Trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage is an emotional journey. If a woman has suffered several miscarriages, the journey has taken a toll on both her body and her spirit. Often, questions of why and how are being asked – is it because of my egg quality? is there a genetic incompatibility? is there something wrong with my uterus? what about immunological or blood clotting factors? endocrine or thyroid reasons? am I really “unexplainable”?
As Chinese Medicine doctors, we are asking the same questions. But the wording and the ideas we use are a little different – how nourished is your Kidney Yin? how is your Kidney Yang functioning? what does your constitution indicate about your Jing and your Qi? what is the condition of your Blood – are there any signs of stagnation, deficiency, or heat? are there any indications of dampness or phlegm, and if so are there also heat signs? what is happening at a more holistic level with your sleep, digestion, thirst, energy, body temperature? any aches and pains?
And there is one more very important factor which also needs to be assessed. It is sometimes overlooked – how is your Heart handling the ups and the downs of your pregnancies and your losses? have you put up an emotional shield of self-defence so that you do not feel the pain? do tears fall frequently and uncontrollably? how is your emotional stability during the day, and are you having any bad dreams? have you acknowledged and grieved for your loss? have you accepted the experience that you’ve had, and are you open and ready to invite a new experience in? are you able to forgive yourself? can you surrender to the process?
In biomedicine, we talk about the HPO Axis (the Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Ovarian Axis). This refers to the hormonal interconnection between the brain and the reproductive organs. Stress, anxiety, and strong emotions are known to disrupt this cycle, often manifesting as menstrual and fertility difficulties. This is the Mind-Body connection.
In Chinese Medicine, we talk about the communication between the Heart and the Kidneys as being similar to the HPO Axis. Let’s face it – miscarriage is a heart-breaking experience. And your Heart needs to heal from it so that healthy, fertile communication with your Kidneys can resume. Emotional numbness, uncontrollable crying, depression and nightmares can be indicators of a Heart energy not in balance.
Sometimes the energy of the Heart can be brought back into balance by simply acknowledging how sad it is to lose a pregnancy, and by having a good cry with someone you trust. Spending time in nature where the energy of life surrounds you can be therapeutic. Sometimes we can use certain acupuncture points on the Heart, Pericardium and Liver meridians to help restore and ground Heart energy. There are Chinese Herbal Formulas we can use to help nourish and clear the Heart. And some women will really benefit from seeing a Therapist or Clinical Counsellor who has experience working with reproductive health related challenges.
So as you are trying to make sense of your journey thus far, and what can be done to help you reach your goals, remember to consider your spirit as much as you are considering your ovaries, uterus, endocrine and immune systems. Strive to maintain a well-functioning HPO Axis. Open the communication between your Heart and your Kidneys. Check in and connect to your own Heart.