability to fertilize the egg. Fortunately sperm rejuvenate after 70-90 days, so there is always hope these numbers will/can improve next time round. Numbers are everywhere, your age and what his can mean, your BMI, your blood pressure, your hormone levels and the list goes on. And if you go through IVF you will be hit with more figures and what they could ‘potentially’ mean.

All I want to say is this, they are not the total picture of you, you could be 25 years old or 40 and have similar challenges, age sure impacts fertility that is a given, however you can do something about it, keep healthy and know your limits. Radically change your diet, eliminate processed foods, sugars, caffeine and ensure you are keeping up your exercise regime. Reduce stress, learn to sit still and meditate, do gentle yoga, and practice positive visualization techniques look into Eastern medicine and how they can complete traditional medicine, like Reiki, Network Care, Massage and Acupuncture to name a few. There is so much more you could learn and do for your fertility. You know your body so make sure you keep searching for answers and ask questions of your professional team.

So please do not over analyze those numbers, they just show your residual health in one point in time, keep positive that you will get through this phase and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I remember so clearly when we had to take the step towards IVF, I naively thought ok this will result in a baby after all they just put together my egg with my husband’s sperm and presto, science can do what we cannot do naturally and we will be pregnant. Little did I know that there were so many variables, and the deeper we got into the IVF merry-go-round and financial debt, the more I realized that I was getting deeper into sadness and I had less control over my situation and that getting pregnant and staying pregnant was going to be my personal Mount Everest, I had to climb this beast and conquer it, and be the best version of me to make it happen, only I could do that, no one else could take my shoes. So when the embryologists suggested ‘potential egg quality issues’ I dug deeper and focused on my internal health, empowering myself in the process and then we began to explore all viable options. As they say, the rest is history and as I write this tonight I have my active 4.5 year old seeking attention whilst my 6.5 year old daughter cries at a wobbly tooth.

Yes I am here, and we created this. I am grateful for all this oh yes I am.

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Connecting with Self

When was the last time you really had a good look at yourself in the mirror? We all tend to live such busy lives that we often neglect ourselves and as a result we miss the opportunity to connect with the most important person. YOU. We serve others before ourselves, ensure all is good in our surroundings and get the bills paid. We create more work for ourselves given the chance thus adding more complexity to the day. No wonder you are tired at the end of the week! You use so much mental energy on this fertility journey it is so exhausting, so to start off National Infertility Awareness Week, here are some tips to create a more balanced YOU:

1. Make sure you find the time to stop and just be in the moment, have a bath once the chores are done.

2. Ensure you exercise at least three week, walking, ride your bike, gym, spin class, Zumba, yoga, swim so many possibilities.

3. Plan your menu at the beginning of the week, so you are not visiting the shops every day, this can waste so much time, have you considered doing online grocery shopping?

4. Be grateful of what you have and what you have created each day. Every morning when my feet touch the soft carpet I give thanks.

5. Have a facial, foot rub, manicure or even a massage once a month, you deserve it.

6. De-clutter your home, this will create more space and more energy giving you more room and simplicity, try it.

7. Do something just for you, go out with friends, husband/wife, alone, just go and feel the space grow, get out of your head and do a fun activity.

8. Eat well and drink plenty of water, carry a water bottle, if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.

9. Endeavor to be in the present moment as much as possible, thinking about the past and/ future does not make you aware of the beauty around you.

10. During this week, just do something different, get out of your routine, try something new, cook a new recipe, walk home a different way, say hello to a stranger, find a way to connect with others and this will make you connect with self.

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5 Tips-If You Want a Healthy Baby

This article is written by Dr Zeenobiyah McGowan P.H.D, an expert on women’s health and helping couples conceive naturally. Dr McGowan is a mother of one beautiful girl. She is editor-in-chief for Ovulationcalendar.com, also founded ImpactHumanity.org, a charity which helps under privileged children get the basic necessities like food and education in Kenya.

While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are precautions that women can take to improve their chances of
having a healthy newborn. If you are planning on getting pregnant, or have just found out that you are, now is a great time to get started on some healthy habits. Here are five things you should know if you want to give birth to a healthy child.

1. Folic acid supplements help prevent neural tube defects

Spina bifda is the most common neural tube defect and it literally means cleft spine. This condition is characterized by the incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord and/or the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord. A deficiency in folic acid, a common B vitamin, in the mother’s diet can increase her chances of carrying a baby with spina bifida or other neural tube defects. Since a developing fetus needs folate before the mother even knows she is pregnant, most experts recommend that all women of childbearing years take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.

2. Food safety is essential

Listeria is a common bacterium found in our food supply, and illness caused by it can be devastating to a pregnant
woman and her developing fetus. There are certain foods you should steer clear of to avoid listeria:

– Cold deli meats and salads

– Hot dogs

– Pates and meat spreads

– Unpasteurized/ raw milk and dairy products

– Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as blue vein, feta, brie, queso fresco, and camembert

– Refrigerated smoked seafood

– Raw sprouts

3. Healthy eating habits pay off

You have probably heard the old saying that goes, “you are what you eat.” There is a lot of truth in that, and even
more so for your developing baby. He or she will become the result of what you are consuming. Try to avoid excess
sugar, processed foods, trans fats and refined starches. Instead, fill your diet with a variety of fresh fruits and
vegetables, and moderate amounts of lean proteins, low mercury fish, and complex carbohydrates.

4. Seeing a health care professional regularly is a very good idea

When you find out you are pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor or an OBGYN. They will help guide
you through your pregnancy from genetic testing through to labor, and each appointment will provide a piece of the
overall picture of your baby’s health. If you have any health issues before you get pregnant, it is crucial that you talk with your doctor about how you are feeling and what medications you are taking. Many medications are not
considered safe during pregnancy, so your doctor may need to suggest alternatives.

5. Consumption and use of alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs can have dire consequences

When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, your newborn may be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
(FASD) which is characterized by poor growth, abnormal facial features and nervous system damage. Smoking
cigarettes can limit the amount of oxygen your baby receives, increase their heartbeat and increase your risk of having a miscarriage or stillbirth. Taking street drugs while pregnant can also have damaging effects on you and your baby, including low birth weight, increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, premature labor and having a baby who is born addicted. If you are addicted to any of these substances, seek help immediately.

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Let Go

(Written in 2010 when trying for no#2)

Well the wait is almost over, and I know that this time we were not so fortunate. A woman can tell and I guess my body was not ready this time.  Even though my blood test is tomorrow I know. I feel calm about it actually when I realized that this was not it, I was sad sure and a little disappointed yet just looking at her beautiful face made me feel on top of the world again. For that I am grateful and I covered her in kisses in gratitude. Being her carer and her teacher is the best thing ever.

No one can tell you how wonderful parenthood is until you have children. It is like that little secret only those who enter that world will know.  She brings sunshine into my day and makes me smile with every little thing she does. I am in awe of her. How clever she is, how she looks at things and processes it, how she stares out and really focuses on it. It is amazing being part of her life, a privilege for sure.  I am a witness to her being and her contribution.

So I am ok with the negative result this time, we have a few more chances left and I will keep optimistic and then just surrender to the universe, what will be will be. I am at peace.

I have accomplished so much in my life already that I am eager to get to the next place, more learning, growing, sharing and contributing. I have decided that we live in such a materialistic world yet we do not need to embrace it wholeheartedly to be really happy, that is just superficial in my eyes. The inner happiness comes from within and radiates out, so I need to keep on my flow of energy and just be humble and grow from that, creating each day with purpose, intent and connection.

The rest will follow, it always does.

Being authentic is not difficult, you just need to stop, be honest with your values and then just follow them like your compass bearing. Sure we get conflicting messages sometimes; they are there to test us to ensure we are being true to ourselves. So it makes you realize of what you want and keep focusing on that, unlike focusing on the pain and what you do not want, giving energy to that just creates more of that so, keep being positive instead.

Simplistic I know, yet it works, why make things harder than they are?

Let go and things happen, that is my lesson for the day.

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Time is Of Essence

No matter how much you want to simplify things, your body has other plans especially when it comes to ovulation and conception. One month you feel great and feel that this is it for trying to conceive and then you realize that your hormones have gone haywire and you need to settle them down. Other times you conceive and it does not implant as it should, giving you a glorious high followed by an empty low.  Normally you may not notice you are a few days late, however when you are on the trying journey you notice everything. Your hormones reek havoc with your emotions, you stay calm yet deep down you feel like your body has let you down. Any doctor will tell you that time is of essence when it comes to conceiving and getting it right. Even fertility doctors when looking at your fertilized eggs, cannot tell from one embryo to the other if this IS THE ONE. This is when human nature just does its’ thing in whatever pattern it so desires there is no formula.

That is right no formula, one month you are fertile and the next you are not. There are just too many variables that no matter how much we want to control, we just cannot. Wishful thinking is just not enough for this delicate precise act. Time is against us, we get older each month and then when our eggs have reached ‘old’ age we are no longer TCC. Then what do we have left?

  • No child
  • Empty heart
  • Nothing to show for it, years of doctor visits, alternative therapies
  • Less in our bank account
  • Emotionally drained, exhausted physically, mentally, financially, spiritually.
  • Exploring other options like donor eggs, donor sperm, surrogacy..

So if this is where you are, you need to formulate a plan B, after all it is not the end of the world, you will move on and it is important to create something else to give you significance and purpose. Recently I came across a couple who had decided ‘enough was enough’ and decided to reinvent their relationship and assess what was really important to them.  They found meaning in doing charity work in less developed countries, working with children to give them that connection that they longed for. Whatever your needs are you need to meet them somehow.

Make a conscious decision to explore all options for creating your own family and also create a backup plan. This way you know in your heart that you have tried everything.

Time is always against us, I really know that as I have just turned 42 years old and this is my last year of trying, I have reached my threshold.

 

Side note:

I wrote this in 2011, my last year of trying, on 21st May 2011 I got my BFP, and the waiting was over.

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Love The World

A client of mine has a new saying ‘I love the world’ as she achieved a major goal in her life and all was finally going her way. What a great attitude to have. When you vibrate from this space only good things happen, how true is that? If you achieve what you set out to do then it is natural to feel good and for some people like my client they just want to hug and love everybody! They want to share their happiness with anybody who will listen and shout it from the roof tops!

Success is sweet that it true especially if you have gone through so much to finally get there the journey does test you in ways you never thought possible. Yet you persisted and you overcame each obstacle even to the point of getting into more financial debt, it also tested your relationships, your mental state, your physical being as you injected hormones after hormones hoping to harvest more viable mature eggs. You did this because this was the way to your miracle,  you knew it was all worth it and the result was all worth it.

How I can relate to you, sometimes you wonder in your midst of madness determination you question if this is the right way? This sheer madness takes you in directions that no one had gone before (well this is what it feels like!) yet you trust your instincts and your inner voice because the alternative is not an option. This is how I felt during our multiple IVF attempts, kept going one after the other hoping desperately that it would work. You tried everything out there, you felt compelled to try, you had no other choice, as you researched on forums all about your ‘condition’ your hope was still there, after every failed cycle you got yourself up the next day, ready to do something else. It consumed you because it mattered so much, and it still does.

You cannot go back you must solider on and pursue this with unrelenting passion at each step. Stopping is not an option, you cannot fathom being childless, it is not the image you have for you and your partner.

How sweet it is to love the world as you embrace your prize.

Your face aches from so much smiling and you feel so alive and grateful that all your wishes have come true, a worthy winner that is for sure. Because you have run your personal marathon, you are now at the other end and cannot wait to start your new life.

Today 10 years on, you still look at her face, in awe how this wonderful, intelligent and beautiful child is so much a part of you, she tests you on so many levels as she discovers the world, and you now her mentor, her guide in life, so grateful for your life is forever changed.

I love you my sweet children.

Your mum xox

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IVF Grows

Nowadays it is more common to find couples who have conceived through IVF. I can believe this as infertility grows currently this is at 1-6 couples having challenges conceiving and in the next decade this will double to 1-3 couples, becoming more of a natural occurrence. Many women wait until their later child bearing years to think about having a family, I know I did. I wanted to be with my life partner first before thinking about children and so it happened in my late 30s before we began trying.

The World Health Organization defines infertility as follows:

 

“Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse (and there is no other reason, such as breastfeeding or postpartum amenorrhoea). Primary infertility is infertility in a couple who have never had a child. Secondary infertility is failure to conceive following a previous pregnancy. Infertility may be caused by infection in the man or woman, but often there is no obvious underlying cause.”

 

Like many women who are focusing on their careers and experiencing life time is not of essence until you really sit down and calculate how many productive years you have left. And many of us have literally have run out of time. This is when IVF/assisted conception can come in. it gives you a choice and can assist you speed up the process especially if you have some challenges male or female related. As I see it, no point blaming your partner if the issue rests with them, it is a couple issue and you need to work as a team to get to your objective of having a baby.

A couple of years ago I was interviewed for a segment on TV, there were four mums with children speaking about their experience of IVF, and it is no longer a taboo subject IVF is very much in the mainstream now.  You read about some celebrity having issues and going through IVF/Surrogacy/Adoption, it helps to get the word out. And it is good to hear other women and bond over our individual journeys as when you are in it, you feel so isolated and raw.  Infertility is a disease; you will suffer stress, anxiety, pain and loss and most of the time you are suffering in silence as you do not tell a soul. Now you can find help and support.

As a Fertility coach my purpose is to help, support and inspire others to achieve their dream to have a healthy baby.

Yes it is an emotional rollercoaster, lots of lows to finally get the ultimate high. A positive pregnancy test, viable pregnancy and 40 weeks later a beautiful, healthy baby!

 

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