So today I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing Emma Despres. Emma is a local yoga teacher, a Reiki master and now a published author of her first book “Dancing with the Moon; A Spiritual Journey through IVF.”
Now, I met Emma probably around 15 plus years ago, we actually both did our Reiki training together. All the way through from Reiki 1 to Reiki Master, but Emma of course has gone on to do something wonderful with her Reiki training whereas I only tend to practice on myself or the cat. I also see Emma from time to time at her yoga classes, she does some excellent classes and especially her retreats, I went on a wonderful one last year at Glastonbury and will be going again this year coming.
Michelle: Also, I see Emma from time to time because we’re both part of this bonkers group of women who do all year swimming. And we occasionally meet up to go into the sea, which I can tell you is pretty cold at this time of year. But today, we’re here to talk about Emma’s new book “Dancing with the Moon,” which is her account of her journey through IVF. But talking about it very much from
a spiritual and holistic perspective in what is otherwise a very clinical process.
So I’m really looking forward to hearing what Emma has to say. So, welcome Emma.
Emma: Hi, thanks for having me.
Michelle: Well, thanks ever so much for coming on. Okay, now first I’ve got a confession I haven’t actually read the book.
Emma: Don’t worry.
Michelle: It’s very new out and I haven’t actually downloaded or ordered it yet, but I can assure you it’s there on Amazon and I’ll put the link in the show notes. So, Emma, tell me, how did you come to write this book?
Emma: Well, I think I was maybe, six months pregnant with my second son and I seemed to be attracting a number of students and Reiki clients who had fertility issues, and I found that I was repeating my story to them in terms of going through IVF. And I thought, actually d’you know what, I’m going to write about this for my blog. I’d already kind of put it out there. I have made no secret of the fact that we have undertaken IVF to conceive. So I started writing these blog postings, which my mum always checked for me, and they started to become more extensive and I realized there was quite a lot to talk about, potentially. And I guess towards the end of that pregnancy I had a sense that I probably had enough material to make it into a book and I suddenly had this idea of what it might be called. And then the birth of my second son provided a really neat conclusion to the book and so there, I just thought right, this is it. It’s got to be done.
Michelle: Okay, right, fantastic. So let’s wind back a little bit. So you’ve got two children, both of them conceived through IVF?
Michelle: So can you tell us a bit more about your own fertility story?
Emma: Yes, to a point. I think we’d been trying for a year, you have to be trying for a year really before you can see the medical profession and we hadn’t, obviously conceived at that point. So, I was a little bit desperate because another month passes by with your menstruation and no pregnancy. We had to go through for some initial tests, which indicated that we might have a significant problem, so we were in the medical specialist system quite quickly over here. We’re quite lucky actually that we have that service. And the further testing took place which again, showed that we probably weren’t going to be able to conceive naturally, if at all. So, from there, we were put in contact with Wessex Fertility Clinic in Southampton, which is one of the providers for IVF the MSG have a relationship with them. And fortunately they were able to help us.
Michelle: Okay, so I read on the little bit of the blurb about the book, about how IVF was as far away as you wanted to get and that there was this idea that
you wanted to consciously conceive on a bed of rose petals.
Emma: I know. I did, yes, I had this really lovely idea of this spiritual, conscious conception in my head that involved rose petals and relaxing music and incense burning and candles flickering. Yes, unfortunately that was very far from the reality actually in the end. Although I have to say, you do need to be careful what you wish for because
I really wanted a conscious conception, and I don’t know that you can get more conscious than conceiving in a clinical environment, actually
Michelle: Oh my gosh, yes. I would never have thought of that.
Emma: No. I think because it’s very easy just to kind of have sex, make a baby, well maybe for some people it’s very easy, you know, a drunken stupor. But in this process, we actually had to sign forms and be very present to what we were doing and turn up, as well as going through what we had to go through. So we were talking about this the other day actually, my partner and I about how there can be no doubt for our boys that they were wanted, they were absolutely, definitely wanted.
Michelle: So what’s the actual process of IVF like and how was it for you?
Emma: It’s pretty stressful actually, because IVF is not an exact science so you’re not guaranteed a positive outcome, but you have to go through the process anyway. And I think that’s for me where my spiritual practice really helped. You know it is very clinical, you’re having to put synthetic drugs into your system to control your hormones. Now there are very different approaches to the process depending on what you’re presenting with, and we had ICSI, which means that essentially I had to be manipulated to produce more eggs than I would do normally in a cycle. I think it was 11 actually, I can’t really remember, which is a lot because ordinarily it’s just one a month. So you’re taking drugs to encourage that, which can have effects on the body in terms of bloating and feeling sick and things like that. You’re injecting as well, which is not very nice either.
Emma: And then sperm is taken from the man and injected, it’s quite amazing actually, an individual sperm is injected into an egg so that it increases your chances potentially of conception. But it doesn’t always work necessarily. And then once you’ve created, if you’re lucky enough to create an embryo, then you need to prepare your body in quite a quick turnaround. For some women it’s only three days depending on the quality of the embryo. For others, it could be five days where your embryos grew into blastocysts, which means they were more developed and had potentially more chance of taking when implanted. But you’ve got quite a quick turnaround in which to heal yourself, well in my opinion, that is a quick turnaround to heal yourself from A, having this stimulation to create more eggs than you would do normally, but also then to have them taken out. So there’s some sort of healing that needs to happen as a result of that before the embryo or blastocyst is implanted back within you.
Emma: So yes, it’s a pretty tricky time. And then the worst time is then after that process, you’ve got like 12 to 14 days to wait before you can take the pregnancy test which can be pretty scary for people and lots of anxiety arising there.
Michelle: Yes, and it sounds so kind of clinical.
Emma: It is.
Michelle: You know we’re actually talking about human life here-
Emma: I know.
Michelle: … we’re talking about real babies.
Emma: Yes, I know. That’s the thing, it is so clinical and you have a booklet that you follow with everything that you’re meant to do. And it’s all about when you’re taking your drugs and what you should be doing and even down to the actual procedures themselves, it’s in a clinical environment of course, it’s in a fertility clinic. An unmarked clinic actually in this case as well because there’s still so much stigma attached to it, I guess.
Emma: And yes, it is pretty scary that when you actually go to have the embryo, or blastocyst in our case, implanted again, that doesn’t sound very nice does it? It is in a little theatre room and you’ve got your legs up in the stirrups, which is not pleasant at the best of times, and trying to make it kind of as special as you can. The best thing really is that you get to watch what the consultant is doing, she’s got something that she’s inserting it into you and you can see that on the screen. And when they release the embryo or the blastocyst into you, you can,
if you’re lucky enough, you can see the conception like a little star almost.
So that was quite special and we’d been told to look out for that which we did and that sort of made it a bit more magical I suppose because
it’s like the spark of life going into you
Michelle: Yes, gosh.
Michelle: So how many viable embryos did you get?
Emma: Oh gosh well the first, what did we end up with? We ended up, that first round, we ended up with two blastocysts, which means that they were five day old embryos that had started to hatch, so they were more likely to take. I think that’s right. I lose track actually. I know we definitely had two because one of them didn’t take as it happens so we didn’t end up with twins. And they froze another blastocyst at that time and they also froze three embryos, so just three day embryos which we could use for later. We did use one of them, when we came to do the process again, a second time. They kept the blastocyst frozen and they defrosted, that seems weird saying that doesn’t it, the other three embryos. They tried to take them through to blastocyst, but two of them died, one took.
Emma: We implanted that one, it didn’t take so we had a failed round. Which I detail quite a bit in the book actually because I knew it wasn’t going to, I knew it wasn’t going to take. And I think for me that needed to happen for me to understand a little bit more around the IVF process and also the role that our mental state plays in whether it’s going to be successful or not. And also whether you’re ready. I wasn’t ready at that point and I just wasn’t feeling it. Whereas with the first round, I was really feeling it and I was very connected to my heart and very much in my zone and very trusting in the universe, as well. I just felt that we were being guided, I just was really in my, yes, I can’t think of how else to say it –
just in that zone – when you just feel guided and you’ve got complete faith and trust in what’s happening.
Emma: Whereas the second time I was kind of forcing it to happen because I felt under pressure to try for another baby because of my age. I’d just turned 40. But I wasn’t ready, actually. My life wasn’t in a good place at that point. So it just helped me realize that you do need to be in a good place.
And you need all parts of you to be functioning well, not just your body or your mind but also your spirit as well.
Like all parts of you. And also I think it was important that I experienced a failed cycle to know what that felt like in terms of being a more empathic yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner for when I see other women going through it.
Emma: Because actually just before that cycle I had been seeing a number of women who were having repeated fails and I didn’t know what that felt like, so I was trying to be encouraging to them but you know they probably thought, well, you don’t know what that feels like, you’ve only ever had a successful round. So it’s all very well you being all positive about how we should keep going or whatever. So yes, I think it probably has helped me have a little bit more understanding. And then we used the frozen blastocyst, the one that had been frozen the first time, so therefore created at the same time as my first son. We used that in our third and final round and we were luckier.
I was in my zone again and I just had the sense that it was meant to be.
Like it had been frozen all that time and again, I just put complete faith and trust in the process and that resulted in my second son.
Emma: So it’s a bizarre concept that
they were both conceived on a full moon
actually in February 2013. And one of them was frozen for three years, is that right? Three years. And still, no two years. Two years. One loses track. And still, yes, came to be, came to life. So they’re twins to all intents and purposes.
Michelle: Wow, so they’re non identical twins.
Emma: Yes, really.
If Eben had been, or rather if the blastocyst that made him had been, implanted at the same time as Elijah, and had taken, then they would have been twins. Non- identical twins.
Emma: It’s a bizarre concept.
Michelle: It is quite bizarre, isn’t it?
Emma: Yes, that idea of freezing life.
Emma: But they are very different as well, incredibly different personalities but very much attuned to the moon as well, which whether that was because they were conceived on the full moon or not I don’t know. But I mean I won’t say too much because otherwise the book will lose all sense of purpose or interest, but the moon does play a role, hence the title actually of the book “Dancing With the Moon.” So it did play quite a pivotal role in both children.
Michelle: So you’re talking then about failed rounds and I’m wondering. We don’t have a grief process each time, well I suppose some people do have a grief process if you have sex and you don’t get pregnant. But to have an embryo that you’ve seen be implanted and then for it not to take, do you actually go through a complete grief process as if you’ve lost a baby?
Emma: Yes, I think you do actually. It’s a really interesting point that people overlook and I do mention this as well in the book. It’s a miscarriage of sorts but given very little attention. And yes, it’s desperately sad because you’ve put a huge amount of energy into creating that and putting your body through all sorts of stuff to get to that point and then it doesn’t take and you can’t help but feel like a bit of a failure actually. That’s there’s something wrong with your body, or with you to be in that position anyway in the first place to be having to go through IVF. And then for it not to take, it does involve some deep soul searching and grounding again. And there is a recognition that I think once you’ve gone through that process that the timing’s just not right. But it’s easy for me to say that because when we did, when our second attempt failed, we already had Elijah so I had the comfort of that. And we also already had, we still had one blastocyst frozen so there was still a chance in the future.
Emma: But for many women, and certainly some of the ones I’ve seen who have come for treatments, they’re not fortunate to have that scenario. So they might have repeated failed cycles when they haven’t conceived at all. So that must be even more soul destroying because you do start to get a little bit desperate, I think. I mean, it’s inherent isn’t it, in many women this need to reproduce and have your own children and if you’re experience these continuous losses, then yes there’s a huge grief process around that. And fear that you may never actually conceive or that if you do conceive, because this is the other that happens, it’s almost so cruel, you conceive and then miscarry after then. And it’s almost – is it worse because you’ve gone through IVF? I don’t think it’s fair to say that because I think miscarriage is awful whether you’ve gone through IVF or not. But, yes, it does seem particularly cruel.
Michelle: And I wonder what the emotional response is – you’ve got your two children, have you got any more embryos deep frozen?
Emma: No, we haven’t now, no. And it’s-
Michelle: And is that a good thing? Because if you did have another-
Emma: Yes, it’s funny because I was just talking about this with my partner this morning because we did have some sperm frozen actually and you have to pay to keep these things frozen by the year. And we were discussing what we were going to do with that, and it’s much easier to let that go than it would be to let embryos go. And that’s also something I do talk about in the book actually because yes, certainly, if we still had a frozen embryo, it’s funny because we were literally just talking about it. I wouldn’t be able to just let that be washed down the sink or whatever, flushed in the toilet. I would have to, at least try.
Emma: Because you know that gives life, really, so.
Michelle: Yes, I mean especially after you’ve gone through the whole process and know that these wonderful human beings come out-
Emma: Yes, exactly.
Michelle: … of this process. I can see that would be a real challenge for very many women.
Emma: Yes, absolutely. I know and I don’t know what you do. I mean I have a friend that also went through this process and again, they had an extra one, one extra to what they were intending in terms of the number of children that they wanted. So they did try and use it. It didn’t take as it happened actually and I guess you could say that that was meant to be, but again it was just they also felt uncomfortable with just letting it go without giving it a chance.
Michelle: Because in a way we’re taking over and playing God aren’t we?
Emma: Yes, a little bit, yes, absolutely.
Michelle: And it’s kind of like, we’ve intervened as humans in the process of what was natural conception.
Emma: Yes, absolutely. Yes, I know. Although I feel there’s still some, there’s still some spirit in there though.
There’s still a sense of involvement by something greater than ourselves.
You know, in terms of, I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that isn’t it? Because for some women they won’t understand that or appreciate that and think I’m talking a load of rubbish actually and it’s not fair because why should they not be able to conceive when other people can and what’s that saying?
But I feel that there is the potential for spiritual growth through this whole process and a deep connection with whatever that means to you.
Michelle: So how would you say this has contributed to your spiritual growth?
Emma: Hugely, actually. I had to learn so much during this whole process. I tapped into, dropped into, whatever the word is, my spiritual practice more than I ever had done before and kind of felt it was essential, actually, to support the whole process. So that meant therefore, I mean I already practice yoga daily as it is, but it helped me to develop a more dedicated meditation practice, which I was a bit sort of flimsy, is flimsy the right word? Whatever the word is, I wasn’t really dedicated to the meditation side of things. But I found that essential during the IVF to keep my mind quite strong and focused and not, not give in to the self-pity. And I think that was something that I mention a lot in the book. It was something that a friend of mine had said who had gone through IVF.
She had said, “Don’t buy into self-pity.” And it was the best advice anyone had ever given me about IVF.
Emma: Because you do feel this self-pity. And I think once you buy into that then it’s very difficult to maintain any positivity and support the process mentally. So for me, meditation really helped me to drop into that. And if I could feel the self-pity creeping in or the anxiety creeping in then, I would try and transmute that somehow and bring it back into the heart.
And I just prayed a lot and I felt supported by the divine or whatever you want to call it
You know there were signs that there was support, I just felt a presence, I suppose. And other women, I suppose, if they don’t already have a spiritual practice, maybe that would be more difficult for them to feel, although I feel that actually I’ve, what I’ve noticed is, maybe it, it encourages women to have a spiritual practice.
Emma: So if they’re having fertility issues, certainly they might find their way to a yoga class, for example. Or go for Reiki or reflexology or anything that they haven’t done previously. And it opens up this other world to them. And I think there are women that will do that out of fear, but there are women that will do it with a more, kind of open heart, open minded sense of how that might support them during the, during the IVF process.
Emma: And you know, there was that element to it, but also trust. It was a lot about trust. I had to have a lot of trust in the process itself, the IVF process. Even though it goes against, me, really, the whole science of it and the injecting with drugs.
I realized quite quickly on that if it was going to work, I just had to surrender to it and not fight against it, because I was being shown a way to conceive.
At the end of the day, the one thing I wanted was to have children. And someone was showing me a way that we could have children. It wasn’t the way that I would have chosen if I’d had that choice, but I didn’t have that choice.
Emma: So I could have spent a few years being really angry and not going with that, but I decided early on that I had to go with it, I was being shown the way. So I had to trust in it. And that made a huge difference as well. So you know, I hope that is clear, actually because I think that’s really important. Because I’ve been aware of other women that have gone through it that have been so irritated that they have to go through IVF, that they almost set themselves up for a fall just because they’re so bitter about it.
Emma: They’re angry at the clinic and they’re angry at the doctor and at the end of the day, it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just this is a way. And if you don’t want to do it that way, don’t do it that way!. But if you want to achieve your dream of having a baby, if that is your dream, and someone’s showing you a way to achieve that, I think you just have to set aside everything else in terms of how you think it should be and surrender to it. Surrender.
Michelle: Yes, well that’s what I’m really getting, is that whole spiritual practice of accepting that whatever’s happening is what’s meant to be happening.
Emma: That is it.
Michelle: And allowing ourselves to go, right, okay, it’s not what I would be choosing to happen at this moment, but this is what’s happening.
Emma: Yes, yes, exactly.
Michelle: Which you know, I’m not going to get enlightened anytime soon, but I have been told from reliable sources that
that is all enlightenment is, is actually accepting exactly what is happening and the more we can move in that direction, the more life will become slightly easier.
Emma: Absolutely. There’s the opportunity for expansion, isn’t there? I think that process can be really difficult. You know there is some grieving there, like in terms of letting go of how you think things should unfold, but isn’t that what the practice is all about?
Because you’re constantly having to learn to let go and be open to new possibilities even if those aren’t how you would expect new possibilities to be.
Michelle: Yes. And I’d just like to maybe spend a few minutes talking about the moon part of “Dancing with the Moon,” I must admit personally that I’ve never really taken a huge amount of notice of what the moon’s doing up there in the sky. But more recently, through this bonkers swimming group that I’ve already mentioned, Emma’s got me into going for moonlight swims on the full moon.
Michelle: And so obviously the moon is something very important to you, I haven’t actually done it yet when the moon’s actually been out, I must admit.
Emma: No, I know, it’s always very disappointing, isn’t it? And the same today, actually. It’s not going to be possible. It’s too miserable.
Michelle: Yes, if you think I’m swimming today!!! (We’re recording this on a day where it’s actually snowing outside.)
Emma: On the eve of the full moon.
Michelle: On the eve of the full moon although there are some people in our group that were still swimming yesterday.
Emma: Yes, I know, they’re crazy. I’ve stopped. I don’t think my kidneys would appreciate me swimming at the moment.
Michelle: Did you see the picture that one of the group posted of her bathing costume? She put it outside and it froze, there’s this huge icicle sticking out. And we’re going, come on girls, is this going a bit far?
Emma: Yes, I know and it’s difficult because I’m quite competitive actually, so there’s an element of me that thinks, oh, c’mon I need to go in in these awful conditions. But no, I’ve put my health first this time.
Michelle: Yes a few days ago I was kind of thinking, you know, this is absolutely bonkers and ooh, I’m tempted to do it.
Emma: Yes, exactly. I know. It’s not being competitive with other people, it’s almost like proving it myself.
Michelle: Yes, Yes.
Emma: Yes, but no, I’m not going to.
Michelle: No. So we’ve agreed, neither of us are going to try swimming on this particular full moon.
Emma: We’ll wait for the, actually there’s two full moons this month as it happens.
Emma: Yes. It’s a very auspicious month again. Yes, we’re going through a lot of shifting, aren’t we. But we’ve got a blue moon the last day of the month is a blue moon, the second moon in the month. So, we’ll aim for that one instead.
Michelle: Because we had the super, blood blue moon in January-
Emma: Yes, exactly-
Michelle: So tell me, what part does working or living with the moon play in your life? It seems to play a big part?
Emma: Huge. Yes, I love the moon. Yes. I love the moon. Everything about the moon actually. I get a lot of, what’s the word,
I feel very supported by the moon
Like I pray a lot to the moon. And I just love how the moon’s energy affects how we feel and what we do as well. So, like I love the craziness of the full moon. Like how it makes everyone, potentially makes everyone, a little bit more mad, hence the lunar, the madness, that arises.
And the insights that come as a result of living life according to the moon as well.
And how we can all feel a little bit hyper now and then we’ll start waning down to the new moon which is all about new beginnings.
So you’ve got the opportunity to start afresh every month in tune with the moon and with the energy of the moon as well.
So if you’ve got like new intentions, like things you want to achieve in the moon cycle then obviously, well not obviously, but you would plan them on the new moon.
So establish your intentions, whatever they are to the moon by writing them down, doing it on the energy of the new moon and then popping it away and it’s like literally planting a seed.
So you might take action in the direction of whatever it is your intending to manifest during that month. And you can work with the energy that way. And then you’ve got the full moon halfway through that cycle and on that, that’s a really good opportunity.
The full moon is for forgiveness, so forgiving anything that you need to forgive in your life and also just expressing gratitude,
giving more energy to the positive things in your life so that you’re more likely to manifest what you’re trying to achieve by letting go on the forgiveness to create the space for the new to come in. And being grateful for what you already have.
Michelle: So if you’ve got a big project, should you be launching that at the new moon then, not the full moon?
Emma: Yes, that’s what I would, definitely. Yes. New beginnings on the new moon. And new starts-
Michelle: And endings?
Emma: … around the full moon you can let go but towards the end of the new moon cycle as well, so on the dark moon like the day before the new moon almost is a good, good place for that. But certainly, if you’re trying to let go of things, then I would do that on the full moon like now. So if there’s stuff I want to-
Michelle: Oh, that’s really interesting because I hadn’t planned it at all, but the day that I closed the Women’s Development Forum, put out that note, was on the blood blue moon in January.
Emma: Oh, there you go, yes.
Michelle: And it was only afterwards that I can found out that I’d done this on this very auspicious day.
Emma: Yes, definitely.
Michelle: So that was a good day for endings.
Emma: Yes, absolutely, definitely. Yes, it’s a good day for endings. And you kind of feel it, I don’t know, I just feel it. Like today does feel like a good time for endings. But then of course you’ve also got for many women, the menstrual cycle in this as well. So attuned, maybe to the moon,
there’s a theory that more women will ovulate on the full moon
because the full moon’s full, it’s juicy and full isn’t it? And so you’ve also got eggs full, then menstruate on the new moon. So you’ve got the dark moon right at the end of the cycle which is like that dark period before that day before you start menstruating and then you’ve got your new cycle beginning on the new moon.
Michelle: Yes, I mean I want to do a whole separate podcast on the whole menstrual cycle-
Michelle: … and attitudes to our cycles and how, I had a young girl say to me, quite recently, you know I’m just not on my game one week of a month and I kind of went into this full flow of how as women we’ve got this natural yin and yang cycle. We have the ability to come out and go in-
Emma: Yes, exactly.
Michelle: … we’ve got the sun and moon energy, we’ve got-
Emma: It’s amazing, we’re amazing-
Michelle: … and I’m going, oh my god I’ve really gone off into this alternative world now, but we have, as women, got access to this and we really mustn’t do ourselves down.
Emma: No, definitely and you’re not off your game at all, you’re in your game. You know, this is the time-
Michelle: But in your game differently.
Emma: Yes, exactly. Like, it’s the dark, it’s kind of retreating, like mystical.
You can get more insight during the menstruation time than you would do normally. And actually, the time building up to it, when you’re a bit snappy and short tempered has benefits in terms of it’s a really good time for editing and stuff like that, because you’re very clear about what’s right and what’s not right.
You’re quick to turn on your partner or something else for them not doing something right or your way, you know you’re more exact about things. Which is awful for them obviously, and gives us a bad name as women because we become a little bit more stroppy or whatever else. But it has benefits if you channel it in the right way. So certainly if I want to edit stuff, then I will save it, if it’s really important I’ll save it for that time when I’m like really clear and more concise.
Emma: And then after then you know you start your menstruation and that’s a time to just kind of get really low to the ground and just really go inwards again, so it’s a much more kind of meditative part of the cycle, where you retreat a little bit from the world. And that also has benefits. You know, you might have new insights and new ideas and things like that.
Michelle: Gosh, so there’s a lot, I mean it’s fascinating, it’s fascinating and I’d love you to go on, because this whole area of the moon and how it affects our lives, especially as women, because the moon is really a kind of a female divine energy.
Emma: Yes, absolutely, yep, yep. It is. And for women that are experiencing fertility issues then in my opinion it’s really important that you try and get more synced with the moon for your own cycle and just have a sense of what’s in. Because it will show up, the imbalances in your life as well, like having a better awareness of your menstrual cycle. And also if you can get it, if you can get it aligned with the moon, and then it stops being aligned with the moon, that in itself will be an indication that there might be something that needs shifting in your life to get more in touch with the moon.
You know they say the moon is the goddess of fertility so therefore if you’re wanting to be more fertile, get in touch with the moon.
Michelle: So how would you get more in touch with the moon?
Emma: Well witness, even noticing what’s going on with the moon cycle, most people don’t notice. You know you’re not alone in that and there was a time in my life when I wasn’t very aware of it. You know you might notice the full moon if it’s a nice night and you’re walking home or something but other than that, you might not have any awareness at all. But now I have much more awareness and my children have a lot of awareness as well. You see the half moon in the sky in the day which seems odd sometimes because you’re used to seeing the moon at night. You notice that maybe that there’s no moon and we just are aware of what’s happening and I think being in the swimming group as well really helps because we do things on the moon, don’t we?
Emma: And I’ve started to do more yoga with an awareness of the moon, so I might mention within the class where we are in the moon cycle to just like lay little seeds. But just stuff like, basically just getting out there and noticing what she’s doing.
Michelle: So you know the solstice and the equinox-
Michelle: … what effect do they have?
Emma: Well they’re quite huge as well actually and we’ve got, thinking about it, we’ve got the equinox in the middle of these two full moons this month as well. So they just shift the energy, like things shift for us and sometimes they’re a good time to again, to let go of things. Like it’s a new cycle as well, and here we’ve got the next one, the spring equinox, when we’re literally taking in the new energy, the energy of new beginnings again. I mean that started mainly on Imbolc on the first of February, which is like that spark of life, it celebrates that spark of life that gives like life to the inhalation, you know? It’s like right at the beginning of your breath, it kind of here we are in the inhalation so, spring is full of new potential. And new energy. You know, you’ve got lots of things being born now, like all the sheep are being born. Lambs being born. So again, and I talk about this in my book actually, because it just so happened that our IVF was attuned with that as well and the failed IVF wasn’t attuned with the cycles of the year.
Emma: So we conceived both the boys, the cycles that came to fruition like now, in the spring energy, which is all about fertility.
Michelle: Yes, so a good time for Female Potential to be launched now.
Emma: Yes, yes, exactly. Yes.
Michelle: I will look to see when the new moons are and try and sync with them.
Emma: Yes, yes, well the new moon will be another, well 14 days I suppose from tomorrow.
Michelle: Yes, so probably have to be the next cycle.
Emma: But I mean you know we’ve started like planting on the moon as well, like this is the first year that I’ve really taken that on board and we planted a few seeds on the first quarter. I can’t remember now what they were but there are certain things that are grown on the first, you know the new moon, the first quarter. So we’re putting that into practice this year.
Michelle: Yes, I mean definitely my grandfather’s generation, they always planted according to the moon. And nobody questioned that.
Michelle: Nobody said oh that was weird. It was just what was done.
Emma: Yes, well it really encourages the growth and the vitality.
Michelle: And what’s coming up for me is it’s a long time ago that I conceived, but I’ve had one child and she was conceive on the summer solstice. Is there any significance in that?
Emma: Well that’s like, that’s traditionally the time that couples married actually and there was a real celebration of the light and the merriment because of marriage, so it was actually I suppose a lot of children in the past would have been conceived at that time. It’s just, you’re full of energy aren’t you and life?
Michelle: Well it was one of those things yes, I hadn’t actually planned to get pregnant at that point and I know it was then because I didn’t have sex that often. But it was, it was six weeks after I’d stopped taking the pill. And the 21st day of my cycle-
Emma: Wow, that’s amazing.
Emma: A proper summer baby, full of all that light.
Michelle: Full of all that light, but all that life just wanting to burst through.
Emma: Yes, basically.
Michelle: So it had been standing in the wings waiting to come through.
Emma: Yes, Yes, well it’s the lightest time of the year isn’t it?
Emma: And much merriment you know, much celebrating as a result of that.
Emma: Wow, that’s amazing. What a lucky girl to be conceived with that energy.
Michelle: Yes, absolutely. Yes. So, what’s a kind of, just to sum up in terms of getting your book out there, what does that mean to you, to have actually done this?
Emma: Yes, I have to say, it does mean a lot actually because I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember, since I was 10 and I asked for a dictionary for my Christmas present, I’ve been really wanting to do that. I have actually written another book but it’s just in the editing stages at the moment, which was really hard work and has taken many years, whereas this just kind of happened. And it just felt, maybe that it’s something that needed to be said, it was a story that needed to be told.
Emma: And it wasn’t necessary that it was my story that needed to be told, but it needed to be told anyway, this whole like spiritual side to IVF. And so it was quite, it was still hard work though. I didn’t realize quite how hard work it is to write a book, actually. It’s not so much the writing, although that’s hard work, but it’s the editing, which is particularly hard work. So it’s good to finally get to this point actually and it’s done and it’s out there.
Michelle: Yes, fantastic. So if there was one message to people that might be listening today?
Well, if it’s women that are experiencing fertility issues then it’s to try and get more in touch with the moon cycle. And also to, if they haven’t already, practice some yoga. And for those that are going through IVF, or about to go through IVF, it really is this message of really trying not to give into self-pity. Trying just to stay strong and grounded and trusting in the process.
Michelle: Thank you ever so much for sharing your story. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Emma: Not at all, thank you for having me.
Michelle: Thank you.