Yesterday I went for my first hypnofertility session. I had been contemplating trying this out for a long time now, but never could really seem to wrap my head around it. Growing up, Western medicine was always used and I think I don't believe in the more traditional types of healing although, I am staring to come around. It was a hard decision for me deciding which practitioner to use, but after a lot of soul searching, questioning and research I made the decision to stay local and have a face to face with someone here in Toronto.
My schedule is so crazy right now with work, twice weekly acupuncture, weekly counseling as well as my volunteer commitments, that finding time for another appointment is a daunting task into itself, but I managed to find a practitioner that works on weekends so that reduced the stress.
Once I made the appointment, Shawn (the hypnotherapist) sent over a form to fill out about my medical history with infertility and there was something like two lines to answer, what medical procedures have you tried and what were the outcomes? Seriously, I could have filled out two pages not two lines, but I managed to put the bare minimum (4 IUI and 3 IVF- all BFN). She also sent over a list of suggested mediation phrases that I was to look over and select 10-20 that applied to me. While reading these suggestions, I found myself yet again questioning. Some of them were so silly to me and I just couldn't understand how this would help me. It took a long time to go back to those phrases, but I was finally able to narrow down my selection to about fifteen that touched me in some way.
I did not know what to expect when entering the office. Walking in to the home office, I became very nervous. I entered and saw a large couch and two recliner chairs. I sat in the recliner and waited for Shawn. She was friendly and I think could sense my anxiety/nervousness and worked with me accordingly. The two hour session was divided into three parts. The first part of the session was the most difficult for me. This was where she taught me Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). The basic premise of the technique is tapping pressure points (like in acupuncture) while repeating phrases like "Even though I have this ____________ (i.e. upset / anxiety / sadness / worry, etc), I deeply and completely love and accept myself". She would give me sentences for me to repeat while she taught me the technique. I was ok at the beginning until the sentences revolved around the word baby. This word struck a cord and I instantly became overwhelmed and found myself crying...a lot. It took a good five minutes at least to regain control and be able to continue with the session. Why did that word cause such an emotional response? Was it because this is getting real and I may actually get to have one? Or because deep down I believe that I may not? Or because when I think of infertility, I don't think about toddlers or teenagers, but of only babies? For whatever reason, she was able to use this response to further our work together.
The second session was more intense. Before we began she asked me how I was feeling about my infertility and I came up with this:
I decided that I needed to work on my anxiety first. The way I see it, I have thousands of thoughts a day that go back and forth from being successful to failure and this is where I need to get my head in the game. I need to be in a positive frame of mind so that I can actually believe I have a chance. I truly believe that if I achieve a more positive outlook, the other feelings will diminish (not go away completely, but reduce). Here I was not under in a full hypnosis manner, but had my eyes closed and followed her voice (like listening to a meditation CD). I remember hearing her voice and trying to visualize what she was instructing me to do. I felt almost like I was faking it at some points, because I am not sure if I could really see what she wanted, but I tried. Apparently, I am very comfortable with this type of therapy. She told me that I was able to let her in to places that take some people a few sessions to get to. I have to admit that I am surprised by this. I didn't realize that I had done that. I mean, I remember some parts of the conversation and they were definitely intense, and not things that I usually think of, but still. I do admit that when I awoke from this session, I felt a bit lighter and more relaxed.
The last session was the hypnosis. The lights were off, I was reclining on the comfy chair with a blanket and soft music was in the background. Here again, her calming voice soothed me into a deep state of relaxation. I remember hearing bits and parts of her words, but nothing specific. I may have even fell asleep for a part of it (which she told me was ok), but what I do remember were the code words. She gave me two code words: Relax and Success. I am to say these words to myself when I think about the cycle and am on the table waiting for the transfer and should feel some relief. Apparently, they will trigger a response I had during the hypnosis and help me regain a sense of calm.
When the session was over, I felt a bit better. Am I cured...no. I felt lighter. I felt more positive. I felt like she did something and it is beginning to work. I was probably one of her more skeptical patients and I feel like I made a baby step to believing in hypnotherapy. Shawn gave me some strategies to use at home or work when I am feeling down or anxious and I am going to try and do them. I decided that I am going to see her two more times. Once before I go to Denver for the transfer and once more when I return during the waiting period.
For a first introduction to hypnosis, I was surprised at how emotional I would feel, how open I would become and how my mood would suddenly change. I am proud of myself for taking what I see as a big leap of faith.