Dear Fertility Massage "Therapist",
I think you should know that I left after my appointment last night very upset. I booked an appointment for a fertility massage to decrease stress and increase bloodflow. I certainly did not want what I got.
First, I think it's important that you realize that your story or anyone else's story will not necessarily be the client's story. In fact, what worked for you may not only NOT work for the client, but it could actually upset them. It's crucial to allow your client to lead the session; not you. That's the first rule of thumb in any helping profession.
Second, avoid imposing your own experiences and previous feelings in regards to fertility on the client. Your client might experience those things, but they may not. Imposing your own feelings may, again, cause harm, especially if they've already come to terms with those feelings and left those feelings in the past.
Despite what you may think after knowing me a full 30 seconds, I am a very positive thinker I visualize my baby or babies all the time, but as a professional counselor and someone with 10+ years experience in children's hospitals, including time in NICUs, I also know the extreme emotional trauma that a woman can experience from having to dismantle a nursery time and time again when she delivers babies that don't survive. So, NO, I don't think creating a nursery for a baby I don't have is a wise idea, nor is it a mandatory step in my journey towards motherhood. This does not make me a pessimist!
I also picture what my life would be like without children because I'm a realist and it's important for me to come to terms with the fact that having a baby biologically may not happen for me. I have to imagine plan B for my life in order to stay positive. This does not deem me "unready" or "unprepared". In fact, you'll never meet anyone more prepared for having a baby than me.
When I meditate and I visualize, it is in prayer, and no one will discourage me from that, but it is also a completely different visual journey than the one you described for me. I do not picture one egg, I picture several because I have a high chance of multiples and I want them all to be healthy. I do not picture a doctor giving me the baby because I plan to have a midwife or doula, and I certainly do not picture myself in stirrups because I don't believe that's the healthiest position to deliver in. In the future (if you still have one), it's best to encourage your client to visualize from conception to birth to home, but then leave the imagery up to them.
I also felt judged when I said adoption was not an option for me and my husband, but my reasonings for not wanting to adopt are selfless, not selfish (as you so candidly implied). I have hundreds of babies in my life that I devote so much time and energy to and will continue to, no matter how my journey ends, but I also know the heartache friends and family have felt from either being adopted or adopting. It's a decision that is not for everyone.
Lastly, perhaps the information provided in your notebook would be beneficial to some people, but I'm highly educated about wellness and fertility, which you could have gathered from reading my chart prior to my appointment. I don't need to review the literature on fertility, stress, nutrition, or holistic approaches. Second rule of thumb is to meet the client where they are, which you did not.
I left very upset, but luckily, I am a trained professional counselor and I am able to reframe my thinking, be proactive on my journey, and recenter myself after an emotional trauma. My suggestion to you is either to continue your part-time work as a teacher or take more courses/training on interpersonal relationships with clients in a helping profession. Please do not respond to this email. It will only upset me more.
Chelsea Vail, MA, CCLS
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