Inspirational Story – Dr. Natascha Hebell-Fernando, PhD

It’s always an honour when someone asks to share their inspirational story on my site & Natascha’s is, in many ways similar to mine in that she had tucked the grief away & not allowed herself to grieve, accept and move forward in a healthy way. And it was only by focusing on self-care that she was able to do this.

She also demonstrates how this life can be an opportunity & changed her career to one which fitted more closely with who she has become.

She acknowledges that she has more work to do, but as she says ‘every day, I am becoming more open about my journey ….’ This is my wish for you dear reader & one of my reasons for holding this space for you.

Over to Natascha,

1. Where are you on your journey now?  

I am recently experiencing menopause. I had been hopeful for about 20 years to have a miracle baby but that dream is not going to be fulfilled in this lifetime.

2. What’s your story?

I was diagnosed with Endometriosis stage 4 during a laparoscopy. Up until that moment, my Doctor (and I) thought my reproductive health was perfect. Immediately after, we started fertility treatments to increase our chances for IUI but I had adverse reactions to the hormones and we decided to not pursue further treatments. After the procedure I started having intense pain during my periods and unfortunately, the symptoms of endometriosis became worse and worse over the years. I was able to manage them mostly with exercise, diet and holistic therapies but the pain only truly subsided once I started menopause a couple of months ago.

During my infertility journey I discovered acupuncture and I always felt so at peace afterwards. That prompted me to change my career in my 40s. I had a background in scientific research and business development but I did a complete 180 as far as medical principles are concerned. I was able to graduate and get my national board certification as acupuncturist in record time and I founded a very successful acupuncture clinic. I have been able to help many people with their health concerns from a natural and holistic perspective. I love that I am able to share my nurturing and caring nature with my clients.

3. What helped you to heal/how did you deal with your grief?

Only a few years ago I had the realization that I had never truly processed my childlessness. I had not allowed myself to grieve, accept and move forward in a healthy way. I had tucked the grief and despair away. It did not exist for anyone that I knew and so I subconsciously did not truly acknowledge my emotional pain. And I had done a pretty good job with that because only occasionally I would feel extremely sad and weepy when seeing little children, seeing young families and finding out about my friends and family getting pregnant and celebrating kids’ birthdays.

I needed to take care of myself: I closed my clinic and started seeing acupuncture patients only two days a week. I spent a lot of time resting, crying and reflecting. Grieving is not a linear process and I had times of apathy, extreme anger, fatigue and sadness. I was able to process my grief because I focused on self care: I made sure to eat healthy foods, to exercise, to rest and to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

Certain days, I was not able to do that but I knew that unless I would make myself a priority I would not be able to recover from my emotional pain. I also started journaling daily: I would just write 1 or 2 pages in the early mornings without prompts, just what was coming to my mind.

4. What are the positives (gifts) for you of not having children?

I believe that my journey has allowed me to be more empathetic and sensitive to people. When I am with my clients, I am able to process my Chinese medical and coaching training with a lens of deep understanding of the larger meaning of life, that goes far beyond leaving a legacy of children.

5. What has not having children made possible for you?

I have been able to leave a positive impact on so many people’s lives – something that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had children.

So that prompted me to start sharing my story from the perspective of someone who is in her 50s. This has been eye opening to me. There are so many women, especially in their 50s, 60s and older that have never been able to share their grief and their story. Also, many younger women that are childless want to hear from my perspective and get some help.

My hope is that through my work & Facebook group I can give inspiration, hope and courage to women whose heart aches because their dream of a child has not been granted in this lifetime.

6. Is there anything missing in your life? (and what do you plan to do about it?)

My journey with infertility for over 20 years slowly eroded my zest for life and trust in life. I am still a bit more fearful and less adventurous than I used to be before I realized that I could not conceive. Every day, I am becoming more open about my journey, something that I had not accepted for a long time.

7. What advice would you give to women who are not as far down the road as you are?

I hear you and I see you. It is a very lonely and difficult journey but I know that these challenges, grief and struggles are giving you an emotional depth and deep insight that not many people will ever experience. Your light is needed in the world. I know that you have a purpose that goes far beyond anything you ever thought possible. Shine your light – the world needs you!

8. What brings you joy/what makes you happy?

It makes me so happy when I see my clients or anyone that I encounter get a new insight and their face lights up with hope and excitement. It is a moment of grace and a privilege to witness.

9. What’s your 6 word memoir? 

I will shine my light always.

More about Natascha

I am an integrative medicine doctor and acupuncturist and I help women cope with the challenges of infertility, loss, failed fertility treatments and childlessness.  I want to raise awareness of the physical, emotional and financial exhaustion that women and couples experience on their infertility journey. There is no soft place to land once these treatments fail. I offer a message of hope to inspire women to find their soul purpose in life and regain their self confidence, self worth and passion. My website is here  and this is the link to my free Facebook group (Beyond Infertility and Unintended Childlessness).

Do you think your story could inspire others?

I started publishing Inspirational Stories so that women who are struggling can be inspired. The purpose is:

  • To show that it’s possible to have a positive life,
  • To explain what’s positive about being childless and
  • To explore what helped healing & how to make it happen.

So if you think your Inspirational Story could help other women this is how it works.
I’ll send you a list of questions, and you choose and answer a minimum of 6. I’ll post your story in your real name or any other that you chose to give me. If you have a website or blog I’d be happy to link to it so I’ll need the details and a short bio.

If you think you could inspire others please contact me.

Over to you

Has reading Natascha’s inspirational Story helped you? If so please add your comment below.

You can read stories of 19 other women in Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness.  Once you purchase it, you can also access interviews and other extras.

You can read book reviews and interviews I’ve done here.
And you can order your copy of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness on  Amazon UK  and Amazon USA

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