Stress and Fertility - An Invitation to Evolve

We all know chronic stress has a negative effect on health and fertility, as does fear and control, associated with ongoing stress states. It appears that the way we respond to acute stressors can actually improve our fertility. We are programmed to evolve. Evolution requires the ability to go into a perceived stressor and rise above it. 

At the annual IFSymposium, my keynote address was on the wisdom of the seed. Dr. Paul Magarelli presented some research on the role of the mitochondria. Because I try to translate scientific understandings into energetics of Chinese medicine, I’ll provide my biggest takeaway:

Mitochondrial activity increases during times of internal stress. When the pre-antral follicle, a function of prenatal genetics, moves into the antral stage, (where the egg interacts with its fluid home that will determine how its chromosomes align,) this push from one state to another, increases mitochondrial activity.  Chinese medicine views this as moving from prenatal to postnatal, or from our Yuan Qi, governed by the Kidney energies, to Ying Qi, governed now by life interactions, and mental and emotional states. Yet fear (protection/survival/Wei Qi) contracts and closes us off.



Plugging this back in to what we know about epigenetics and healthy aging, we are meant to go into these evolutionary “push” states, allowing the “stress” to push us into higher ways of functioning. During times of stress, if we contract out of fear, we aren’t able to evolve into appropriately. And this turns an invitation to transform into the chronic, negative stress response governed by fear. 

Research backs up the energetic efficiency of converting threat to challenge. Stress responses are fabricated emotional constructions of the world, based on conditioning. The brain then predicts responses that will trigger this same emotional response (shame, fear, anxiety, etc.) that impacts the egg’s follicular home in which it will be conditioned. We have everything in our DNA to transform into more elevated ways of functioning. Telomerase increases, inviting change to propel us forward with more energy. And when our behavioral responses change, our cells change. Our DNA changes. Our mitochondrial powerhouses push us into higher states. And we are better for it. Healthier, in fact.

Instead of getting rid of stress, think of “stress” as an invitation - notice the physiological feeling of approaching transformation: the excitement of getting ready to do something new. This allows the new challenge to overcome its limitation. Physical responses (elevated heart rate, sympathetic overdrive) are signs that the body is ready to deal with the upcoming challenge. They’re a sign that we care, an urging forward. We are propelled into the courageous response of transformation. Contracting states of fear and retreating from life challenges becomes an excuse for self deprecation, and we fall back into our most limiting beliefs instead of being propelled forward. The immune system is bolstered through short term stressors. It’s only when they’re ongoing, without a push forward into new behavior, that the stress becomes chronic, increases cortisol, weakening cellular health and immune functioning. 

Through my years working with fertility challenge, I have witnessed the miraculous power of transformation over and over again. More powerful than changing diets, exercising and taking supplements, when women transform, their fertility improves. Releasing the fear/control dynamic they rise above their previous limitations. They become more courageous and evolve into the women they were meant to be. And somehow, the miracle of life seems to be drawn to this process.