Help with Fertility, produced by Health Journeys and recorded by Belleruth Naparstek, is an audio program that uses guided imagery to relieve stress and cope with infertility. Naparstek is world-renowned for her work with guided imagery, and probably best known for her research on using guided imagery for the relief of post-traumatic stress disorder. In Help with Fertility, Naparstek’s expertise and gift for creating effective imagery shines through.
What is Guided Imagery?
Guided imagery is a sort of self-hypnosis, whereby visualizing images, you can enhance relaxation. You may think of it as guided daydreaming. Guided imagery can be self-guided, with your own images and ideas, or you can use an audio recording or therapist to help you.
Help with Fertility is available in three formats: cassette, CD or downloadable MP3s, direct from their website. The audio program is 75 minutes long, and includes four exercises, each with a different goal:
- The first tract is meant to envision “fertilization and parenthood," using words and images that are appropriate for fertilization inside or outside the body (as with adoption or assisted reproductive technologies).
- The second tract includes affirmations meant to improve self-esteem and lower stress. The affirmations address many of the emotional concerns that arise during infertility, including sadness, anger, jealousy and the sense that infertility has taken over your life.
- The third tract is imagery for relaxation, meant to help get you through difficult medical procedures. The relaxation imagery isn’t specific to infertility, and it can be used to cope through any medical procedure or stressful situation.
- The last tract is meant for when and if you decide not to pursue further treatment or when you need to take a break. The imagery aims to help with grief and resolution.
What I Loved
- Imagery confronts the common concerns and worries couples with infertility face.
What impressed me the most about this audio program is how well it addresses the concerns that couples with infertility face. The introduction tract states that a great deal of research went in to the creation of the program, and that research clearly paid off. I felt as if Naparstak knew just what I was worried about and what I needed to hear.
I also liked that if you don’t want to visualize fertilization, you don’t need to. The affirmation and relaxation tracts are free from references to conception, perfect for when the last thing you want to think about is pregnancy.
- Naparstak’s soothing voice, along with the accompanying beautiful music, are a perfect combination.
I’ve used guided imagery in the past, but never anything by Naparstak. After hearing her audio program, my old tapes look dull and unappealing. Naparstak’s voice is perfect for these programs, in my opinion. The accompanying music is also beautiful, being choreographed to match the images in the program, without being distracting.
- Visualizations are open, acknowledging the many possible routes toward parenthood.
I loved how the imagery on the fertilization tract didn’t exclude adoption or pregnancy through assisted reproductive technologies. At first, I wasn’t sure how it was possible to develop imagery that could fit both those who want to visualize fertilization of a biological child as well as those considering adoption, but her images work for both.
What Could Have Been Better
- Beautiful language can be distracting.
Some of the words are not used in common everyday speech. While I appreciate the language choices, sometimes the beautiful language was distracting.
- Sometimes, too many images are offered at once.
Naparstek offers a variety of visual and sensory options during the visualizations. Even though the idea is for the listener to see and experience what they find comforting, as a very visual person, I couldn’t help but see every detail, instead of sticking with my own chosen images. So until I listened several times, I found myself switching between too many images, too quickly.
Despite these issues, I still found the recordings relaxing and beneficial, especially after listening to them over and over again.
The Bottom Line
I’ve had personal success with guided imagery in the past, and when I heard from a member of our infertility forums that there exists an audio program for fertility, I ran to try it out. At the time, I was extremely anxious about an upcoming fertility test, and I hoped the relaxation tract would help me through the procedure. The guided imagery definitely helped me.
Since then, I’ve listened to Help with Fertility over and over again. I’ve also purchased a few other guided imagery recordings from Health Journeys, and I’ve been happy with their quality each time. I like that I can download MP3s from their website and pay less than I would buying the CD. Also, you can listen to samples at the website, another big plus.
If you’re looking for something to help you relax and lower stress, I highly recommend Naparstek’s Help with Fertility guided imagery from Health Journeys.