THE POWER OF THE MIND/BODY CONNECTION TO CONCEPTION
Presented by: Niravi B. Payne, M.S.
*AT THE FIRST NATIONAL AWARENESS DAY CONFERENCE,
LONDON, JUNE 15, 2002
A new vision in health care is emerging, challenging the age-old
separation of mind and body, which I believe undergirds the reproductive
crisis of today. There is growing evidence that our emotional and
physical health and well-being is affected by the complex interplay of
psychosocial, psychological and physiological factors.
Contrary to popular belief fertility is not determined by one's
age or the number and quality of one's eggs alone. Fertility is a
lifelong relationship with oneself regardless of age or whether or not
one has a biological child. Feeling open and receptive to the
reproductive process has more to do with how we feel about ourselves as
sensual, sexual and fertile beings. And ... how we feel about ourselves
today is largely influenced by unexpressed (often unconscious) thoughts,
emotions, beliefs and behaviors based on unfinished business from
The media's recent inclination to depict women over thirty-five
who want babies as 'desperate' caught up in a 'biological-clock panic',
and having 'wombs that are too old to work' undermines the confidence
and emotional health of millions of women concerning their fertility. It also places undue fear-based pressure on women in their 20's and 30's to have families when they are not ready to do so.
I am quite concerned that under the weight of these judgments
one's natural ability to conceive is sadly being "lost-in-the-shuffle"
of ageist-based statistics, charts and dictums which unnaturally
separate one's emotional life from physiological consequences.
As an international pioneer in Mind/Body reproductive health and
author of "The Fertility Solution: A Revolutionary Mind/Body Process To
Help You Conceive", I have successfully counseled well over a thousand
women and men worldwide, 90% of whom are baby boomers, who either
naturally or in conjunction with medical fertility treatments increased
their opportunity to conceive when they realized that their difficulties
in conception or carrying a pregnancy to term were not necessarily a
medical problem. In broadening their view and allowing themselves to
explore some troublesome and even at times painful issues in their
personal history and current life, they reclaimed their reproductive
I feel we have lost sight of why millions of women throughout the
world deferred childbearing. There were complex social, political, and
psychological factors that gave rise to the Baby Boomers' decision to
delay childbearing, altering the reproductive life patterns familiar to
their parents and thousands of generations before them. This was not a
capricious decision based on "wanting-it-all."
It was born out of a generation that did not want to repeat the
narrowly defined, repressive and often frustrated lives of their mothers
living in the 1950's. They said "no" to early marriage and childbearing
and "yes" to defining and developing themselves. And many mothers of
baby boomers, recognizing the lack of fulfillment and frustration that
characterized their own lives, encouraged their daughters to seek a
college education and professional careers. The sexual revolution of the
60's along with birth control pills and legalized abortion made this
possible. For the first time in history women could take charge of their
reproductive lives. This generation of women, generally healthier than
their mothers were at the same age, have become trailblazers in
challenging the stereotypical view of aging, affecting almost all facets
It should be noted that many of my clients did have at least one
abortion, in their early 20's, about the same time their mothers had
their first child. However, when women felt ready to do so, they were
unaware that their conflicts about childbearing had not been
automatically resolved. Having tasted the joyous gifts of individuation
and personal autonomy in the outer world of business and creativity,
they often expressed fears about loss of autonomy and financial
As Dr. Christiane Northrup points out that, "too often the
standard dualistic western approach to fertility difficulties compounds
the problem by severing one's emotions and mind from the body."
In this exciting era of mind/body research we are discovering how
conflicted feelings impact physiological reactions. Our endocrine,
immune and nervous systems are all intimately connected and influenced
by every thought we think and every emotion we feel.
As a biofeedback specialist, I have reviewed countless scientific
studies that validate the mind/body interconnection and
interdependence. Whether our conscious mind is aware of what we are
feeling or not, our bodies register our reactions. The mind is an
amazing recorder of events and feelings. Every single thing that ever
happened to you is there, somewhere in your memory bank. In a sense, we
have a whole personal history book inside our head. There is a constant
"dialogue" between our thoughts, images, beliefs and feelings that leads
to chemical, hormonal, neurological and muscular changes that can throw
off the delicately balanced hormonal system involved in reproduction.
Hormones released in response to emotional upset, tension or anxiety
disrupts the natural flow of important pituitary gland secretions
necessary to produce and release luteinizing hormone (LH) and
follicle-stimulating hormone (FHS). With the disruption, menstruation
may become irregular or ovulation may be suppressed altogether. Nerve
fibers traveling through the spinal cord also link the brain directly to
the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. In men, because of similar
links between the brain and the reproductive organs, tension can reduce
sex drives and cause impotence.
The release of the male hormone testosterone, which triggers
sperm production, is governed by the hypothalamus-pituitary control
center, which is highly sensitive to emotional tension. Studies link
heightened anxiety with low sperm counts. Emotional tension can be
exacerbated by negative beliefs, behavioral patterns, and conscious and
unconscious damaging thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.
BIRTH OF THE WHOLE PERSON FERTILITY PROGRAM/
THE FERTILITY SOLUTION:
I had no idea that fertility would become my life's work when I
received my degree and began my professional life as a psychotherapist
and biofeedback specialist. In working with biofeedback instruments, I
saw tangible evidence of what I had always believed in my heart: mind
and emotions have the power to affect the body.
The Whole Person Fertility Program was conceived in response to
the urgent need for an integrated mind/body approach to assist women
seeking to become pregnant. This is the first mind/body fertility
program used on its own or in conjunction with medical fertility
treatments which offers a broader view of fertility and is intended to
heal the split between emotions and bodily responses. This powerful
step-by-step process has been responsible for assisting thousands of
women and men in their efforts to conceive as they learn to listen to
their mind/body's inner dialogue.
* Sponsored by CHILD; The National Infertility Support Network, U.K.