This is a guest post by the lovely Elle Griffin (my period party co-host)
There’s a scene in Bruce Almighty that I just can’t help but relate to. Given all the powers of God, the one thing Bruce can’t do is mess with free will. That doesn’t stop him from trying. At one point, desperate for the one thing he actually wants, he stands in front of his girlfriend begging her to take him back. “LOVE ME!” he shouts. But his powers are limited.
This is how I feel in my job all day every day. I work with such beautiful unmined gems. All of you are unique treasures and I want nothing more than to tuck you under my arm and nurse you back to health. The problem (and the solution) is that it isn’t up to me, it’s up to you. I absolutely cannot write you a prescription to solve whatever ails you. Only you can.
Sure I can give you the basics. I can tell you what foods will support your unique hormonal imbalances, I can provide you with meditations that will help you conceive. I can even tell you all the scientific backing for everything that has been proven in randomized trials to “work”. But at the end of the day only you can heal yourself. Only you know what you are starving for in life, what version of malnutrition you are experiencing. And only you can take steps in your life to heal it.
As a coach this can be severely frustrating. The women I work with want it all to be about food. It’s controllable, rationable. It’s something we can take charge of. But emotional and spiritual changes don’t work like that. So many times, when working with a client I just want to say: “If you would just dump that boyfriend you hate, sex might feel a heck of a lot better!” or “If you could just let yourself eat a chocolate chip cookie, your ovaries will heal” But it isn’t up to me to make those decisions. Nor do I even know if they are the right ones. Only you do.
The absolute best thing I can do, in working with you, is to help you unlock your own inner wisdom. That part of you that knows where you’re hurting, that knows what needs nourished, but just might not know how exactly that relates to their endocrine health. It might not be measurable, or even completely explainable. But your body knows what it needs.
In my own body, my eating habits are a constant, but my menstrual cycles know exactly when I’m lonely, scared, or criticized. And that’s why I know, that no matter how much I read, grow, and learn, it is absolutely vital for me to work with a coach that understands that and to mentor under someone who can help me unlock that. And that’s what I hope to provide to you as well.
The absolute most vital part of everything I do, is the coaching. If I handed you a checklist of how to eat and what to do, you’d do it, and you’d feel better, but you wouldn’t heal. In coaching sessions I have the opportunity to explore with you until we get at what’s really causing those hormonal symptoms. For one women it was feeling trapped- she ovulated for the first time in a year the day she quit her job. For another woman it was feeling unloved, her cycle regulated the moment she realized she was pushing her boyfriend away. Your body is smart and it knows when something is wrong. Which is why we need to change the mindset of hormonal health. We need to stop thinking like a diagnostician, picking apart our periods and taking different supplements for different imbalances. Instead we need to start thinking like the intuitive women we are, addressing those needs that are going unmet.
Often we want to diagnose the symptoms of what ails us without ever truly getting at the cause. Thankfully, there are some clues as to which emotional hurdles may be causing your hormonal imbalances. Start the conversation with yourself to address what may be triggering your amenorrhea, polycystic ovaries, and hypothyroidism.
Anovulation or Amenorrhea
Control, perfectionism, self-pressure, harsh inner critic. These are words I hear every day from my healthy, beautiful, amenorrheic clients. These women have a vocabulary loaded with “I shoulds,” and not nearly enough “I’m allowed tos.” She blames her body for not responding to all her efforts, and forgets to thank it for keeping her alive. Lacking a compassionate language of self-love, many women try to earn their worth through exercise and eating healthy. Receiving constant criticism (either from herself or others), her endocrine system shuts down in an effort to protect her precious nervous system.
By taking a step back, most of these women might realize they’re trying too hard. That by giving themselves permission to break their own rules they can stop putting so much pressure on themselves and heal their hormonal imbalances. That they don’t “have” to do all the things they are packing into their already busy schedules. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable in your own skin. Do you feel worthy? Loved?
Polycystic Ovaries or PCOS
There’s a reason PCOS has become an epidemic in cultures where women are oppressed. On a subconscious level, feelings of inferiority or weakness associated with how a woman feels in her skin can trigger endocrine responses. Symptoms can include excess facial hair, acne, and half-cooked eggs that just can’t make it through the ovaries. These symptoms signal an imbalance between feminine and masculine energies. Tipped in a more masculine direction, the sufferer’s endocrine system follows suit and takes on a more androgynous approach to reproduction.
Ask yourself if you’ve ever tried to stop tears because you felt that showing emotion would be a sign of weakness? Have you ever exercised with the intent of achieving peak physical fitness? Have you ever worked a 50 or 60-hour work week to make a name for yourself? What feels “not good enough” in your life? What are you trying to make up for?
Underactive Thyroid or Hypothyroidism
I absolutely love the thyroid gland because it’s like the reigning goddess of all your reproductive hormones. Without this lady intact, the rest of the system suffers: Menstrual cycles go missing and pregnancies miscarry. But the fact that the thyroid is situated right up against your voice box is no accident. Imbalances of the thyroid often result when women aren’t speaking their truth.
Because we tend to bury our deepest desires, this one often takes several coaching sessions to get to, but when thyroid hormones are low this is always the first place I look. Ask yourself if you’re living your true calling? If not, what’s holding you back? Learn what’s keeping you from living your truest life and you’ll begin to unravel the emotional causes of your thyroid distress so you can get back to baby making (if, when all is said and done, this is truly what you want).
Write Your Own Prescription
These are big questions with big answers and only you know if these are the right ones to ask. But by diving right into what’s causing your hormonal disturbances, you can heal your body in a beautiful way. Start each day with some tea and a journal, and let yourself write freely for three pages. Through journaling, or working with a coach, you can start unraveling the barriers that are stopping you from living your fertile life!
Image Credit: Gate at Fort George by Graham on Flickr
Hi! I’m Elle! I am a natural fertility expert and feminine vitality coach in gorgeous Marin County, California. I believe fertility is about more than just making babies. It’s about creating this rich, fertile soil in which anything can grow. Whether that’s a baby, a business, or a dream, I love nothing more than helping you give birth to a life of pure passion, pleasure and possibility!