How to Cultivate Well-Being While Building Your Family
by Jenilyn Gilbert
I am going to share about the talk given by Richard Miller, the creator of irest, a form of yoga nidra or yogic sleep. This was truly a fascinating conference especially learning how other professionals blend body-mind techniques into helping others.
A couple of weekends ago I attended a yoga therapy conference which blended my two professions of social work and yoga beautifully.
I’m not sure how many women think about infertility, and the losses associated with it as trauma, but sometimes even naming it as such can bring a level of healing. As a yogi and psychotherapist, Richard Miller has worked specifically with vets returning from war, homeless people, and victims of sex trafficking (this is scheduled to go out on Veteran’s Day, thank you or your partners for those who have served in the military). As I was listening to him describe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) I was thinking about my fertility challenged clients and how similar their experiences were to these aforementioned populations. I believe that many women who experience reproductive trauma also have PTSD.
PTSD is a mental health condition, which is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, or severe anxiety. For a lot of people who have experienced trauma they may experience temporary difficulty with coping in the world, but over time and with self-care techniques they usually get better. However, if the symptoms worsen or last for months or years, or disrupt your daily routines, you may have PTSD. 1
For a woman who may have experienced a miscarriage it may look like this…she avoids the hospital where she received her ultrasound, which delivered heartbreaking news. She may feel hopeless about how many years she has been trying to build her family. She may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, or may feel numb. She may be surprised that her initial feelings of sadness turn into anger, irritability or feelings of shame for her body not working like she’d like it to. She may not like the person she has become. 1
If any of the above sounds like your experience, I posted some links a couple of weeks ago on resources for women who are healing from difficult birth experiences and perinatal loss, but these professionals can work with you if you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD too. Whether or not you experience PTSD symptoms, the following questions, created by Miller, can bring a sense of well-being in a rather short time frame. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions. (it’s supposed to be 6 questions. I somehow got 7…it still works).
1. Where do you feel well-being in your body?
2. Where is the outermost border of this sensation and where is the inner most center?
3. What is your sense of past or future?
4. In this experience of well-being do you lack or need for anything?
5. Is this feeling of well-being familiar or unfamiliar?
6. Did it take special circumstances to feel into well-being?
7. What words would I use to describe this feeling of well-being today?
Those of you currently working with me know that I now use these seven questions to prepare you for a deeper exploration of your inner feelings. It is recommended that you ask these questions several times a day to get the full experience. Rather than meditating for 20 minutes a day, re-engaging with your natural state of being throughout the day is a more useful practice. Let me know what changes when you ask these questions.
|| Mayo Clinic Staff, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” Mayo Clinic, October 25, 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967