If you are familiar with my story, you know that I have gone through utterly tragic battles to become a mother. From years and years of IVF’s to climbing the mountains to find the holy man with magic potion. You name it, I’ve done it…
In my first marriage there was so much focus around having a baby that eventually it just tore us apart. I lost whole lot of self-worth and confidence while trying to get pregnant. I found my infertility as guilt, inadequacy and failure.
I ended up leaving Australia and moved back to Finland. I started my life from the scratch …and as I look back, I feel solely gratitude and acceptance for the prior. I understand why it turned out as it did.
I turned 40 this year and as I step into the next chapter of my life, I feel confident and open. My old wounds have been healing and I can finally surrender to the beauty of presence. I feel like I have it all – Love, Family, Home, Friends, Yoga – I am lucky and incredibly happy. Getting married in a month to love of my life, becoming a step-mom to a beautiful girl. Watching my adorable nieces and nephews grow up.
Not raising a child of my own, but helping to bring up wonderful little souls in my life.
For years I was bombarded with the social expectations and illusions of not fulfilling my job as a woman without having a biological child. I was haunted by the myth of the motherhood as “motherhood” is considered the primary role for woman.
In the depths of these illusions I had forgotten what motherhood actually means.
Motherhood isn’t a fertile womb. It’s not perfection nor purity, but rather warmth, attendance, empathy, silent tears and imperfections. There is no defined look or way. No rights and wrongs.
Motherhood is in all of us. In every woman!
It took me a long time to embrace the fact that in this lifetime I will be a my own version of mother.
When I snuggle up in a bed with my dog, I’m a mother. When I clean the eyes of the stray kittens I found in a jungle, I’m a mother. When I pick up a litter to protect our earth, hug a tree or water my plants, I’m a mother. When I comfort a distressed person, I’m a mother. When I guide my students in a meditation with a soft and caring voice, I’m a mother.
I’m a mother in the way I was meant to be.
Once a yoga student who had heard about my story came to me after class. She hugged me and whispered “You are mother to all of us. You do know that?”.
I keep returning to these words often.
Being childless doesn’t mean you’re not a mother, it means that you end up nurturing and providing guidance a bit differently. There are so many faces to motherhood. There are mothers with child, there are mothers who has lost their baby. There are mothers who have adopted a baby or mothers who take care of other peoples children. There is exactly as many embodiment’s of motherhood as there are women.
There is no childless women, mostly mothers without portfolios …Mothers at heart 💖
Love & Light
To fertility and beyond… I’m part of the 12 % married woman who struggles with infertility. There, I said it!
For years I struggled with this all by myself, so ashamed, so humiliated, and the day I opened up my mouth, and said something about it, I realized that I’m not alone. There’s millions of women like me, and they’re stories are pretty much the same. So if you struggle with infertility, please don’t hold it in, talk, find support and solutions. I’m here if you need a friend with working ears who has had every hormone injection possible, has been poked by infertility doctors in different countries, and last but not least have her hopes raised and smashed every 4 weeks.
I’m all zoned out on my bed from pain killers and agonising tummy pain after my hysteroscopy, and removal of endometriosis. I’m staring at all the scars on my belly… and not only the scars on surface, but the scars deep inside. Trying to be super exited about this next step, but cannot help getting also a bit nervous. For crying out loud, half a decade of trying to conceive, failed IVF’s, IUI’s, etc. I should be a pro by now not letting it get to me.
But I guess I’m like a good old deep fried Camembert, all gangsta outside, but silky smooth inside…
It doesn’t seem to get easier. It gets harder, time is running out… And I’m finding myself thinking “how much more?”. How much longer until we get to hold our little one in our arms? How many “Congratulations on your baby” -cards must I send while limboing between excitement and jealousy? Its our turn to be on receiving side of these words…
I know that I’m not alone with this problem, the hospitals are filled with women like me, looking for answers, living their lives trapped in an emotional rollercoaster ,feeling inadequate, broken, guilty, scared and jealous. Covered in scars…
The scars on my belly, they are my battle field with infertility… Every time I have a failed IVF or I get my period it’s like getting cut from an injury, I “bleed”, I scream, I cry… Nothing else exist, but the pain. But I have my loved ones around me to put a “bandaid” on it, to stop me from “bleeding”. And eventually a scab forms above the injury, this strong exterior to protect the more sensitive self underneath.
Somedays I’m filled with hope and I can deal with the “wound being touched” by comments and questions, but on worse days, all it needs is news of unplanned pregnancies by friends to rip the scab off. As the new skin under the scab strengthens, it becomes less sensitive, and life gets back to normal. But the scar always remain, amongst the other scars, it’s there to remind me of my journey. We learn to live with them, we learn to accept them. And we cannot endlessly keep hiding them away with make up, they’re part of us, part of the the way we look. And even though our scars are different, they have one thing is common… No matter how they look, or how much they hurt, the pain will eventually go away… that’s the beauty with scars.
At this very moment while I’m looking at my post-surgery scars, I see strength! I don’t see ugly wounds of misfortune nor failure around my belly, but I see the determination of going all the way for something that matters the world to me, I see dedication, love, willpower and passion. I see the structure of my character, I see my story…
The road of infertility is hard, but like any other road, you gotta keep moving forward, you must not lose the sight of destination because of the obstacles. There will always be unexpected suffering and disappointments, but you need to remember that you are in charge of your happiness and how you react to any of these challenges. You must not let these struggles affect your kindness, compassion and love toward yourself nor your partner.
Today I’m not gonna write about something delightful, like unicorns eating cotton candy or surfing mermaids. Instead I’m going to write about sadness and how to rise back on your feet, when life has knocked you down.
“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” – Kahlil Gibran
I have been to hell and back during the past months and someone smart once said that writing about your struggles helps. So I’m gonna open an ice-cream tub and pour my heart out….
We all have these seasons in life, when nothing goes right and we tend to hit the rock bottom. Well my past months have been falling down to rock bottom, but my rock bottom has been filled with sharp glass and hungry alligators…
So I’ll just start with a little update. Me and my husband have been trying to start a family for past four years, so there has been a fair bit of heartache once a month, there has been treatments by modern medical science, about five different world famous alternative healers, some “witches”, tibetan monks, stones, oils, needles, etc.
You name it, I’ve done it…
It has been a struggle that I don’t go a day without thinking about.
I’ve had so many failed treatments, IUI’s IVF’s, hardcore medication, surgeries and more medication.
So basically I have been the punching bag of the universe, literally. It’s hard to believe that I’m not, after you read this.
For the past five months I’ve been through two IVF treatments and one FET treatment. Back in my home country, Estonia, where I was born. Yeah, it has been fun time! The first one started out just fine. I followed the program, loyally, stabbing myself daily with needles straight into my belly daily, as we IVF patients do… eggs were growing, everything looked good, My husband flew over from Australia, where we currently live, to do his bit in a cup, and then started the waiting game, two weeks of praying, chanting and hoping it will work out.. As my husband had to fly back to work, I stayed in Estonia with my mom, visiting every temple, church and monastery we could, begging for a good luck. When the phone call from the hospital finally came, with, yet again, devastating news: ” Sorry, the results are negative”… My heart exploded into millions of pieces, like so many times before, I couldn’t breath and my mom was just holding me, like the times before, when I have had these horrible news…
Well, no can do… It was time to clue the heart back together, they got seven eggs out, used three, so I still had four embryos in the freezer waiting for the next ovulation to happen and that’s just less than couple of weeks away. It will work this time!
So I started to get all excited for the FET procedure (frozen embryo transfer). Only couple of days to go… I shot the final progesterone injections to my belly and I was full of willpower and determination …But then I receive an email…. an email!?! Not a phone call, but an email, saying, “We deeply apologise, but there seems to be a problem, we cannot locate your embryos.” Well, ain’t that nice, it’s not like they’re teenagers on a spring holiday, what the hell do you mean, you cannot locate my embryos?! Did you try the bar next door? Did you look under the bed? I don’t get it…
At the end, the hospital game up with a reply, “maybe we didn’t get so many…” Well, I definitely paid them to freeze my four embryos, and I had all the documents to prove it, and two days ago they still had them..? After contacting all the top doctors and lawyers, they advised me to give up the fight, as there has never been a single person in this country, that has won a fight against the government hospital.
I was finished, I was over it and I didn’t have an inch of faith left in my body. But then my husband called and surprised me with the best news. He had decided that we are going to take the IVF treatment in the most greatest private hospital, the leading fertility hospital in pretty much all of Scandinavia… This place logically charged about four times as much as the government hospital, but you know, what the hell, it’s just money, we can always slap another dept on top of our all exciting IVF depts! And this place is the best, everybody kept telling me, if it’s ever gonna happen, it will happen in this magical marble floored, crystal chandeliered palace, where the gold-plated storks sing on your bedside when you’re giving birth.
Bring it on! I was psyched, yet again! I started the treatments by myself, as my husband had to stay at work back in Australia. But about two weeks into treatments, he flew over to get his part done, froze the sperm for my eggs, and flew back to work. Note. flights 5000 aussie dollars for couple of days in Estonia… But, that’s what we had to do. We went all out on this russian roulette!
After hundreds of different injections, meds, tens of hours of bus trips to the hospital, finally arrived the morning of the first operation day. The eggs were coming out! Then they would be fertilized with my husbands sperm, grown in lab for couple of days and popped back in as embryos.
This time I had to go to hospital all by myself. Usually my mom would join me on these delightful road trips, but this time she couldn’t get any time off from work. She has been my biggest cornerstone, amongst my husband, when it comes to overcome these treatments. So there I was… lying on my fancy-pancy luxurious private hospital room, with the pink walls, in a lotus position, chanting my mantra ” Everything will be fine”. Knock on the door interrupted my nervous meditation, and enters my doctor, also known as the head of this fancy clinic. He nervously browses through my hospital papers, and announces: “There might be a problem..” All I could think of was, “WTF! Why, Universe, Why?!”, I thought that maybe the operation is going to be late and I’m going to have to spend the night at the hospital. But he continued, “I really don’t know how this is possible, but seems like we have lost your husband’s sperm…”. “lost my husbands sperm?”, I screamed. At this point millions of thoughts went through my head, what if they have used my husband’s sperm to accidentally fertilize some other ladies eggs? What am I going to tell everyone? what? what? what? At this point I felt like someone had punched me to my face and then thrown me off the cliff into a cockroach nest! I used every single estonian curse word that I had learnt from my not-so-well-behaved-sailor-grandfather! I cried and cried till I was dehydrated. I yelled and screamed for two hours straight, while my husband did exactly the same on the phone all the way from Australia. All I can remember from that moment was the doctors vein on his forehead pumping ridiculously fast.
Well, eventually I settled down, and so did that doctors disturbing vein. The sperm was gone, there was nothing we could do about it. My heart was completely broken, as I was still sobbing my eyes out, while transferred into the operation room… to collect my perfectly developed eggs, and freeze them. Coming out of the anesthesia, the first thing I did, was cried. The “full-of-faith, post-operation” momentum had turned into hopelessness, fear and fury.
So one might be right to wonder, if the whole universe is working against her, when doctor apologises for errors in my treatment, that never have been done during his career. Or in a separate case, hospital apologising for unforgettable mistakes, that only happen once in a lifetime. I’d say unforgivable, but I’m a firm believer in forgiveness.
So what makes me so special to universe,that it constantly yearns to conspire against me or shower me in these disappointments?
My mum keeps telling me that these things keep happening to me cause I’m so strong. Universe wouldn’t put a weak person into situations like mine. But it doesn’t seem fair. Do I really deserve all these horrible experiences, just because I’m strong enough to handle the pain?
I’m usually the happiest person ever. I love life. I’m overly sentimental, passionate and blown away about everything. Seriously, like I mean everything. Every sunset is the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen, and every ice-cream is the best ice cream I ever eaten. And if there is something that I don’t like, I’ll say “hmmm, well this is a little different” and carry on.
And I have been trying to be so positive during this past months, because that’s who I am. Even when it’s been so hard, I’ve pulled a smile and pretend everything is ok. I guess it’s my survival mechanism. But today, my smile was wiped away, with a mental slap.
Later when I left the hospital, I kept running into the kindest persons. And somehow every one of those strangers brought out the best of me and made me notice how amazing life really is. A taxi driver who pulled me into the conversation about how stunning our country is, even though it’s struggling in financial crises. A lost tourist, who was so happy and relieved when I directed her on a right path and told her about all the cool things to do in our city.
All of this made me realise, that even when I’ve just faced the worst news, there is so much beauty, and even there’s no guarantee that life works out as I hope it would, there’s still reasons to smile and be happy. I just need to keep my eyes on that sunshine that arrives after the storm.
It’s so easy to confuse the path with the destination, so I need to trust that this struggle is part of a bigger process. I must trust that no matter how hopeless things seem, as long as I’m strong and push forward, I will make it and I will get what I want.
Later on the day, I started to wonder… Maybe the universe isn’t punishing me, but merely trying to tell me something. I still have the most my husband, awesome family, wonderful friends, beautiful home, exciting travels, adventures and a job that I love. Sun is still shining and flowers are still blooming.
I do have the best support network a girl can ask for. And it’s so import to have people who care and run to comfort you, when you’re waving that flare down at your rock bottom.
I’ve been so buried into my troubles, that I’ve actually forgotten how incredibly lucky I am.
I’m starting to realize that I’m not that special. Because the universe isn’t trying to get me, it’s trying to get all of us. Everybody struggles and I have an entire floor of patients at the hospital to prove me that. Maybe the universe is just trying to make us exceptionally strong? Maybe we are just purifying from bad karma, getting the stuff out, to find the ultimate bliss?
I don’t know, but there is a lesson in this terrifying day. Shit happens… to me and to everybody else, but also really amazing things happen.
So maybe I should change my perspective from “why these horrible things happen to me?” to “what else could have happened, yet didn’t?”.
Maybe I should be thankful instead, or perhaps “thankful” is bit early to say, but not as disappointed?
So yeah, my ice-cream tub is empty, and the bed is calling. And thankfully tomorrow is a new day!!! If you struggle with stuff too, than I hope you found some motivation in my story. If you like to leave a comment and share how you’ve found a silver lining in your difficulties, please do. We all need some inspiration.
Struggling with infertility is torture, and it’s much more tortures if you struggle alone, so talk, share and find support groups. There is millions of us struggling with the same problem, but everyone’s too scared to mention anything. When I started to tell people more openly about my worries with this matter, I noticed that there was seven other girls in my life that struggled with exact same problem. And six of them have had a IVF baby since. So there’s hope for all of us.
Stay positive and focus on the good! Peace out!
“I am perfectly imperfect”
I’m sitting on my bed, eating ice-cream and scrolling down my Instagram account. So many stunning yogis in their most perfect poses. So many friends partying and eating most delicious food in most breathtaking places. I must admit I do feel little jealous.
Why does comparison makes us feel insecure and incomplete?
Because we all have struggled with it all our lives, since that first art class in kindergarden to that moment where our colleague nailed that job we wanted.
In a modern world where we are constantly pushed to be prettier, smarter and richer, it’s hard not to feel imperfect.
And it does happen to all of us, even to that super hot Instagram chick in her Ferrari. We all compare and we all get jealous. We are just humans. So what can we do to change?
I often notice, that I compare myself to these amazing yogis that can stand on one hand for hours, and do all these things that are physically impossible to rest of us. But why do I do this to myself? Why don’t I ever compare myself to beginners, in a healthy way, and see how far I’ve gone? Or why do I even compare? I should be inspired and learn something from them, and most of all I should be proud of myself, I am gifted and unique. I should count my blessings and be happy that I can do so many things that I could not even dream about doing years ago. I seem to forget that these amazing yogis where once in exactly the same point, and if I have this burning fire inside of me, I can someday stand on one hand too…
So why do we compare the worst of us to the best of others? Cause we forget that even the best of the best have problems, weaknesses and trials in their lives. The images on the screen are not their real selves. Nobody ever posts pictures of their insecurities or themselves arguing or crying. We seem to get attached to this very angled image of someone and not even realise that we might be the person that actually has it better.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” -Michelangelo
There is also another side to comparison. The one where we think we are better than others. This one is even harder to admit, but I do find that annoying feature in myself occasionally. Especially when I see a person that doesn’t recycle or is smoking, drinking and eating junk food like there’s no tomorrow.
But who am I to judge? What do I know of their difficulties? What do I really know about that person? Have I already forgotten that I’ve struggled with change too?
We all have felt hopeless and weak. We all have struggled with bad habits and felt bad about ourselves. There is enough critics in this world, so we must be more understanding and supportive, as we don’t know what it’s like for that person.
Compare yourself to yourself!
We are work in process so drop that self-pity and be proud of yourself! By mocking your features, whether their your looks, ambitions, brains or fitness level, you end up breaking yourself. You must know that you are capable of anything, just be brave and grow your potentials.
“How can I be better then I was yesterday?”, that’s my mantra.
Ask yourself, what have you achieved in past year? What goals have you accomplished? Have you grown?
Be proud of yourself! Think of, what are the things that you get complimented on? Maybe you are an awesome home chef, or wonderful with kids, or a ray of sunshine?
We might not end up having that supermodel body or billion dollar bank account, but when we’re mindful, happy and confident, we have something so much better.
By appreciating the qualities you already have and being grateful, you’ll build a firm foundation to a healthy confidence. And maybe one day you’ll notice that there is no need to compare yourself with others or to be approved by anyone, as you already are the best version of yourself.
There’s beautiful little metaphorical story about comparison that I love and must share:
When you were a child, your parents used to have you standing against the wall and make a little mark on the wall to measure your growth. They didn’t measure you against the neighbours kid or a kid on tv.
So when you measure your growth, make sure you only measure your today self by your past self. If you compare your success, relationship or your anything against anyone else, you’re not being fair to you. Everybody has a different path, different pace and different challenges to face along the way.
So shine on with your day, feeling beautiful, happy and enough.
And next time you find yourself envying someone’s accomplishments, go inwards and try to instead genuinely celebrate their good times. Turn that jealousy into drive and get inspire!
“We all are the same. We all have the potential to become a better person.”
A while ago I asked my students what would they like to have more in our classes. The answer was ‘backbends’. I’m a forward-bending-head-standing-arm-balancing kind of a gal, so I’m not a great fan of backbends. I don’t have the most flexible spine, but unfortunately, with yoga, the poses that you don’t enjoy are the poses that you need the most. So I went with it, we pulled a spun out class dedicated to heart opening and backbends.
The atmosphere among us after the class was so powerful. We felt happy, energetic and packed with compassion. I pretty much soared home, while hugging every single person on my way. I was full of love, and ready to shout it out from rooftops. Think, what an effect would a series of backbends in the morning have on world leaders? I’ll bet you, it wouldn’t harm us…
By all means I’m not the coldest person without backbends. Even though I come from a frosty and dark Scandinavia. I’ve always been a hugger, an emotional all-I-want-is-smiles kind of a freak of nature. But I still have lots to learn about becoming the person I want to be. If I could only open my heart even more, if I’d practice really, really hard… Think of my potential to provoke all the grumpy people with my happy-hippie-attitude… Just kidding, that’s not my motive. My motives are to be sunny, loving and caring partner, a compassionate and joyous friend and all around kind person…
We all get hurt occasionally. It’s sad but inevitable. It’s so easy to lock our hearts from the world just to protect ourselves. It might help us sometimes to survive the intolerable challenges. However the consequences of a close or broken heart might lead us to negative thinking, trust issues, depression, isolation, anxiety and pain.
So how can we open our hearts? How can we learn to love more?
These are my favourite methods when I need a lift…
Connect, truly and utterly connect with the world around you! When you wake up in a morning and step outside, take a deep inhale of that crispy morning air and feel happy to be alive. While walking, connect with your surroundings, try to find new things on your way to work that you haven’t noticed before. When talking to people, look into their eyes, really listen and stay present. I don’t know what we are so afraid of, but eye contact seems to be such an intimidating deed for some of us. We get confused where to look when stranger is passing by. What could possibly happen if we just look at them in the eyes and give them a friendly smile?
I was in a “Positive Energy” workshop led by world famous healer Veet Mano, and we had this exercise where for a minute we had to hold hands with an absolute stranger and look deep into their eyes.Then hug, and change partner. This went on with seven different persons and it was pretty awkward to start with, but ended up being one of the most mind blowing mental exercises I’ve done. Staring someone you don’t know straight into eyes, while nearly getting a glimpse of their soul… Such a simple yet so powerful practice. I recommend this to everybody.
Learn to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but you must learn to let go of your past so you can move forward. You feel tons lighter and happier when you stop carrying your wounds and burdens around. Forgive your enemies and forgive yourself. Start fresh! Instead of being the person you are, try to be the person you want to be remembered as.
Be grateful and allow gratitude to bring warmth into your heart. Don’t let that “thank you” be just an empty word or a nice habit. Make a conscious effort and mean it when you say it.
Also be generous, as giving has a way to connect our hearts with the heart of others. Perform daily an act of unconditional love. For example say something nice to your mailman, smile to someone who seems to need it or make an effort to get to know someone you work with as a person.
While walking around or sitting with your mates, remember what your yoga teacher constantly reminds you about, “lift your heart!”, “open your chest”. There is to many people walking around hunched, with their shoulders turned in and hearts hidden away. Sitting or walking straight with an open chest, will bring you confidence and leave you feeling happier and stronger.
Cuddle up! I love hugging, proper-deep-heart-to-heart hugs! Physical touch, especially hugging is very important for a healthy heart. It builds trust, gives a sense of safety and heals depression, anxiety and stress. I always try to hold a hug for 4 seconds to get a nice fix of serotonin in my brain to create happiness, but I’ve notice that usually after two seconds people try to pull away thinking what the hell is this new ager trying to do to me…
Meditate. If your not familiar with meditation, then just go for a quiet walk, or sit in a beautiful place for a while. Breath into your heart, literally, imagine the air as a white light travelling into your heart and healing it. Great option is to lay down on your back and place a rolled up towel or cushion under your upper back to lift your chest. Dedicate this moment to yourself. Be present. Don’t think of future or the past, just be. Become centred and you pretty surely feel happier and calmer afterwards.
Practise yoga! There are poses that can balance your heart chakra, leaving you feeling compleatly at ease with yourself, full of love and happiness. Great poses for heart opening are upward facing dog, fish pose, camel pose, dancer pose, bow pose, shoulder stand ( my personal favourite).
Go nuts! Release that inner child, run in the rain barefoot, laugh, sing in the shower. Dance, dance, dance to your favourite song. That’s what I do… My husband has got me these mini speakers all around the house, cause he knows that I have to have music everywhere, I dance and I absolutely loose it sometimes. Dare to stay wild, be who you were before the world told you who to be.
Most importantly LOVE! Love yourself, love others, love flowers, love little silly moments, love laughter, love kisses, love the spring breeze, love the feeling of crispy fresh bedlinens, love the smell of summer rain, love that perfect cup of coffee with the fresh croissants… Life is dazzling so just love it!
Compassion and generosity