Whether trying to conceive naturally or with help from IVF, suddenly like never before, you become hyper vigilant of your body’s changes.

“Have I got fertile mucous; am I in my fertile window; is that a pre-period niggle or something different – could I be pregnant?” It seems like something you may have taken for granted, dreaded or outright avoided your whole life suddenly seems to hold all the answers.

In some ways this is just another noisy passenger for your mind to worry over as you try to take this fertility journey a day at a time. That is the great challenge isn’t it? How not to be absorbed in the what-if’s, buts and maybe’s, the dreams of a future you hardly dare hope for? How not to succumb to the pressure, the angst, the constant scheduling and juggling of appointments, injections, sprays, blood tests, scans and examinations – all while maintaining the nonplussed façade of one who isn’t even thinking about having a baby (because really, very few people know).

But there is another way to think about this.

A gift our bodies give us that perhaps you haven’t considered yet. Our natural medicine approach to managing healthy menstruation and fertility focuses us on four phases of the cycle: menstruation, pre-ovulation, ovulation and pre-menstrual (or pregnant). These phases are a gift to us in diagnostic terms because they provide a barometer of what is happening for you at a particular time, against what we would expect should be happening in a normal, healthy cycle. We can focus our treatments to support normal function at different phases. In many ways, women’s hormone cycles provide a rich insight into the body that is not so obvious in men’s bodies.

You too can tune in to your cycle as something healthy to work with rather than a further source of stress.

Rather than worrying about where you might be in 28 days, you can ask, “Where am I up to today?” and respond accordingly.

For example, it is very common for a woman to feel fatigued and hungry in the lead up to her period. This is a time to pay attention to those signals and do more to nourish yourself: relaxation, meditation, massage, yoga, warm baths, nourishing foods and plenty of early nights are appropriate for this time. Over time as you tune in and respond appropriately to what your body needs you find there is less PMT, less stress, less noise in your head, a sense of nourishment, wellness.

Tuning in to your cycle can introduce you to a level of self-care that is essential for wellness, fertility and health, but is something we often see missing in many women – especially those trying to conceive. So often we hear women say that they can’t invest hope in themselves because they will be too devastated if it doesn’t work out. To which we always gently respond that they will be devastated anyway, and at least being kind to yourself in the meantime gives you increased health and wellness, more likelihood of conceiving and ultimately a more positive framework to live in while you are going through this.

This process is about learning to care for ourselves, to be as gentle with ourselves, as you will be with that new baby when it finally arrives. It is like creating the loving kindness ahead of time, priming it for the time when your baby comes and needs that give muscle to be well and truly toned. And a mother with well-toned give muscles, with well-versed skills in tuning in and listening in the moment will have much to offer her complex little bundle of demands.

So, how will you begin the process of listening to your body?

We have a great suggestion from the lovely Be Fertile ladies: our very own Gina Fox and Charmaine Dennis. Their lovely range of meditations and guided relaxations are specifically designed to support your journey: choose from natural conception, IVF stimulated cycle or early pregnancy. Their naturopathic and fertility expertise has enabled them to design something that is very unique and specific to your particular stage. Get your copy from our online shop.