by Lynsi Eastburn

There are many contributors to the fertility struggle—some known, or obvious; some unknown, perhaps lurking beneath the surface.

Hypnosis is well-known for its efficacy in uncovering and removing subconscious blocks. This is what makes it so valuable in dealing with infertility—unexplained infertility, in particular. There are many subconscious blocks that can interfere with fertility; oftentimes women have an idea, or an inkling, of what they might be. The subconscious mind is protective, and it is goal-achieving. It is non-thinking; its language is emotion and imagination/imagery. In its protective mode, the powerful subconscious mind uses whatever happens to be handy to keep us safe from what it perceives to be a threat. As it is not logical like the conscious mind, the subconscious mind will often institute a protective mechanism that may hold an “all or nothing” meaning.

For example, the subconscious mind does not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Reality is subjective; it cannot be absolute because of perception, hence, from the HypnoFertility® standpoint at least, the word “reality” is best used in quotation marks. In other words, even the experiences of someone else may be claimed as your own because they caused you pain or upset (even indirectly). To the subconscious mind, the emotional distress of having an abortion or even supporting someone through the process can constitute the need for infertility. No pregnancy = no need for abortion. Fears of having a handicapped child, often ingrained from having a handicapped sibling or knowing someone struggling with such issues, are effectively addressed by the subconscious mind with this handy formula. I see this a lot with speech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and medical professionals who are more than aware of the worst-case scenario. What could happen. Again, you will not have to deal with a handicapped child if you cannot conceive in the first place.

One of the most common subconscious blocks that I have seen in my practice over the past two decades is, in simple terms, mother issues. This is particularly common in first-born daughters for many reasons. Mentally/emotionally unstable mothers (not necessarily diagnosed with any specific mental illness) tend to project their unresolved issues onto the first-born child, especially if that child is a girl. An unwanted pregnancy is—sometimes consciously, often subconsciously—blamed on the child, as are marital issues. Certain mothers exhibit envy toward their daughters; many place unrealistic demands upon them. Such childhood strife often manifests as infertility. Not wanting to be like their mothers, to repeat their mothers’ mistakes, to in some way cause harm to an innocent child, some women’s torment and internal struggles result—thanks to the protective subconscious mind—in the inability to have a baby. On the flip side, occasionally there is an actual fear of not being able to be as good of a mother as they perceive their own mothers to be, and that can cause a block as well.

There is a psychological theory known as the cycle of violence which frequently appears in the family violence literature. The academic concept has caused ongoing controversy among scholars who continue to research its validity, though generally speaking, the theory suggests that violent behavior is learned within the family, and “bequeathed from one generation to the next.” That a survivor of a violent or dysfunctional family is predisposed to repeating the same behavior once she has her own family is the crux of this theory. In essence, we have a never-ending chain that is passed down from one generation to the next. Researchers have found that people who experienced or even witnessed violence as children are more likely to harshly discipline their own children, that children raised within such dysfunction are exceptionally vulnerable. Some such survivors are keenly aware of this possibility and thus afraid to have children. The fact is that some people do mindlessly repeat the cycle—even justifying their actions with regurgitated excuses from their own past like: you shouldn’t have made me mad or it’s your own fault or kids need discipline… or worse.

Without delving into the depths of family violence, it is notable that whether overt physical, sexual, emotional/mental abuse occurred, or whether there was some sort of subtle expression of it, people are impacted in numerous ways. Some will subconsciously repeat the cycle, others will consciously fight it. In the case of infertility, we often have a case of the individual being so afraid of harming her own children, or not being able to overcome her mother’s dysfunction, or even just of having a daughter, that her subconscious mind institutes the undesired—but essentially effective—catchall solution: if you can’t have a child, you will not be able to abuse it.

Fortunately, recognizing that this experience could potentially be a block is the first step. Once we bring light to the darkness we can begin to heal. We can rewrite our story and move forward.