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Grief and Fertility Challenges: Part 2



So we’re going to continue with grief and fertility challenges, and let’s go to the slides. Then there are the women who are diagnosed with secondary infertility.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, this is Dr. Martha Lucas, and we are going to today continue with the presentation on grief and fertility challenges. So if you didn’t get to see the last presentation, the first part of this, make sure you go back and watch it. I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for hosting this webinar and remind you that.

I have a private practice in Denver, Colorado, and Littleton, Colorado, and I am happy for you to contact me if you have any questions about this presentation. So we’re going to continue with grief and fertility challenges, and let’s go to the slides. Then there are the women who are diagnosed with secondary infertility.

Now, this is a little bit of a nebulous term, and it means these women have had a successful pregnancy. They’ve given birth, but they are struggling to get pregnant. I. The second time, and it’s interesting to them because they’re like shocked. What happened? I had a baby already. I, and statistics show that once you have a pregnancy, once you give, have a successful birth, that your chances of getting pregnant are higher.

The second time, but there is this thing called secondary infertility where women have a little bit of a hard time getting pregnant that second time. Now why? Did they get, have some scarring on the fallopian tubes? Did they have a previous C-section that led to some scarring? The causes can be varied.

And grief can also become a factor in grieving the idea that their child doesn’t have a sibling. Because again, I’ve worked with many women who only have one child. They, for some health reason or whatever, they couldn’t have another child, and so they have a layer of grief about I wanted to have more than one child.

My whole life, all I thought about was being a mother and having a . Whole slew of kids around. I want my child to have a playmate. Some people feel sorry for their only child. They feel like maybe they’re lonely. They don’t have anybody to walk to school with. They have to play by themselves, and all of that can increase their grief.

They can grieve who they used to. To be before their diagnosis. Now, it seems that everything is about appointments that you have to set up, you have to show up for, you have to infuse all your energy into all of these processes and procedures, and sometimes all of this. Grief, just even generalized grief, not even fertility.

Challenge grief can take away the comfort that we used to get in the little things like taking a walk or meeting a friend for lunch or reading, going to a coffee shop, or going to a park and reading. And then even the bigger things, not being happy at family gatherings in with grief sometimes, especially longstanding grief.

It. It just takes away the satisfaction or joy that you get in what used to be joyful experiences. Sometimes women who used to pursue hobbies or their passions are now too tired, too distracted, or too sad to do those things that used to bring them joy. They feel like they used to be a generally happy, optimistic, hopeful person, but now they feel like a shell over their formal.

Former selves, they say they watch those things in life happen. Like they’re watching them on a TV screen, they’re not really experiencing them. They’re in the room, they’re in the family event, but inside they are not experiencing the happiness of the event. They want to engage in life the way they used to before they had to start their infertility treatment, but they just can’t do it.

They just long for their pre. Diagnosis self, but the grief just takes over. Now what about the woman who suffers through recurrent pregnancy losses? This includes what is called a chemical pregnancy, which the pregnancy test results get lighter over time. I. Hormone levels go down and then, and sometimes unfortunately, that first promising ultrasound ends in a loss, losing a child and deciding to continue with pregnancy treatments can be the most excruciating emotional experience that a woman or a couple can have.

They for them. It seems like the losses go on and on. The things to grieve go on and on. So this is partly what we need to support people through when they’re going through this in their fertility treatment. And unfortunately, infertility is lonely. Even though you have a million appointments and you seem to have a support system, all of that does not take away that grief of trying to have or grow a family.

The wonderful support does not inherently change the circumstances of the woman plus the woman. You know it, we all want support, right? But. Part of the problem with the support is the person feeling like she’s constantly explaining what part of the process are you in right now? Or feel the myriad of responses of people saying, oh how did that go for you?

How did that last treatment turn out? Constant answering questions about what’s going on with your treatment. Where are you in the process? Are you going to do it again? There’s all of that, that even though support is good, having a support system is good. Part of a support system is having to talk about it.

And then of course the drugs, a lots of them cause powerful treatment effects, which is a good thing. But they also have strong side effects. For example, oral birth control pills. Can have very powerful side effects. And the rate of depression in women taking birth control pills is five to 50% being more common, most common in the progesterone dominant formulas.

So what does it mean in Chinese medicine? How are the organs involved? The liver is known to regulate the flow of chi and emotions. We all know that the commander of qi, it stores blood and regulates substances. Emotions cause physical disease. How? Through stagnation. Through stagnation, that causes deficiency through stagnation that causes excess.

Through the deficiency of blood. For example, the liver, blood, heart, blood, the heart governs blood and stores the she emotional stress can make heart, blood and yin deficients. See, thereby of course, there we find the shen is disturbed. The emotions are disturbed and important for fertility challenges.

Blood flow to the uterus becomes compromised. Spleen helps make digestion work well. We need the digestion to make good blood in order for us to have a successful pregnancy because digestion, that doesn’t work well and worry. Remember, in a previous , Presentation I was talking about how worry makes the digestive pulses go backwards.

All of that disrupts the flow of chi in the earth, in the center, in the spleen and stomach pulses, and that is again going to negatively affect blood flow to the uterus. Worries effect on the spleen also can lead to poor appetite, fatigue, sleeplessness, brain fog. And again, all of those are gonna be a negative effect on the woman who’s trying to get pregnant.

Grief gets stuck in the lungs so the immune system is affected and the flow of Q throughout the body can be compromised because that is part of the lungs. Job right now, you’ll recall that spleen and stomach, earth and metal lung, large intestine are the immune system. So that’s why if the lung pulse is stagnated or short because of grief, then the whole immune system can be compromised.

And again, if the lungs can’t manage the flow of Q and blood, then you’re gonna have a negative effect in the uterus. The lungs are about taping in the new and letting go of the old, but old grief and continuing grief can get stuck in the lung pulses. Some people lose the ability to connect their inside world with the outside world, and metal is about that communication.

The release of grief is essential to allowing the body to heal and get the communication with the inside and outside going again. Otherwise, the person is what we call armored. They become very heavy because of their heavy emotional burden. Grief can be separating, isolating, and it can be cutting them off from their

Relationships with the rest of the world and an important message for people who are experiencing grief is it’s okay to feel your grief. You don’t have to hold it in, as I said, and any one of you have taken a class from me, know that I tell people emotions have to be expressed. You must let them out.

You can’t leave them in ’cause they’re gonna mess up your chi. Mess up the flow of oxygen and blood in your body. And I tell them it’s okay to use your voice while you’re crying. The frontal lobe, our San Jou area will go round and round and round and round and round when you cry in silence with the same message over and over and over and over again.

But when you use your voice, when you’re grieving and crying, that . Cuts off that San Jal frontal lobe running around in a circle. So it is okay to feel your grief and it is okay to use your voice in your grief. So here’s in a, here’s a little bit of a picture of what the lung large intestine pulse might feel like.

You, it might feel like . The lung large intestine, pulse is short, it doesn’t flow. You’ll notice at the top of the picture there is the sine wave. That’s how the normal pulse would feel. Yang and yin yang and yin flowing through all of the positions. But the lung pulse in grief may feel like it’s a shorter pulse, or that little dot indicates like a naughtiness, almost like a little ball stuck in the pulse.

A spinning bean pulse, if you will. Plus the trauma of the fertility challenge and experience can leave the earth position empty. Remember, if the energy can’t flow through the lung large intestine, again, you can see it’s a flow yang and yin yang and yin all connected. But if one that’s the normal pulse on the top there.

But if the normal pulse that flow is. Stopped or stagnated by the lung pulse, then the spleen stomach isn’t going to be getting any . Energy either, and that’s the trauma pulse, that deep emptiness in the spleen stomach. And this person, believe me, if they’ve had past trauma, then this whole fertility challenge experience can key into that.

And then they’ve got a. A double problem. They’re not making good quality oxygen in blood. It’s not being floated around by the lung large intestine. And then of course, that leads to a negative effect on the flow of uterine blood. I. The patient’s experiences may also reignite, as I said, old patterns of trauma, grief from childhood, the feeling that your life is outta control.

Because believe me, as lots of women going through all of these challenges feel like their life is outta control and that their body is outta control. Their body just will not do what they want it to do, which is get pregnant and have a successful birth. So all of that can lead to that empty spleen pulse from old trauma.

Now this is what we want the normal pulse to look like. We want the left and the right to connect with each other, the kidneys, to connect with the left side and the right side. And again, if in that large intestine lung position there’s a knot or it’s short and it’s not flowing, then you’re not going to get the flow of energy through all of the organ systems.

And you’ll notice those are sign waves. The infinity symbol is a sine wave yang and yin, and then a sine wave yang and yin. So we need for the kidneys to be able to support all of the other systems. Gallbladder liver to small intestine, heart, and then back to the other side, a continuous flow of sine waves.

That is the goal of every acupuncture treatment. So that’s why if grief is negatively impacting , The one position or more than one position? It is impacting more than one position because it’s stagnated. So it’s not allowing the energy to flow over to the other side. So this is the importance of figuring out how we can release the grief in that position.

Now, one way to do it is to use. Low points, right? Maybe you open the lung and the large intestine low, or you open the spleen, stomach, low points, anything that’s going to allow you to start relieving that stagnation in the lungs. I love liver. 14 lung one, liver 14 lung one pointed out. That’s an entry, exit point, treatment, and it will take some of the pressure off of the lungs.

Plus for grief, lung two is a very important point for lifting the clouds releasing the clouds or . Releasing grief, so you know, us thinking about how can I open the lungs? Sometimes I’ll do liver 14 lung one, also kidney 27 pointed out just to really open, physically open the flow of.

The chest, allowing the person to feel more. Sometimes we need to use sky points because again, the person’s energy is stagnated. They’re not in touch with their spirit anymore. I enjoy the idea of using something like Pericardium three, heart five, heart seven. That way again, I am opening up the heart protector because

Longstanding grief can definitely start to affect the pericardium because its job is to protect the shen. So sometimes going straight for the heart pulses, going straight for the heart channel with people isn’t the best choice because their shen is tender. So approaching it from the pericardium and then moving into the heart sometimes is a better

Option but the main goal is getting the lung and large intestine channel open so that it will flow over to the other kidney side. So again, you might open kidney four, the low point on the kidneys to get that energy flowing, and the kidney is more likely to accept it and get consolidated and strong to help the woman through this fertility challenge.

As I said, we can use the low points kidney four. The, at this time the person and the kidneys might be in a . Protective mode. So opening up the kidney pulse is very good for that. I want to thank you for watching. I also want to thank the American Acupuncture Council again.

Also you can see my teaching website is lucas teachings.com and my private practice site, which as I said is my . Clinics are located in Denver and Littleton Colorado is acupuncture woman.com and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. .


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Grief and Fertility Challenges Part 1



Grief and fertility challenges. So even when the end is having a healthy baby for many couples, there is a long struggle to conceive, and it can take a really brutal toll on people emotionally and physically. Women who are undergoing assisted reproduction treatment.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, this is Dr. Martha Lucas, and I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring this. Webinar on grief and fertility challenges, and we’re gonna talk about how grief can negatively affect fertility and how to help people. In my practice, this is one of my specialties. I have practices in Denver, Colorado, and Littleton, Colorado, and teach online also, and love to teach.

So I’m so happy to be here. So let’s go to the slides. Grief and fertility challenges. So even when the end is having a healthy baby for many couples, there is a long struggle to conceive, and it can take a really brutal toll on people emotionally and physically. Women who are undergoing assisted reproduction treatment.

Have so many emotions during this time, and many of them don’t become pregnant anyway, so there’s the grief about that. And then there are many who experience a pregnancy loss after their treatment. So all of this can lead to prolonged grief and mourning. Women may live with melancholy mourning throughout their fertility treatment.

So from start to finish because they start out with a little grief that they have tried to do natural ways to try to get pregnant and haven’t been able to do it. They desire their lost time as a pregnant. Woman, which interestingly enough can even happen to the women who have a baby because lots of I V F or assisted reproductive technology babies aren’t full term.

Some are born . Much more early as a preemie. And I have treated women who perhaps have to have an emergency C-section at 27 weeks, 29 weeks, 30 weeks, and they literally do mourn not having to have that whole 40 weeks as a pregnant woman. And it’s very interesting to treat them through that grief because

Even though they have a healthy baby, they bore a baby. They really do regret or grieve that they didn’t get to have that full term as a pregnant woman. If they don’t get pregnant, they miss what they call the lost love of a child. They mourn what they think of as a lost future, and some of them just as a lost role as a mother, they go through what

Can be described as an agonizing exertion of mourning because it’s hard mourning. Experiencing grief is a very hard emotion that sometimes you feel like you are never ever going to get over. Sadness can manifest in various ways. It can be just a mood that sometimes you have and sometimes you don’t.

It can be more severe sadness. It can be paralyzed thinking the person has a hard time even getting out of bed in the morning. It can be even. In extreme cases be delusional, but the common denominator for grief and fertility challenges is loss. The loss of having a baby, the loss of having the love of a child, the loss of the future that maybe you have thought about.

I. Since you were a younger woman, Freud’s description would be a state of desperate longing for reconciliation with an object or a person that is lost. Again, there’s that common theme of they have lost something I. Such women are not diagnosed with major depression. It’s not like they, oh, you have major depression and here’s your antidepressant.

It is more like a non, what we call a non ailing, productive and culturally accepted reaction to loss, or the fear of loss. Because remember I said some women go through this kind of sadness or grief throughout the whole . Fertility challenge throughout all of their work that they’re doing and all the procedures that they’re having.

So that’s the fear of loss. Now, we’ve discussed before in a webinar how fear scatters kidney energy, and we never wanna see that. We have, we must, in order to get pregnant, we need to have good, secure, solid, consolidated kidney energy. So this fear of loss that’s along with the grief also can affect the kidneys.

and then these women are constantly reconstructing their self-image as a woman, as a mother, or potential mother, and even as a partner because their partners are very affected by their emotions. Again, as I said earlier, some women who are receiving fertility treatments experience consecutive pregnancy losses.

For some, they never have a pregnancy loss or a miscarriage For others, there may even be more than one. I think we’ve all treated women who’ve had . Two miscarriages, three miscarriages. I’ve treated women that have had four or five, or even six miscarriages, and this also can lead to prolonged grief in both the woman and the partner.

Deep sadness, depressed mood, irritability, worry, anxiety, they can have changes in eating, changes in sleeping patterns. All of those are part of the normal grief response, but they can all be very disruptive to your regular life. Now, although grief is a natural non-pathological phenomenon, it can lead to complicated, more complicated grief reactions where the symptoms are more disruptive or pervasive or long lasting than what we call normal grief.

And as a practitioner, we need to realize that prolonged grief can interfere with the healing process so it’s can therefore interfere with the fertility. Process with all of the treatments and it’s going to affect their general quality of life. Could lead to substance abuse and increased risk of suicide.

And as I said, it’s can, especially according to our medicine, where we’re looking at the pulses and we’re looking at all, all the organ systems communicate with each other. Prolonged grief can interfere with the conception process. And they’re coming to us to help them create what I call a warm, fertile environment so that they can conceive.

These women may also feel like life is meaningless. They doubt their own identity or role in life again, because part of their role in life was to be a mother, and now they are having to look at that differently. And then when we’re looking at the woman, we need to look at the intensity and the duration of her grief symptoms.

A very common social factor that contributes to the grief is when the loss is not talked about. For some reason, this particular type of grief is sometimes invalidated. It’s like . Doesn’t count. Oh, you had this procedure, maybe it’s not gonna work, and then it didn’t work. So it’s just a part of the process.

That’s not the experience of the woman or the couple going through the process. To them, it’s a great loss to them. It’s, we’re trying this procedure. Oh good. We had a conception. And then of course they’re gonna be excited. Their excitement is still attenuated by worry and anxiety, but it’s. Still something that looks like it was successful, and then when it’s not successful, they’re going to have grief about it.

But as I said, sometimes this loss is something that people just take for granted, Hey, it can work, it might not work. And then the woman feels like she can’t talk about it. And then you have internalized grief. And as we know from Chinese medicine, the masters used to say that emotions caused all physical disease.

And when I first heard that . Over 20 years ago, I thought emotions cause all physical disease, but then as I started to take more and more pulses and listen to people, I realized that yes, absolutely what they meant was the emotions. Cause . Patterns in the pulses in the energetic system that then leads to physical disease because of blockages or deficiencies or excesses that the emotions cause like excess heart fire.

So it’s. Interest. When I was in graduate school and my school had two arms in the psychology department, research or clinical, I was like, oh, I don’t wanna be a clinical psychologist. I don’t wanna spend eight hours a day talking to people about their emotions. And now that’s what I do. So it’s interesting how the world turns.

So for some women, treatment can be apparently an infinite . Cycle of these things like try one, it didn’t work. Try another one. It didn’t work. Oh, first we’re gonna try the . Ai. Okay, that didn’t work. So we need to move up to something that’s a little more technological and move up and move up.

And remember this is involuntary absence of motherhood on their part. They thought, women get pregnant. I’m going to, wanna have a baby. It’s gonna be easy. And they’re, this is involuntary for them. A lot of women feel like they don’t have any control over this Also, interestingly enough, cognitive and emotional impacts of all this, like sadness and fertility treatment are linked to the maternal fetal attachment.

That’s the emotional bond that an expected mother develops with her unborn baby. And this is another reason why it’s important for us to diagnose. Pathological grief quickly. I have had women who’ve had a struggle getting pregnant, managed to, had a successful birth, then get pregnant again, and they go right back into this cycle.

And I’ve explained to them, you are creating an anxiety. Commitment connection with your unborn child instead of the emotional bond of being calm. I love you. You’re my child. If you continue to be anxious and sad worrying that you might have a miscarriage, when at this point you’re not having any symptoms of a miscarriage, And the development of this grief can be over a number of factors.

They get sometimes, depending on the bedside manner of their medical professionals, they can get . Messages that are really a little bit overwhelming. Your ovaries don’t work. Your partner’s sperm aren’t good swimmers, or they’re poor swimmers. What’s they get these diagnosis, like I say, fertility challenges because I feel like infertility is a damning.

Diagnosis. It’s like you’re infertile. That’s why I say fertility challenge. You’re experiencing a challenge. They have to go through the tests, the procedures, the waiting. There’s so many things for them to obsess about. Like any grieving process. And the five stages of grief that are mentioned by Kubler Ross.

Grief over infertility can have those same stages. Denial. That must be the wrong diagnosis. The doctors can’t be right about that. It must be my partner. Some people even blame the tests. We all know that there are, there have been lab tests before that didn’t have the right result. They, it must be a defective test.

Anger, I see this a lot too. She didn’t even wanna get pregnant and she is. Oh, I’ve been trying so hard to have a baby and why is it so easy for everybody else to get pregnant or everybody else seems to be pregnant, bla, being angry that you didn’t start earlier. Like, why did we wait for our careers to have a baby?

Then there’s the bargaining that they’ll do anything to get pregnant. There’s the depression stage. Nothing is going right. I’ll never get pregnant. My best friend is pregnant and I can’t even be happy for her, or I was invited to a baby shower, but I can’t go because it’s just . Too sad for me. And then acceptance.

It is what it is. We’ll just keep trying. I’m sure we’ve all treated women who’ve gone through cycles and cycles of treatments, and then finally just say, you know what? Whatever I’m done. I’m going to take a rest. We’ll see what happens. Now I have to say, I wish I had time to do a retrospective study of those women because

There’s a certain percent that get pregnant after that. And now from a Chinese medicine perspective, why would that happen? It would happen because they relax about it. So liver cheese stagnation gets resolved, their blood can flow better to the uterus, their bowel eye isn’t blocked anymore because they’re not so anxious, and their body literally opens up to the idea of pregnancy. And I think from a Chinese medicine perspective, it’s because they just give up and their body goes back to feeling more normal. Couples might experience loss after an unsuccessful treatment cycle, and then they are faced with the decision of, do we do the same thing?

Should we continue the same procedure, do a more complex procedure, or just move beyond ? Again, move on to the acceptance. We’re probably not gonna get pregnant stage. And then speaking of couples, infertility treatment is taking a toll on both partners. It’s not only a bunch of invasive procedures for the woman, it’s an emotional roller coaster for both of them.

Some people, some women do report that the couple are doing it together. Like I see the couple in my practice, I don’t only see the woman, I see the man and the woman because, I believe that they are doing it together for one thing. What if the male’s dmai is blocked? Then he might not be a great conception partner, so you do need to see the man also to make certain that his systems are all working well.

But unfortunately, some women do report that. And men, they have more fighting. They get a little estranged from each other, and that the treatments are having a negative effect on their sex lives, which is another loss for them. So they have the side effects of the hormone therapy, decrease in libido, mood swings, body changes like dry vagina and sensitive breasts.

All of this makes the intercourse experience less pleasant to the point where some women . don’t have sex anymore after they have the baby, just from the trauma of the pre-pregnancy. Challenges with that. And then they have another thing to mourn. They have grief about their pre infertility sex life, the emotional stability that they used to have with their partner and the harmony that they used to have with their partner.

One woman told me that she had just lost too much. Through the whole procedure, her loving husband, because their relationship was negative, affected her healthy body. She felt like her body just was completely destroyed by all the treatments. She says she had a great life before all this, and now after she had her i b F, she had a, has a daughter.

But her grief about her pre infertility, what she calls her pre infertility life, still continued. We’re gonna end here for today. . And I wanna again, thank the American Acupuncture Council for this presentation, for hosting this presentation. And next time we’re going to start with talking about the woman who has had a successful birth, but still is suffering from some grief.

And we’ll go over how you can help her using Chinese medicine. .