Pilates, Yoga & My IVF Experience
As I am sitting drinking a tea 5 days into my 2-week wait, I have only just been able to get back to my full exercise regime. Last week was so limiting, challenging, painful and an experience I do not wish for any couple. When I could not reach for my mat to move as a way of feeling better, it really made me realise how much movement has helped me this entire journey. Discovering fertility-specific yoga and pairing that with gentle Pilates (for my strength) was my refuge.
During this period of huge emotional expenditure, Pilates and Yoga were (and still are) my safe space where in the studio I was back in charge of my own body. I could enjoy feeling the freedom of movement and breath. I was back in control.
If there is one thing I could give to every woman going through IVF – it would be the ability to give them back some power and understanding over their bodies. Providing yourself a “holding space” for an hour to just be yourself and to be with yourself is an incredibly grounding and settling experience. themselves with themselves. The time I have spent on my mat since the beginning of June has included fertility – supporting movement, encouraging health blood-flow to the pelvis, uterus, ovaries and our hearts. I have spend the month with myself in every practice appreciating, forgiving, loving and yes, maybe even hating what I was experiencing. I turned the outside world off for an hour and really listened to my body, to help my body and help our future family. Without this movement and visualisation there are days I would have broken down from the stress, worry, excess hormones, fatigue and wanting.
To all the other women out there, it is ok to have negative feelings about the process. We want the results but the getting there can be traumatic and mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting and it is OK to say that. There should be no stigma attached. You may have to have IVF, it doesn’t mean you have to pretend you are enjoying the process, it can take its toll on both partners and anything that can help reduce the stress is hugely valuable.
Women should and can empower other women with support, knowledge and experience and this counts as part of that conversation. The conversation of IVF should not be one that is limited to your doctor or your family (unless that is what you choose), however this negative stigma needs to be lifted and changed.
Once I was able to hold a happy, positive and supporting place for myself on the mat, to gain the control back – the process
became easier. Taking the medicine was no longer a chore but rather than experience. I turned those injections into moments with my husband, or turned to my pups when he was away. I learned to say no when I was not feeling well, and I stopped apologising when I was looking bloated (or nearly 4 months pregnant after my retrieval). To anyone looking to move during their IVF process or after egg retrieval / embryo transfer, I encourage you to reach out and chat with me. I would love to share the experience!!
Anne & future baby Wright