Kathryn Janicek: You work, and work, and work some more. Sometimes you get enough sleep, water, and time for yourself to decompress, but are you getting enough? What happens to our bodies when we forget about the number one person in our life: ourselves? Can you inadvertently create issues when it comes to your physical health, mental health, and even childbirth, if that’s something on your list of to-dos someday? We have a very personal story for you today and it could change your life.[INTRO]
Kathryn Janicek: Hi, this is Kathryn Janicek here with Audrea Fink and Julie Holton as always. Today we’re talking about health. What you could be doing now that could actually hurt your plans for the future. I ignored the warnings in my 20s and 30s from my mom. I had migraines for 20 years, and I just took these heavy migraine pills, and I never really worked on the root cause. Or once in a while, I might go to a therapist and be like, “I’m freaking out. I’m turning 30 and I just don’t think I’ve accomplished as much as I wanted to.” But I never really worked on the root cause. And I had to make some major life changes in my late 30s. And I hope this podcast helps you in some way, if you’re going through the same.
Kathryn Janicek: Audrea, do you know some workaholic women in your life?
Audrea Fink: Well I sure do, outside of maybe all of the members of the podcast. I myself fall into this category. I had a huge week, this week at work, where we had a bunch of stuff, and I had developed an eye twitch, and right before this podcast, we were talking and in reading over the script, I got really emotional and started crying, because I think this idea of pushing for success or pushing towards an outcome takes over, and looking at what have I done for me lately is one of the last things on my mind.
Julie Holton: Absolutely. This is why I left news. I thrived in the crazy newsroom environment, I lived for that 24/7 lifestyle, but I had no time for me. I had no time to date, I had no time to even find a hobby, let alone have one. And every time I stepped out of the newsroom, I felt it. I felt depressed, I felt anxious. It was like when I stepped out of the pressure cooker, I strangely felt more anxiety to get back in. And I knew it wasn’t sustainable.
Julie Holton: But guess what? Even when I changed careers, my job changed, but that workaholic was still in me. So now I run a company, I have a team that depends on me, I have clients whose businesses depend on our work. I always feel that pressure to be on. I’m always working. I’m still in that pressure cooker.
Julie Holton: But now the difference is, I try at least to constantly reassess how to make myself a priority, so that depression and anxiety doesn’t creep back in. And it’s hard. I don’t always do it the right way. It’s that constant push-pull, and we end up pushed into a situation where Audrea, like you said, you just … The week catches up to you, or the month, or the several months catch up to you. And so I think for most women, we’re constantly feeling that pressure.
Julie Holton: Now Kathryn, for you, I know that some of this really started to hit you, this evaluation of what can I do to fix this? And I know that really started for you after you got married.
Kathryn Janicek: Yes. I knew I had this workaholic problem, but I didn’t know it was gonna affect me physically. Three years ago, I wanted to try to have a child. I met, and I married, a man at 39 years old, and I knew he would be a great husband and a dad. I was 39, and I knew this was it. Somebody came up to me at an engagement party I was at, and they said, “You really should start looking into your health now, before you guys get married and actually then try to do this, because it’s been two years and I haven’t been able to have a child.”
Kathryn Janicek: And so I actually went to a doctor six months before our wedding, and I found out that I had really wrecked my adrenal glands, my thyroid. I had to go on a pill in order to be able to stay pregnant once we got pregnant. But those are things I did because of this fight or flight that we have. We wake up in the morning, we’re checking our calendar, checking Twitter, checking … You can’t breathe right when you wake up. That’s a bad sign. That’s where I was at.
Kathryn Janicek: And I’m gonna tell you, I’m not fixed. I am nervous now about things, because I own my own business like Julie, and it’s really hard. You have to stay on this. And mind you, I was never really 100% convinced that I wanted to have kids, but when you meet someone who’s a great partner, they tip the scales for me. I was never gonna do it on my own, and I was gonna be fine if I was single the rest of my life. I was one of those people. But quick synopsis, I found out through the dating thing … We were dating, and my husband told me that he had cancer years before, so we knew that we had to do IVF to get pregnant by using the sperm that he froze years prior.
Kathryn Janicek: But my IVF wasn’t working. I needed help with more eggs, and better quality eggs. And it turns out that that Type A lifestyle of working all the time and barely sleeping, and never taking time for myself to decompress, meditate, whatever, that actually hurt my body. And it was definitely hurting me through the IVF process.
Kathryn Janicek: And some friends had told me, “You really should try acupuncture and massage, and fertility yoga,” and I was like, “That sounds a little woo-woo to me. I don’t know if I can take the time to do that.” And then finally after going through a couple rounds of IVF, I finally listened to somebody, and I was like, “I am going to try this stuff. I need this.” And I just called up this place called Pulling Down the Moon. It’s in Chicago, and they have fertility acupuncture, oils, supplements, massage, and yoga, and just overall great community of women. So you meet other women who are going through this.
Kathryn Janicek: And after much more success, after seeing the experts there, I am pregnant. Maybe when you hear this, I will have already had my baby. But so today, we’re talking to one of the two female founders of Pulling Down the Moon in Chicago. Her name is Beth Heller. She has an incredible story of changing careers, launching these big health centers for women, and her own personal loss that sparked it all. Beth, thank you so much for joining us.
Beth Heller: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to speak with you all. This topic is just so important.
Julie Holton: Thank you so much, Beth, for joining us. Julie here. Tell us, what were you doing before you founded these three big offices in Chicago? And, how you partnered with another woman to do this?
Beth Heller: I’m just laughing as I’m listening to each of your stories, how they resonate with me. It’s funny, I got married at 23, but I didn’t have my first child until I was 35. So there was a whole lot of workaholic between the time I got married, and the time I had my child. And the thing that we’re not talking about is how much we love the journey of the work, maybe, right? It’s not like we’re just out there grinding. We’re out there because we’re passionate, and we’re excited, and we just want to be engaged with the world.
Beth Heller: So before I opened Pulling Down the Moon with my business partner Tami Quinn, I was in a graduate program. I was on a Ph.D. track for nutrition. I was that typical, stressed out graduate student. I was really, really lucky, though, in that I ended up working with a group of midwives for my research project, that were one of the first groups to challenge the blanket use of estrogen replacement therapy for menopausal women. This group of women researchers, they were all women, started to think about, “Well maybe we can get to the same place using something like exercise, instead of hormones, to manage menopause.” So that was really ground-breaking for me. I was working with academic nurses who were engaged in looking at health in a different way.
Beth Heller: I was very clearly … At that point, I wanted to be a Ph.D., I wanted to do research, I wanted to publish, I wanted to be a professor. And all of a sudden, one day, I was in my grind, in my daily life. I’d been married forever, running on the treadmill as we do, to just try to get rid of the stress, stay in shape, all the things that go along with being a professional woman. And I just heard a voice that said, “Stop.” And it was crazy, because up until that point, I was not woo-woo. Kathryn, I had to laugh about your woo-woo comment, because that was not my approach. But I heard a voice, and there’s the big red stop button, and I hit it, and that treadmill started to slow down. And I look back at that moment, and it was just … It was my life started to slow down at that point.
Beth Heller: I wandered off of the treadmill. I had no idea what to do next. I had an hour scheduled to work out, and there was a yoga class starting. So this was in mid-90s, so it wasn’t quite the thing it is today, but I ended up going to yoga. And by the end of that class, I walked out, I bought a mat, I bought a book. I just felt like something had to shift, like I really had reached my breaking point.
Beth Heller: And that’s where the journey to Pulling Down the Moon started.
Audrea Fink: Beth. Audrea here. Given your different backgrounds, what led you and your partner to start these fertility clinics?
Beth Heller: We came from very different paths to converge together, Tami and I. As I said, I was dong my Ph.D. work, ended up thinking with my husband, “One of these days, we’re gonna want to start a family,” went off the pill, gosh, sometime in the mid-90s, right around the time … Before I started yoga, but was expecting that we were gonna have to … Gave him the big lecture. “We’re gonna have to use condoms. I don’t want to get pregnant. I need to do this. I need to do that.” And didn’t get my period for a year, after going off the pill. Didn’t get my period for another year, after going off the pill. Didn’t get my period for another year, after going off the pill.
Beth Heller: And finally, one of my dear friends said, “Honey, you’re getting older. You need to go figure out what is going on. You may not want a kid right now, but it’s not normal.” So, ended up going to see a fertility doctor. Did my first fertility workup. It was at a teaching hospital, so got the pelvic exam from the doctor, and got the pelvic exam from the seven residents he had in tow. And they all chit-chatted together and told me that I was a classic, a textbook case of hypothalamic amenorrhea. And I knew what that was just because I’d been in the endocrinology world, but I remember him telling me, “You have hypothalamic amenorrhea. It’s not dangerous. When you want to get pregnant, we can do Clomid, and that’ll help jump-start your cycle.”
Beth Heller: And I remember walking out of there, and just those words going through my head. Hypothalamic amenorrhea. That really sounds like the endocrine system. Let me look that up on the internet, which was new at that point. And I looked it up, and lo and behold, the things you do for hypothalamic amenorrhea, it’s related to not getting enough sleep. It’s related to not eating enough. It’s related to exercising too hard. It’s related to stress. Right? So, boom. I had four things on my plate right there that were contributing to that hypothalamic amenorrhea.
Beth Heller: And it’s about that time that I heard that stop button, or I heard that voice say stop, that I hit the stop button, started yoga. And this crazy thing happened. Three months later, I got my period back, after four years. And then three months after that, I ended up getting pregnant for the first time.
Beth Heller: So I was on my own personal journey towards pregnancy. Ended up getting pregnant naturally after all those years of amenorrhea. But then I had my first miscarriage three months later, after that. So it’s thought I had it all figured out, and then I realized I did not have it all figured out, with that loss. And that brought me into teacher training for yoga, going much deeper into how yoga supports reproduction. I ended up dropping my Ph.D. program, getting my master’s degree, really just following that call to slow down a little bit.
Beth Heller: And like anything, we think we’re slowing down, but I was speeding up in another way, too. It was just getting on a different path. So it took a long time. I took another year and a half, and I managed to conceive again naturally, and have an amazing, amazing pregnancy that ended in a stillbirth at 38 weeks. And it was just one of those moments, yet again, where you learn that no matter how hard you work, you can’t control everything in your life.
Beth Heller: But an amazing thing happened with that loss. I had met Tami Quinn through my local yoga studio. She’s now my business partner, has been my business partner for 16 years, and she was supposed to cover my maternity leave. So we had connected on that. We weren’t close friends, but then she learned that I had this stillbirth, so we just had this really intimate connection from a random event in our life. And it turns out that Tami herself had been a fertility patient. She had fertility twins at home. And shortly after I came back from my non-maternity leave, we started to talk about yoga for fertility, and we both had this vision of empowering women through yoga, but also all those other lifestyle teachings of yoga, to support their own fertility to be in charge of their fertility, and learn that there are a lot more tools out there available to them, than just Clomid, or just that medical path.
Beth Heller: So really that’s how Pulling Down the Moon came into being.
Julie Holton: Beth, Julie here. I’m listening to your story, and just captivated, and I can only imagine that our audience is as well, and coming from so many different points of view, and walks of life, and various stages of whether they’re going to have children or not. And so hearing you talk about some of those issues that you learned in your life that you had control over but didn’t realize initially, stress, how you were eating, what you were eating, whether you were getting enough sleep at night. Those are all things that on many levels, we can control, or we can try to control.
Julie Holton: And so, I also wonder, what are you finding now? Are you dealing with … Are you finding more women dealing with fertility issues? What do you think? And how much of those issues are things that we can start to focus on now?
Beth Heller: I think there are an increasing number of women seeking fertility treatment, particularly younger women, and more women who have partners with male factor issues. Now I’m not sure if that’s because there are more women with infertility, or perhaps that through social media, through … Actually, through a lot of the marketing that’s being done by fertility clinics, women are addressing their fertility earlier. So I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I do … One thing, we are seeing people be a little bit more aggressive, starting earlier, with treatment. Testing their fertility, getting hormone levels checked, and those sorts of things.
Audrea Fink: So are you … Is your clinic, or is your focus maybe, just treating women who want to have children, or is there treatment out there for women like me, who definitely suffer health issues due to stress, but don’t necessarily go down the path of fertility for it?
Beth Heller: It’s funny, because when I think of Pulling Down the Moon, I think that we treat anybody that just wants to rock their journey in life. In particular women, because that’s what we do all day every day. I don’t know how many clinics see the sheer amount of women. And when you come in for fertility, we’re never just treating fertility. We’re treating a lifestyle. That’s what holistic medicine does. So we’re treating endometriosis, we’re treating insomnia, we’re treating eating disorders, we’re treating stress. All of those things are what we specialize in, because those are all the things that need to heal, to make somebody optimally fertile, or have a better chance of conceiving.
Audrea Fink: I just read this article, and I’ll make sure to share it in the notes. It came out from Science Daily, and the headline is that women gain weight when job demands are high, and men don’t, statistically speaking. But essentially what they’re … And I don’t want to get on the weight gain train, because I don’t think that’s a healthy conversation. But this idea that when women are put in pressure situations, our bodies react in a certain way, and it’s pretty consistent, through weight gain. And then I think about all the women I work with, and not a lot of us are skinny, right?
Beth Heller: I think it’s interesting, Audrea. I think women use food to control and manage their stress. And for some women, they don’t eat. When I get stressed, I can’t eat. That’s the way I respond to job stress. But it’s always something. We do tend to use that food as a way to manage our emotions, and manage the stressors in our lives. And I think that’s one of the top messages that I’ve learned over the years at Pulling Down the Moon is that life is stressful, ladies, right? We cannot change that stress. Most of us, a lot of us, are driven and like each of you said, we’re all workaholics. We’ve all made changes, but we’re still us, right? We’re still managing that internal drive, and I don’t want my drive to go away.
Beth Heller: But what I’ve learned is that I can’t control that drive and I can’t control the stress, but I can really control the way my body reacts to it, by making sure that I’m eating really nourishing foods and I’m avoiding empty calories, I’m avoiding chemicals in my foods, making sure that the products I use are clean, really paying attention to my sleep, making that a priority. All the … Practicing yoga, or meditation physically changes the way your body responds to daily stress. Not just when you’re on the mat, but they have studies that show that women who practice yoga regularly have better antioxidant response to stressors. They make less stress hormones when they’re stressed. We’ve trained our bodies, not to not experience stress, but to not react so intensely and on the physical realm.
Beth Heller: So I think that’s just a really empowering message for those of us who might be workaholics, and might love that part of ourselves, is that that might not change, but we can change the way our body responds to that stress.
Kathryn Janicek: I think it’s really important what you were just talking about, because I’ve been doing acupuncture now … For me, it was fertility acupuncture, but it’s also helped my migraines dramatically. And I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half now, at your center, at Pulling Down the Moon. But I also noticed, it has affected my response time a little bit to things. I don’t overreact like I used to. And I also wonder if it’s because my thyroid’s a little more in control now, too, because that’s one of the things that, when you have hypothyroid, you can be more irritable. And that, I’ve controlled now with my diet. I’ve learned that this is what I was dealing with. I wouldn’t have known unless I’d started to try to have a baby.
Kathryn Janicek: So I don’t know if I would still be that super irritable person now, if I didn’t get married and try to have a child and found out that I had hypothyroidism. Or I was right on the border. But that acupuncture I do now, which is for fertility, it really has helped me cope better. I’m not as quick to anger. I don’t pick fights with my husband. My relationship is very different with him than any relationship in the past has ever been.
Kathryn Janicek: So that acupuncture, the yoga, those things can really help you, whether or not you’re doing the fertility thing, right?
Julie Holton: And it’s so interesting, Kathryn, to hear you say that, because I wonder, after you have the baby, are these things, acupuncture, massage … Are these things … And yoga. Are these things that you’re going to continue doing, now that you see the health benefits for you, and not just for the pregnancy?
Kathryn Janicek: I have to. When I saw my migraines go down like this, because they’re treating certain points … When I go in, they’re helping me with my fertility but they’re also … They’re helping the baby right now, because I’m currently pregnant and doing the acupuncture, but I have to do it, because I realize if I go every week, I don’t have this back pain that I normally have or this muscle pain, or the … Which can sometimes lead to other stuff. Or I don’t get as stressed as fast, that might be leading to the migraines.
Kathryn Janicek: And I’m also going to keep on this diet that I’ve been on. It’s not really a diet, I’ve just changed … I eat completely anti-inflammatory now. No glutens, no dairy. And I know I get a headache when I incorporate a gluten or dairy. So these changes that I had to make to get pregnant, they are changes that I have to keep for the rest of my life, because I feel better. So it’s just amazing what I’ve found just through research, and talking to doctors, and experts like Beth.
Kathryn Janicek: So Beth, tell me … It’s really, really interesting to me, about the partnership of two women from different backgrounds, two different … You guys did different things professionally. What is it like working with another woman? How do you split up the work? How do you guys get it all done? Just, how does it work?
Beth Heller: Tami and I joke that we share a brain. And I honestly think that the Tami and Beth of Pulling Down the Moon has been the driving force of our success. We just get it. We both had kids. I was having my kids while we were opening our first center. I had my first child three weeks after we opened our first center.
Beth Heller: So there’s just been this acceptance of fluidity, and we don’t blame. We just have each other’s back, and we both … We all know, who works harder than a woman? I don’t need to get on my soapbox, but we may not work until 11:30 at night, but if it’s gonna get done, it’s gonna get done. And if it doesn’t get done, the other person understands why, and picks up that slack.
Beth Heller: And that has just been the way that our business has worked from the very get go, and I think people like that too, when they see … When people come and work at Pulling Down the Moon, I think they appreciate the way that Tami and I work together. I think it’s an ethos we try to send out throughout the company, and try to be supportive of different lifestyles and flexibility and those sorts of things that you need as a woman, in a working environment.
Kathryn Janicek: And can I say something really fast, just because I’ve been there? I think that you two have changed the mold for a company, because you also … A lot of the women who work there, they don’t work full time. They work on their … You’ve made these great part time positions where they can work while also being flexible enough that they can take care of their children. A lot of people, I’ve found, work there because they were there for fertility help, and then they were like, “I really like being here. Do you have a job for me? Can I work your front desk? Can I answer the phones? Can I-”
Audrea Fink: That’s awesome.
Kathryn Janicek: Isn’t that neat, Audrea?
Audrea Fink: Yeah.
Kathryn Janicek: And so you have all these women who understand. When you walk in, they’re like … They don’t tell you their story, but they’ve been there. So they understand if you’re cranky, or you have to cancel because maybe your blood work that morning went a little long or whatever. They’ve been there and they understand, and I just like you as founders, you’ve created this business that is helpful to other women and their lives. And it’s not like they have to decide between their personal life or their work life.
Beth Heller: Yeah, we created what we needed, and we hope that we can keep creating what other women need. So some people, and there’s nothing wrong with having a full time career. That nine to five thing is, it’s totally great, for some people. For others, it’s just too much, and so I feel like Pulling Down the Moon is a middle ground where you can have a strong cutting edge career if you’re an acupuncturist or a massage therapist or a nutritionist. But you really only have to be there two days a week. And you get in, you get out, and you’re done. And that’s been a huge part of our vision.
Audrea Fink: So awesome to hear. I love that. Speaking about creating a career that allows for your life, after you started these centers, your family and personal life shifted, and so life took Tami to LA, and you to Green Bay. So neither one of you are actually in Chicago anymore.
Audrea Fink: So how do you both manage this business from far away? Plus you have multiple centers in Chicago, and you’re no longer in Chicago. Talk to us about that a little.
Beth Heller: Yeah. Good thing is, we’ve been around for 16 years now, so a lot of Pulling Down the Moon is established, right? We’re doing what we’re doing. We continue, just because of the nature of the professionals that we have working for us, we continue to innovate, just because they’re the kind of people that stay at the forefront of their area of expertise. So that’s a wonderful thing.
Beth Heller: It’s very funny. Tami and I worked together for 12 years, and the exact same year, my husband came home and said, “I do not want to live in Chicago anymore. I want to move to Wisconsin. We need to be closer to my family.” And it’s the same exact year when Tami’s son got involved in the Disney Channel, and she had to move out to LA to be with him. And sometimes I just feel like this business … Talk about woo-woo. I feel like it is guided, because there’s no other way that that could have happened, yet again, without one of us feeling like we were stuck holding the bag. And you get to go to LA, or you get to move to Green Bay. Nope. It just, the way it happened. And we were blessed by having this amazing staff. I think it’s partially because the work we do at Pulling Down the Moon is so meaningful, to the people that work there. It is about … It’s not only about fertility for me. It’s also about the women themselves, because I learned so much about myself. I came into my own through my fertility journey, and that’s what I want Pulling Down the Moon to be for others, whatever the outcome might be.
Beth Heller: So that mission is so compelling that people wat to keep the place running, when we’re not there. And we’ve got things like Skype. We do leadership calls. We do Skype meetings. We can do everything just the way we’re doing this now, virtually.
Audrea Fink: I think if listeners take nothing away from this podcast but what you just said, is that you can create an environment that supports the people you work with and gets them fired up so that they continue the mission even if you’re not there. And-
Kathryn Janicek: Hear, hear.
Audrea Fink: That’s so beautiful.
Julie Holton: And the mission becomes their mission. When you have a team and everyone has ownership in that, that’s when the mission thrives.
Beth Heller: And I want to give a shout out to Kathryn, because she came in and she did a workshop with our team. And I think we’ve been very clear. We’ve all known in our heart why we are there. But that afternoon was really special. Kathryn really pushed us to identify our why, and we’ve gone back to that over and over again, and it’s something we knew but we hadn’t articulated, and now there’s just that power that whenever somebody comes, wants to get involved, it’s like, “Hey, this is our why, and if this isn’t your why, it’s probably not a good fit for you. If it’s your why, you’re gonna love it here, and you’re gonna be set for life.”
Beth Heller: So that’s just a really … I agree with you, that that is a message that … If you find that why, and you find other people that share it, you can do anything.
Kathryn Janicek: Thank you, Beth. That was really nice of you.
Julie Holton: Beth, I would love to give our listeners some tactical takeaways today, for women in every walk of their journey, fertility or not. And so, one thing that I know, and this is still … I feel like I’m in my infancy in this journey. But a few years ago, I cleaned out my entire home of all cleaning chemicals. I did a total ditch and switch. I started purchasing Young Living products, and got rid of the chemicals, because I was so alarmed at what I was reading, and what I was hearing from Kathryn as my friend, who was going through her fertility journey.
Julie Holton: And so, and reading that chemicals can lead to infertility, and cancer. And I’m not just talking about the toilet bowl cleaner. I’m also talking about the makeup I was putting on my skin, and I had no idea that what I was putting on my face every day were, in some cases, well-documented cancer causing chemicals.
Julie Holton: So what are some simple changes, from your point of view, that women can do at home?
Beth Heller: I think, as you said, looking at the products, really trying to get rid of the chemicals, going for more natural, organically made, solvents, cleaners, makeups, shampoos, et cetera. The other thing I really encourage women to do is know where they are leaning on artificial means to get through their day. So it’s good, every once in a while, to go off caffeine, so you can understand what your real energy levels are.
Audrea Fink: Just saying that, and I’m like, “Mm-mm (negative), I’m out. I’m out.”
Beth Heller: Right? But the things that we rely on, that we think we have energy, we think we get through our days. See how much sleep you need if you’re not drinking caffeine. See how much sleep you need if you’re not eating sugar throughout the day. So test yourself. Test those little crutches, like your caffeine.
Beth Heller: Sure, I’m all for a glass of wine. I think a glass of wine is a wonderful thing, at the end of the day. But are you self-medicating? Can you go a couple days? How is your life without that crutch? And oftentimes, we realize that we’re pretty good, and we’ve got things … We’re balanced. And other times, we find out that, “Man, I am a complete basket case, and I’m drinking three glasses of wine because I’m not addressing that.” So for me, that’s just a simple audit. Get rid of a couple of crutches, see how life goes. It doesn’t have to be forever. It’s just, you do it as a science experiment. So that would really be my recommendation.
Kathryn Janicek: No one has to admit this on the panel, but I definitely know that before we started the fertility journey, I was definitely self-medicating. I was the person who, I couldn’t go a night without a glass of wine. And this journey of being … I know I’m not sober, because it’s pregnancy. That’s not being … But I tell you, even between IVFs, I wasn’t drinking, definitely not as much as I did in my 20s and 30s, because I knew this couldn’t be good for making eggs. The sugar, first of all, I had googled. The sugar’s terrible for making eggs to have a baby. But I realized that I wasn’t dealing with my emotions, because it was too easy to just grab a glass of wine and just relax. So, I’m really glad you brought that up, because I forget about that change that I had to make.
Audrea Fink: I think it’s so easy to self-medicate, too. I’m thinking about [inaudible 00:31:59] this week, which was super awesome. I won at work, and I lost at life. But I drank more coffee this week than I have had in the last month. I think it’s really easy to look at how you self-medicate and find those things, and I think it’s so much easier to get home and be like, “I’m exhausted. I’m gonna just put my feet up, and have a glass of wine, and zone out on the TV,” or for me it’s reading. I come home, I lay in bed, and I read. I don’t sleep. I’m not relaxing. I’m not letting loose. I’m just … I have wine, to counteract all the coffee I drink. Yeah. I think we all do that.
Beth Heller: I think there’s one other thing I would throw out there. I don’t know where this would fit, but with infertility in particular, because that is our specialty, one of the things I’m finding is that there’s more awareness of fertility issues, more awareness, maybe more diagnosis of fertility challenges. But what we’ve lost is this ability to be patient about it.
Beth Heller: So, there are lifestyle things we can do to improve our odds of getting pregnant. But we also have really great medical treatment, which I’m all for Western medical fertility treatment, but it presents a silver bullet. It’s like, “Why would I stop self-medicating if IVF is available to me? Why would I make these changes or do acupuncture or try massage if there is this medical solution?” And I think over the 16 years that I’ve been at the Moon, you learn that that medical is not a foolproof. It seems like of course it’s gonna work, it’s always gonna work. Why wouldn’t it work? The egg and the sperm together in the uterus, it’s gonna work.
Beth Heller: But, it does not have a super high success rate. So if we can just get women to look a little bit sooner at their fertility, maybe go off the pill a little bit sooner, maybe build three months of self-care and lifestyle change into their pregnancy journey, their fertility journey, I think that would change a lot of lives. I think it would save a lot of money, I think it would save a lot of stress, and I think ultimately we’d end up with healthier babies because we would be addressing these lifestyle issues, the exhaustion, the self-medication, the not doing enough exercise or doing too much exercise. We’d solve those earlier on, and it’s not like your problems go away once you have a baby. Everything that you did is still there after the fact.
Beth Heller: So I just wish this idea of a little bit more planning, a little bit more patience, and addressing lifestyle first would be the first message that women get about their fertility.
Audrea Fink: Well I think it goes beyond that, too. Like I look at my personal health, and when I walk into the doctor, my doctor says, “There is nothing wrong with you. Your health is perfect.” But I don’t sleep well, right? I can’t get up in the morning. It doesn’t matter how much I sleep, I cannot wake up in the morning. I can’t get through my day without coffee. So I’m not saying that medical science doesn’t have value, but I don’t think it’s enough.
Audrea Fink: If I know I go to the chiropractor, and I go to acupuncture, and I work out, and I get massage, my lifestyle gets significantly better. If I don’t do those things, my blood work is still perfect, my blood pressure is still perfect, my doctor still says, “There’s nothing wrong with you. We don’t know why you’re not sleeping. Try melatonin.” So I don’t think it’s just … Yeah. I don’t think it’s just for fertility. I think women in general need to learn how to not take it all on.
Kathryn Janicek: And to Beth’s point, if I would have done it earlier on in my fertility journey, I’m gonna say a number here and it’s gonna freak some people out at home, but it’ll really nail down the point of that you need to do this earlier on. You have to start thinking about your future earlier on and make these changes, because last year alone, last year, we spent $50,000 out of pocket. That’s beyond our insurance. So $50,000 out of pocket for our baby, for IVF, for the supplements we needed. But really it was all the doctor appointments. So know that, the year before, we also spent about that much.
Kathryn Janicek: So if I would have done these things, and found out sooner that I had done this to my body because of work and not being able to cope with work, and stress, I would have saved probably $50,000. Because people ask me, “Well, does your insurance cover acupuncture or massage?” Well a lot of insurances don’t. Mine, in my case, it didn’t. Some people’s cases it does. But then you sit there and go, “Gosh. For a $75 little acupuncture once in a while, maybe I would have been able to save $50,000 last year.” So it’s just, I say that number not to go like, “Oh, poor me.” It’s just to nail home the thing that, if I maybe didn’t take three years to do this, or two and a half years, I might have saved a lot of money.
Kathryn Janicek: So if I would have heeded the warnings that my mother had given me in my 20s and 30s, to just decompress and take acupuncture, and go to yoga, and relax and deal with the root cause of my stress, I may have had a easier go at fertility, and I wouldn’t have had to maybe spend the $50,000 last year, out of pocket.
Audrea Fink: And that’s not … You’re not alone. I have two friends going through it right now, and their insurance covered the first round, and they’re on their third round. And so the money that is being spent on this is not insignificant. So you’re not alone in that dollar amount.
Kathryn Janicek: So it just, I wanted to … We sit there and we talk about all this fun stuff, but sometimes people don’t really get it until they hear a number. So I just wanted to push that number out there.
Kathryn Janicek: Okay. So Beth. Before we go, we collect advice from the successful women that we interviewed in our podcast. We do this every time we do this, and we like to share this with our Think Tank forum. So we have a couple rapid fire questions for you, okay? Here’s the first one.
Kathryn Janicek: Is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would have learned earlier in your career?
Beth Heller: Don’t be frightened. I find that my natural instinct is to think of everything that can go wrong, especially when I am presented with an opportunity. And when I put that out of my mind, and I just move forward, I find that I am acting on opportunities right and left, just by getting rid of that one little habit.
Julie Holton: What advice would you offer to your younger self 10 years ago?
Beth Heller: That makes me smile, because I have really liked myself for the last couple of decades. And I think my journey into yoga, into thinking a little bit deeper about the path that I’m on, and the people I’ve been able to connect with, for that … I do think it’s a really wonderful gift. So I think if I could go back 30 years, I would say, “Don’t stress so much, because when you’re 30, you’re really gonna start to like yourself.”
Audrea Fink: What would you say is the most important skill for a woman to learn in today’s professional setting?
Beth Heller: I think being consistent. Because we’re constantly … There are so many different mediums in which we’re conveying our message, in which we’re trying to share our why, that it’s very easy to … If you really don’t have that north star of consistency, and if you don’t wake up every morning and really remember what you’re trying to do, I think it ultimately hurts, because you will come across as inauthentic, or you just … There’s just too many different ways to message out there, so I think knowing your message, knowing it in your heart, and really sticking to it, being consistent with that, is something that is really, really important today.
Kathryn Janicek: That’s great. It’s a good reminder for everyone. For everyone, whether you own a business or you don’t. Beth, how do people find you, if they need to reach out because they’ve heard this and they need help?
Beth Heller: There are a couple different ways. You could visit pullingdownthemoon.com for our website. Tami and I have also written a couple books. We’ve written a book called Fully Fertile, and a book called The Infertility Cleanse, so if that’s specific to your journey, it’s got a lot of great lifestyle … A lot of the lifestyle changes that I’ve alluded to are outlined in both of those books, so that’s a great place to start.
Kathryn Janicek: Terrific, so it’s pullingdownthemoon.com. Excellent. This has been a great conversation. Thank you, Beth, for making time. I hope we have reached someone. That’s our why. We want to reach people and make some kind of difference, and I hope we have done that with this podcast. I know we’ve done this, with this podcast.
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