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12 Steps To Empowered Fertility

The Carousel's Business Mentor Paul Farmer On The Power Of Resilience

Sydney based life coach and counsellor Claire Hall has helped countless women through their highly emotional fertility journey.

In her new book, Empowered Fertility: A Practical Twelve-Step Guide, written with Dr Devora Lieberman, Claire outlines the common hurdles and issues women face in a helpful guide designed to empower women dealing with infertility and fertility treatment.

Here, Claire reveals the story behind book.

What was the impetus to write Empowered Fertility: A Practical Twelve-Step Plan?

My co-author, fertility specialist Dr Devora Lieberman, had witnessed a gap in the support system for women undergoing IVF and began recommending her clients to my fertility coaching and counselling services. From there the idea came about for a book that was for women who wanted something more proactive and practical than counselling alone. The book was sketched out by the end of my first lunch meeting with Devora four years ago. It grew from a simple coaching approach to IVF to a complete 12-step-guide to help women at all stages of infertility.

What are some of the reasons women delay motherhood?

There are many reasons women delay motherhood, the most common being meeting their partner later in life, focusing on a career, experiencing a medical issue or simply thinking they had more hours left on the biological clock.

How are women emotionally and financially affected when you meet them?

They are often experiencing an emotional rollercoaster with many emotions such as blame, shame, anger, frustrations, guilt or regret. These emotions usually stem from some key thoughts they believe to be true such as, ‘it’s all my fault we can’t have baby because I left it too late’. These thoughts and feelings can start to take over their life and erode their self-confidence, challenge their sense of self and affect the relationships all around them. Financially, they may have used their savings to fund IVF treatment, not taken a holiday for several years or postponed renovations in order to pursue fertility treatment.

How are women disempowered?

It’s important for women to gather their support team around them. You need to be able to fully trust your doctors, nurses and whoever else is there to support you. A fear of asking too many questions can disempower you from gaining all the knowledge you need to put your mind at rest. Another common disempowering thing is beating themselves up mentally. This life crisis requires a lot of self-compassion, giving yourself permission to really focus on acts of kindness and gentleness towards yourself. Learn to say no to events or conversations that cause you undue stress. Book some pampering facials to calm down your nervous system. Organise some new places to visit so you can escape the reminders of infertility for the weekend. And speak kindly to yourself and your partner.

How can women turn a stressful fertility experience into an empowered one?

  • Practicing calm is key and preparing powerful comebacks so you aren’t caught off guard by uncomfortable questions at social events.
  • Learning to identify what you can and can’t control and redefining with healthy boundaries so you don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress.
  • Consciously choosing your language to support positive and proactive thinking.
  • Safeguarding your relationship from the strains of the infertility stress.
  • Building an emotional tool kit so you can proactively rewire your brain and untangle the disempowering reactions and turn them into empowering ones.
  • Defining who you need to be at this time and consciously working towards that identity.

ABOUT: Claire Hall is a Sydney-based life coach and counsellor who has worked with hundreds of women. Over time she has learned what tools and techniques work best and she offers practical advice as well as warm support. The book also contains a guide to the experience of IVF from fertility expert Dr Devora Lieberman.

Empowered Fertility: A Practical Twelve-Step Guide by Claire Hall with Dr Devora Lieberman, $19.99, is published by Hachette and available at  Booktopia.

Written by Franki Hobson

Franki Hobson has worn many hats during her many years as a women's lifestyle journalist and editor. Her launching pad was COSMOPOLITAN magazine, where she moved from News & Entertainment Editor to Features Director, covering everything from the legalisation of the Morning After Pill to Gwen Stefani, fashion, beauty, sex, health, fitness, entertainment and relationships.

Franki Hobson is a contributing lifestyle writer for The Carousel.

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