The holidays bring up many mixed emotions. There are feelings of excitement, joy and love but his time of year can also stir up a lot of stress, anxiety and sadness. If you’re struggling to conceive or have experienced pregnancy loss it can be a particularly difficult time.
The holidays are hyper focused on children and family. With so much expectation to feel genuine joy around the holidays this can be a very difficult time of year if you’re struggling with fertility issues, grief and loss. Your extended family may or may not know about your struggles to conceive and even the most innocent comments can cut like a knife. Christmas cards, family photos and letters that update you on your friend’s and families’ lives are well intentioned and appreciated but can be a constant reminder that you’re still waiting for your little one…
Here are a few things you can do to take good care of yourself this season:
I hope these tips help get you through the holiday season. Remember to be gentle with yourself and to take time to find joy in the little things. Come back to your breath and the present moment as often as possible. Trust the timing of your life and honor your unique journey. You are truly amazing and you really are doing a wonderful job- I promise.
And with that, I’m sending you lots of love, support and light as we transition into the New Year!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling all the emotions with this full moon…
As you know, women’s bodies are intrinsically connected to the ebb and flow of the moon. Many women either bleed with the new moon or full moon when they’re not on birth control and we often tend to feel naturally more emotional around the full moon. This just goes to show we can try to escape nature (especially on those sub zero days!) but nature cannot escape us.
This full moon may have you feeling more tender and emotional than usual. That can lead you to feel overwhelmed or like you’re spiraling out of control. You may notice obsessive thoughts about challenging things you’re going through in your personal life or find it more difficult to sit back and enjoy the blessings you already have in your life.
As an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and women’s health, I have intimate conversations with my patients about their deepest pains and their greatest joys. A theme that’s been coming up a lot lately is dealing with the grief of a family not coming as easily as you had envisioned it. Many of us are “type A” perfectionists who like to plan out every detail. When you’ve always had a plan and been able to achieve your goals through hard work and persistence, it can be absolutely devastating to realize starting a family doesn’t necessarily follow those same rules.
Let me be brutally honest for a minute. Dealing with fertility struggles or miscarriages absolutely sucks and is completely unfair. There is NOTHING that you did, didn’t do, ate, didn’t eat, etc. that made you ‘deserve’ this. You are not fulfilling some crappy karma, you didn’t do anything wrong and it’s not your fault. Bottom line, sometimes life serves you a hard pill to swallow. You may feel like you’ll never get through it, but you will. Not only will you get through it, but you’ll be a stronger, more compassionate human being who’ll know how to hold space for someone else who really needs it one day. Ultimately, life is constantly shifting and changing and nothing last forever. Sometimes heartbreaking things happen that are simply out of your control.
Sometimes all you can do is keep showing up for yourself. You are stronger than you think. I promise.
Here are a few things you can do to support yourself if you are struggling:
As always, take what works and leave the rest. These are the things that I come back to time and time again. You may have your own tips and tricks. And if you do, I’d love to hear what they are.
Remember: Life is a journey and we’re all in it together. You’re not alone. It is my pleasure and honor to be on this journey with you.
I hope I see you soon for a needle nap. :)
Sending you love and light,
I love this beautiful image and post by Duvet Days showing the intimate connection between the moon and menstrual cycles. Duvet Days is a fantastic organization that uses beautiful designs to support those affected by rape and domestic abuse. The designs help to create empowerment through awareness, self discovery, space for self-love.
MENSTRUAL PHASE / NEW MOON (day 1-5)⠀⠀
The uterus sheds the inner lining of soft tissue and blood vessels which exits our bodies in the form of menstrual fluid through the vagina.⠀⠀
FOLLICULAR PHASE / WAXING MOON (day 1-13)⠀⠀
During this stage the follicles in the ovaries mature and ends with ovulation. The main hormone controlling this stage is estradiol. ⠀⠀
OVULATION PHASE / FULL MOON (day 14)⠀⠀
The pituitary gland secretes a hormone that causes our ovaries to release a matured egg which flows into the fallopian tube on the 14th day of our cycle. ⠀⠀
LUTEAL PHASE / WANING MOON (day 15-28)⠀⠀
This stage happens after ovulation and before the menstrual phase. The egg that is released during the ovulation phase stays in the fallopian tube for 24 hours. During this time the lining of your uterus normally gets thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy or if sperm does not impregnate the egg within that time, the egg disintegrates and ends with the menstrual phase.⠀⠀
©2017 Designs By Duvet Days / All Rights Reserved⠀⠀
Do You Really Have Anxiety or is There Something Else Going On?
Q: “I’ve been feeling so anxious and irritable lately. What is my problem? I have no idea what’s wrong with me.”
A: In my personal life, and through working with many women who experience anxiety, I have come to believe that anxiety and irritability can often present as surface emotions that result from repressed grief.
Here’s a personal story I want to share with you…
Over the summer my Grandmother passed away. I knew it would be hard to lose her, but I tried to tell myself that it would be okay. She lived a long life, she had a loving family, she was old and she was ready to go…
When I got the news that she had passed away, I was on a date with my husband. We were sitting in the sun on a beautiful patio enjoying dinner. Immediately, tears flooded my eyes but I pushed them back. I was in public and didn’t want people to see me crying. At her funeral, I was surrounded with family. We cried, shared memories of her, and felt the heartbreak of losing someone who was so very special to us.
After her funeral, I returned to work and my regular routine right away. Life moves so quickly that I didn’t really have time to grieve. As the days passed, I felt myself becoming more and more anxious and irritable. I was snapping at my family, my heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest, my thoughts were racing and scattered. I was exhausted but couldn’t fall asleep at night. I felt like a terrible mess.
I remember saying to myself, “What is wrong with me?! I don’t even know what my problem is!” I started to go down that ugly road of beating myself up in my head.
But then I stopped…
I got out my yoga mat. My thought was maybe I just needed to do some yoga to calm down. I stood there for a minute trying to get up the motivation to move my body. Suddenly, I felt exhausted and just laid down on my mat.
Then, the tears came. My first instinct was to stop them, push them down and get on with my day. But I didn’t. This time, I let them come. First just a tear or two fell down my face. Before I knew it, an ocean opened up inside me, and I sobbed and sobbed for the deep loss that I felt.
As I cried, I began to realize I was not only crying about losing my Grandmother, but also about other past hurts and difficult losses I had not given enough time or attention to. I let myself cry for a long time that day. I decided this time I would allow myself as much time to grieve as I needed. I wouldn’t put any timeline or expectations on when I was supposed to feel better.
Over the summer, I spent many days just letting tears fall whenever they came. I was gentle with myself. I allowed myself to let some things go undone and I said “no” to things I would have typically felt obligated to do. I took time to sit with my grief and let things be just as they were.
As the weeks past I eventually began to feel better, not perfect, but better. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me. It was such a sense of relief. It felt like I could breathe again. My anxiety was gone, I was sleeping better and I was being gentle with my family and myself. Yes, I was sad. But sadness softens with time, and I knew I would be okay.
Mother Moon exists because I wanted to create a place for true and genuine healing for the body, mind and spirit. I think one of the most important parts of healing is being willing to be honest with yourself. You have to learn to be kind and loving towards yourself. This is a skill we develop over time, with practice.
Healing is not always pretty; sometimes it’s downright ugly for a while. But it’s all part of the process…and that’s okay. Grief can be a scary thing to explore. Sometimes it feels like if you really let yourself go there, you might never come back…but you will. There are always hidden treasures, growth and great beauty in grief.
Here are a few tips for working with grief and anxiety:
Sharing our stories shines light into dark places…
One of the most amazing parts of my job is that I get the honor of hearing so many women’s stories. Hearing your stories always leaves me in awe of how strong and resilient women are. It reminds me that we are not alone in our struggles.
Are you interested in participating in a free Fertility Support Group at Mother Moon?
I’ve been thinking about creating a support group for Mother Moon patients struggling with fertility and sexual health. I would love to know if any of you are interested in connecting with other strong and amazing women at Mother Moon. I think it would be amazing if you had to opportunity to meet each other, share your stories and inspire one another as much as you have inspired me!
Here are a few ideas I’m kicking around:
I want us to build this together. I would LOVE to hear any ideas you have!
I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather, getting lots of time in the sun and connecting with nature.
I’ve been enjoying a relaxing summer with my family and friends, spending long days at the lake, riding my bike and reading lots of good books. I’m also giving myself permission to take a slower pace (hence no Ask Mother Moon last month) and it feels really good!
So many of you send your friends, family, and co-workers my way and I wanted to find a way to thank you. I truly appreciate your personal vote of confidence in Mother Moon Acupuncture.
When you’ve experienced first-hand the healing power of Traditional Chinese Medicine, you know how valuable it is to invest in your personal health. You often ask if I can help your friend, husband, sister or co-worker with their health issues. The answer is…absolutely! I will always make time to treat your loved ones and I’m happy to chat with them to answer any questions they might have about my treatment approach and how acupuncture can help them achieve their health goals.
Introducing Mother Moon’s Share the Love Program!
From now through October 1st, 2017, when you refer a new patient to Mother Moon Acupuncture, your friend will receive 15% off of their first treatment and you will receive a $15 credit that can be used for any product or service at Mother Moon.
In order to qualify for the Share the Love Program, the patient must be new to Mother Moon. Once your referred new patient has completed their initial visit, your account will be credited and can be used at any time!
When you refer a new patient to Mother Moon you can be confident that they will be genuinely cared for and treated as an individual, not a number. My goal is to promote true healing through acupuncture, herbal medicine, lifestyle guidance and food therapy. This holistic approach to health gives you and your loved ones the tools to get to the root of the issue, heal naturally, and thrive!
Thank you for your continued support and referrals, I appreciate it more than you know!
Sending you lots of love and light,
This formula is for a patient who is trying to conceive. It supports the reproductive (kidney) energy, improves digestion, and has calming herbs to soothe anxiety.
Raw herbal formulas are valuable because we have the ability to build a formula that is specific for the patient's individual needs.
When treating fertility we often change the formula based on where a woman is in her cycle. There are four phases of the cycle: Period | Follicular | Ovulation | Luteal. This formula is for support during the luteal phase.
Artist unknown- please comment if you know!
Sometimes life brings us storms, situations we can't understand, pain, difficulties and struggles that never seem to end.
At times like these it's helpful to tune into this...exact...moment...
Ask yourself "is everything okay RIGHT...NOW...?"- The answer is almost always yes.
Tune into your breath, notice how wonderful it feels to simply breath.
Listen to the sounds around you. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment.
It's such a relief to just be here now. You can drop the pain and suffering of the past, you can let go of your fear and anxieties about the future.
Right now, in this very moment is where you live. You live in the moment that you sip your tea, watch the rain falling on the trees, with every step you take on this beautiful earth. Each breath you take is a precious gift in itself. This very moment we are surrounded by infinite beauty and perfection, the challenge is to slow down enough to notice.
Ask Mother Moon
Q: “I know you’re always encouraging me to slow down but my life is really busy and it’s hard for me. What do you do for self-care?”
A: First of all, it’s really important to acknowledge we live in an incredibly fast paced society that values achievement over everything else including health and well-being. It can be really hard to slow down and relax. When you do take the time to rest, that critical little voice in your head can start to tell you that you’re being lazy or non-productive.
Today I want to personally give you permission to slow down. I know that sounds silly but hey, someone needs to do it! Even as an acupuncturist and a person who teaches others how to live a healthier more balanced life, life gets real. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right balance between work and rest. Keep in mind none of us are perfect and acknowledge that your needs will change based on your circumstances. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to slow down and take good care of myself.
One of the most important skills I’ve learned (and am still working on) is the willingness to say “no." I’m a people pleaser by nature, a healer, and a woman, So it’s no surprise I like to make others happy. As women we naturally tend to be caretakers but it has also been drilled into us from a very young age to “be a nice girl.” There’s nothing wrong with making other people happy as long as you aren’t sacrificing your own happiness in the process. If you’re stressed out, overworked or just not in the mood to do something, give yourself permission to say, "no." It feels good. When you’re true to yourself instead of trying to please others, you'll have more to give when it feels right.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 20 years now. In the past I used to think that I really needed to have a daily practice in order to get the full benefits of the practice and I considered restorative classes a waste of time. I tried again and again to meet the goal of having a daily practice but always failed as my cycle started. I used to beat myself up for being lazy or not being able to keep my commitment to a daily practice but over the years I have become much more in-tune with my menstrual cycle and the natural ebbs and flows of my energy levels each month. Now I take a much more relaxed approach to my yoga practice and keep my focus on listening to what my body needs each day rather than setting strict goals for myself.
I currently practice yoga 1-3 times a week depending on what my energy level is and where I am in my cycle. On my high energy days (usually after my period has ended through a few days before my period starts) I choose more intense vinyasa style classes. On low energy days I choose restorative or yin style classes. If I feel really tired or I have my period I allow myself to rest instead of pushing myself to go to class. When my appetite increases around the beginning of my period I eat lots of yummy nourishing foods and never count calories.
Meditation & Breathwork-
I love meditation and breathing techniques because anyone can use these practices, they’re free and you can do them anywhere. If you’re new to meditation and breathwork I recommend starting with a guided practice. A great local resource is Common Ground Meditation Center or a local yoga studio that offers guided meditation and breathwork classes. I’m always amazed at how transforming a few minutes of intentional breathing or meditation can be. This is a practice I will use for the rest of my life.
Let me just say, I take my self-care seriously! Haha! It’s really important to me because it helps me be the best partner, mom, friend and acupuncturist I can be. When I let my self-care slip everyone suffers the consequences! I’m less present in my day, my stress level goes up, my sleep gets out of wack and my mood gets worse. After years of putting others needs before my own I am now a proud self-care junkie and I hold absolutely no guilt about taking good care of myself! Here’s my monthly routine:
I get a monthly Mayan Abdominal Massage, which helps keep my menstrual cycle and digestion healthy. I absolutely love this therapy and highly recommend checking it out. It’s great for menstrual irregularities, fertility, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, digestion and getting in touch with the awesome power of your magical uterus! I go to Sarah Wilkinson at Take Time For Yourself Massage on 48th & Chicago and I love her.
I LOVE this concept! Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Nordic word that means “a feeling of coziness.” The Nordic region experiences the same kind of weather patterns we experience here in MN. Long, cold, dark winters call for warmth, joy and light. Hygge is about laughing and eating with family and friends, connecting with nature year-round, and intentionally enjoying the little pleasures in life. We’ve been intentionally bringing more hygge into our lives and it’s been really uplifting. Here are a few ways to bring more hygge into your life:
I hope these self-care tips inspire you to slow down, listen to the wise voice within, and honor what your body needs each and every day.
Mother Moon is thrilled to welcome Crystal as our new Administrative Assistant. Crystal will be helping our clinic run smoothly by assisting patients with scheduling, processing herb orders and implementing other important behind the scenes work.
Crystal is kind, compassionate and all around wonderful. She's the perfect addition to our team and we're very lucky to have her!
Meghan E. Loginov