On Friday morning I received a text from a reflexology client asking if she could pop round and drop off a Christmas present for me. She arrived, heavily pregnant and with child number one in tow, and I was immediately transported back to the first time we met; when she sat in front of me and told me all about her struggle to conceive.
I’ve been specialising in fertility reflexology for something like 9 years now and I empathise. I know that as soon as you acknowledge that it’s taking longer than you thought it would (and even though your logical brain tells you that these things often take time) you start feeling the pressure. All of a sudden everyone around you appears to be effortlessly pregnant and whilst you’re naturally pleased for them, you can’t help feeling a little envious. Then you have another stick to beat yourself with. Not only are you not pregnant despite trying your absolute hardest, but you’re now avoiding your pregnant friends because it just hurts too much. Sex starts to become a chore rather than a pleasure and every month you feel more and more disappointed. A failure at one of the most natural things in the world.
We just don’t talk about it
Despite the fact that around one in seven couples (3.5 million people in the UK) struggle to conceive, we just don’t talk about this stuff. This can lead to feelings of isolation, anger and resentment. There are sources of online support, such as Fertility Friends, but not everyone is an online support kind of person. I’ve had clients who have made great friends through this particular website, and others who can’t handle reading about the journeys of others (this doesn’t make them selfish by the way, just human). Also, because we don’t talk about it, people just can’t help putting their foot in it can they? “You’ve been married for three years now, when are you going to start trying for a baby then?”. Ouch!
The medical approach
Most GPs won’t start referring you for tests until you’ve been trying to conceive for at least a year. In the current climate, when our healthcare system is stretched so far, this makes economic sense because even the healthiest/most youthful of couples can take up to a year to conceive. It’s a bloody long time to wait though, isn’t it?
Once you’re in the system, in Leeds at least, the process is fairly swift. The diagnostic approach is generally very effective and if there is anything awry, you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few months to find out. Sadly though, so many couples are pushed down the IVF route, especially where there’s no obvious explanation for their inability to conceive. This seems counter-intuitive to me.
“There’s no apparent reason for your difficulties so we’re going to send you straight to the highest level of intervention that we have to offer.”
Don’t get me wrong I think that IVF is a marvellous thing, but from experience with many of my clients it’s just unnecessary when all they really need is a little more time and a little less anxiety.
This is where I think Reflexology may help
I offer my clients the time and space to talk about what they’re going through; to offload to a stranger who empathises, knows quite a lot about their struggle and cares about them on a personal level, not just about success rates.
I’ve gathered a lot of information over the years about the reproductive process and am always happy to share what I know, or direct my clients to resources where they can find the answers to their questions, but most importantly of all I offer them a safe and nurturing space away from the pressures of ttc (trying to conceive, for those who aren’t familiar with the acronym), as well as all the other pressures that they face in this fast-paced world of ours.
Your time with me can be spent in exactly the way you want it to. If you want to talk, talk. If you want to close your eyes and drift, drift. While you’re doing what you want to do, I will prod, poke, massage and soothe all of the important reflexes in your feet in an attempt to restore balance and harmony in your mind and body.
And support you in your journey…
That is what I do.