fertility, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Speaking about fertility and post-partum care at The Woodford Folk Festival

woodford 2018-19 programHello! Happy new year! (Gosh, we’re almost a month in and next week I’ll be wishing you a happy Chinese new year!)

As some of you would know, this Christmas/New Year period I headed up to Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival (an incredible festival which includes more than 2,000 local, national and international, artists, musicians and presenters and has an audience of an estimated 132,000 people.) If you’ve never been, put it (or it’s little cousin, The Planting) on your must do list.

Kathleen Murphy, (a great friend and colleague), and I were presenting at Woodford’s Blue Lotus stage. This is the place to be for health and wellness speakers from all over the world, as well as live music, yoga, workshops and cooking demonstrations.

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It has been an absolute pleasure to present at the @woodfordfolkfestival with @kath_murphy on The Fourth Trimester (postpartum care) and Your Fertility. We had such lovely people attend our talks. Thanks so much for coming up to say hi and asking questions too. It’s always lovely to be part of the @bluelotus_woodfordia. Thanks for having me! #woodfordfolkfestival #bluelotus #yourfertility #takingchargeofyourfertility #pcos #endometriosis #ivfjourney #fertilitysupport #chinesemedicine #acupuncturelaunceston #chinesemedicinelaunceston #acupuncturetasmania #chinesemedicinetasmania #sarahgeorgeacupuncture #aacma #endeavourcollegeofnaturalhealth #chinesedietarytherapy #chinesedietetics #launcestonladies #launcestonmothers #launcestonmums

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Our first presentation was a beautiful discussion about postpartum care (or the fourth trimester) led by Kathleen, who runs the fantastic house call service, MamaCare, in Sydney. We discussed topics including the physical and psychological needs of new mothers, some of Kathleen’s own findings regarding what mothers’ want in their fourth trimester, and how different cultures have some very similar themes on taking care of new mothers to benefit the mother, baby and whole family. As you may know, Chinese Medicine has a practice called zuo yue zi, which refers to a period of recovery for a new mother and includes support in the way of blood nourishing meals, warming therapies and rest. Ultimately, new mothers armed with modern and traditional knowledge can design their own fourth trimester (or Golden Month) to get the support they need to recover from, and thrive after, giving birth.

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It has been an absolute pleasure to present at the @woodfordfolkfestival with @kath_murphy on The Fourth Trimester (postpartum care) and Your Fertility. We had such lovely people attend our talks. Thanks so much for coming up to say hi and asking questions too. It’s always lovely to be part of the @bluelotus_woodfordia. Thanks for having me! #woodfordfolkfestival #bluelotus #yourfertility #takingchargeofyourfertility #pcos #endometriosis #ivfjourney #fertilitysupport #chinesemedicine #acupuncturelaunceston #chinesemedicinelaunceston #acupuncturetasmania #chinesemedicinetasmania #sarahgeorgeacupuncture #aacma #endeavourcollegeofnaturalhealth #chinesedietarytherapy #chinesedietetics #launcestonladies #launcestonmothers #launcestonmums

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Our second presentation was an information packed session on enhancing male and female fertility. It covered some of the basic Fertility 101 must knows (including anatomy and cycle timing for conception). The conversation tied some of the western anatomy and physiology with Chinese Medicine and naturopathy theory, which sometimes makes these concepts a little easier to understand. Topics such as preconception care (and why this is so important for both parents), barriers to conception (eg. endometriosis, PCOS and advanced parental age) were discussed. Lastly, some evidence based general fertility do’s and don’t’s were given with some additional Chinese Medicine and naturopathic tips. But the big message was, good fertility generally requires two people who are as healthy as they can be prior to conception (although babies can be made in many ways so adapt that as need be). Be informed about your own fertility and health. Seek help if you need it.

Both Kathleen and I love supporting people through pre-conception care, fertility treatment, pregnancy and in the post-partum period. It was a lovely opportunity to share some of our stories with the Woodfordians.

I couldn’t finish this blog without mentioning Lucy Peach, who brought My Greatest Period Ever to us. I can only describe her performance as the most educational and yet hilarious and heart-warming cabaret show you’ll ever go to. Lucy will guide you through what happens in a month long cycle and how you can best look after yourself at each of these times. Essential watching if you menstruate or you know someone who does! Plus she sings and her husband is a great illustrator! On her website you’ll find links to several videos of Lucy doing her thing including a TED talk.

To book an appointment at the Launceston clinics (House of Prana or In-Balance) or for further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is an AHPRA registered acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner and massage therapist.

 

 

 

 

acupuncture, emotional health, fertility, mental health

What do you do when no one understands your fertility challenges (or other health conditions)?

I thought it was just meOne of the many books next to my bed at the moment is Brene Brown‘s I thought it was just me (but it isn’t): telling the truth about perfectionism, inadequacy and power.

It’s a summary of  ideas that Brene found through a series of interviews with a large cohort of women focusing on what causes shame and how to be resilient to it.  When pregnancies don’t happen easily or don’t go to plan many men and women experience shame. As an acupuncturist with a strong interest in fertility and pregnancy support, I hear about this phenomenon from my patients on a regular basis.  I hear about their reactions to the plethora of unsolicited advice that is freely given by friends, family and total strangers. The advice often only makes them feel worse.

Fertility is not the only area where this unsolicited advice flows freely.  A friend of mine experienced the same thing with a skin condition she had on her face.  People with cancer and autoimmune diseases are often subjected with horror stories about their disease from people who ‘mean well’.  Anyone with a mental health condition could probably relate to similar experiences.  If it isn’t a horror story being shared, it is often a controversial drug protocol from a current affairs program or their cousin’s hairdresser’s pool cleaner’s nail technician’s home remedy.

A link to www.infertilityeducation.org is given in the chapter on speaking shame.  It includes a brochure titled what infertility feels like which was created for people with fertility challenges to give to friends and family to better express how they feel about their situation in the hope of creating more supportive relationships through open communication.  This idea could be applied to any situation in which you feel misunderstood.  It doesn’t have to be that you give the physical brochure out but just reading the content could give you some inspiration to structure your ideas to better communicate with the well wishers around you.  After all, most of them do want to help, they just don’t know how.  On the flip side, this sentiment also helps us to develop compassion in our relationships with the other people around us who are also facing life’s challenges, and that can only be a good thing.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.