Women In Wellness: Becky Ackerman Of Lily & Bee Fertility On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Women In Wellness: Becky Ackerman Of Lily & Bee Fertility On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Learning to look at, and sometimes learn from, what others in my space are doing without comparing myself to them has sometimes been difficult. As I’ve gotten better at it, though, I’ve gained confidence and found my own unique voice.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Becky Ackerman.

Becky Ackerman is a fertility coach and the owner of Lily & Bee Fertility. Becky helps women who are struggling with fertility issues to strengthen the connection between their minds and bodies. She teaches techniques for managing the overwhelming stress that comes with fertility issues, helps women create healthy mindsets, and works with them to rebuild confidence in their bodies’ abilities to conceive and carry a baby.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Ihave always been passionate about health and fitness, and after a brief stint following my other passion for dinosaurs and prehistory, I landed on a career as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and health coach. Just like most other women, I assumed that when I decided it was time to start a family, it would be easy, so it really came as a slap in the face when that turned out not to be true. It took 6 long, lonely years for me to finally conceive my first child. My journey was filled with some terrible advice from doctors, two surgeries, loads of medication, many failed IUIs, and enough tears to fill a bathtub. Long story short, it took me 3 years to be diagnosed with endometriosis, and when that problem was resolved and I still couldn’t get pregnant, I was labeled with unexplained infertility. In what felt like a desperate last-ditch attempt to get pregnant, I started seeing a hypnosis practitioner and acupuncturist. But it worked, and I finally got pregnant. (Naturally, I might add.) My realization that the mind-body connection is so, so important, was solidified 3 years later when I was having trouble getting pregnant a second time. It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t practicing any of the visualizations or techniques that I’d been taught the first time. So I started using them again and got pregnant my next cycle. That was the moment I knew that I had learned something that I wanted to share with other women, and I made the pivot from fitness to fertility!

(And just in case you think this is all just one big coincidence, when it was time for baby #3, I started using the meditations and visualizations before I wanted to conceive, and when it was time, I got pregnant immediately.)

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Since I’ve begun coaching, when I meet someone new and conversation inevitably turns to what I do for a living, when I say that I’m a fertility coach I hear back with great frequency, “Gee, I wish I’d known you a few years ago.” Or, “Wow, I really could have used your help.” It really drives home the truth that women are very much struggling with fertility these days, often in relative secrecy, I might add, and that there is a definite need for more and greater support.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I made one of the classic mistakes that everyone warns you about: I paid a web designer to create a beautiful, but expensive website based on untested ideas I had about my business that hadn’t even gotten off the ground yet. It had functionality that I thought I needed, but definitely did not. It was difficult and time consuming for me to update on my own. And I ended up having to pay the company for monthly maintenance because things kept “breaking” and I had no idea how to fix them. But I became attached to it because a) it really was beautiful, and b) no one likes to admit they’ve made such a costly mistake!

Finally letting go of that website was such a liberating experience. I learned that it’s so important to actually work with people first, and to let my coaching program develop organically over time instead of trying to stick it in a little box right out of the gate. Ironically, it also showed me that one of the ideas I share with the women I work with about their health and fitness habits in many ways also applies to starting a business: good enough is almost always good enough! I gained nothing from having a “perfect” website (in fact I lost both time and money), and my much less expensive diy site has made me much happier in the long run!

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Infertility is a large and growing problem. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 out of every 6 people worldwide are affected by it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the number at 1 in 5 people in the U.S., with certain groups experiencing infertility at an even higher rate. Any way you look at it, it’s a big problem. And because many people feel that having children is a fundamental part of the human experience, the heartbreak they experience when they run into problems is real.

We all know about the common medical interventions that can help with fertility problems. We don’t, however, hear nearly as much about ways that a woman can support herself and tap into her mind-body connection as she works through her fertility issues. This is where I come in! I work to fill in some of the gaps left by Western medicine by helping women feel more empowered, confident, relaxed, and really heard as they navigate their journeys.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

1. Sleep more.

Sleep is the unsung hero of good health! When you sleep, your body has the chance to (literally) repair itself, so when you don’t get enough sleep, everything starts to break down. While there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all sleep, most of us don’t get as much as we should. But we’ve become so accustomed to the feeling of low-grade sleep deprivation, and developed such a dependence on caffeine, that we don’t even notice.

2. Put your phone down.

It’s amazing how much the telephone has changed over the last 20 years. I’ll date myself a little and say that until I was several years out of college, a phone was always plugged into the wall, and coming home and checking the answering machine was so exciting. But those days are over, and our phones have become instruments of continuous connection, instant gratification, heightened expectations (social media, anyone?), and lots of stress. Practice taking little breaks (or big ones if you’re feeling brave!) from your phone, and I promise you’ll feel more relaxed and at ease.

3. Have a go-to breathing technique.

Stress is everywhere, but knowing how to diffuse it quickly can be a game changer in terms of both your mental and physical health. Find a breathing technique that works well for you (eg. box breathing, uneven breathing, etc.), and practice it in moments of calm. That way, when you find yourself in a situation where you really need it, you’ll be able to call on it easily.

4. Get a new water bottle.

If you’re not already using a stainless steel or glass water bottle, go buy yourself a new one stat! Plastic, even the ones marked BPA-free, can contaminate your water with chemicals you don’t want in your body. Harmful chemicals are really all around us, and in this day and age it’s impossible to avoid them altogether. But this is a really easy way to eliminate a little bit of your exposure.

5. Be nice to yourself!

I have no doubt that you’re doing the best you can. Sometimes I’m sure you wish you were doing more, doing it differently, or doing it better. In those moments, speak to yourself as you would your best friend–be understanding, encouraging, reassuring, and above all else, kind.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We’ve come a long way in accepting the importance of mindfulness in our lives, but I’d like to see it go further. In the same way that we’re all encouraged to get physical exercise every day, I’d love to see more of a push for people to carve out dedicated time for mindfulness every day. Just as you can choose from lots of different exercise modalities, we need to encourage people to find the mindfulness practice that works best for them. Journaling, meditation, and yoga are some of the traditional practices that we think of, but for some people, that mindfulness piece might come in when they’re cooking or painting or hiking. We need to encourage people to find whatever it is that helps them disconnect from the outside world and go inward.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. “If you build it, they will come,” is only true in movies.

Having a great idea, the proper background, and a website will not bring people to your door! You’ve really got to work hard and sometimes go outside your comfort zone to build a business.

2. Social media can be really hard for some people (and I am some of those people!)

Social media comes very naturally to some, but I find it to be something of an indecipherable code! Plus, it can be an addictive time-suck that pulls me away from more important tasks.

3. Building relationships with doctors and clinics isn’t always easy.

They’re busy people with busy schedules, and they’re not always receptive to having conversations with “outside” people.

4. Don’t overthink things!

Nothing slows me down or shakes my confidence quite like overthinking.

5. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Learning to look at, and sometimes learn from, what others in my space are doing without comparing myself to them has sometimes been difficult. As I’ve gotten better at it, though, I’ve gained confidence and found my own unique voice.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Environmental changes. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are commonly found in the products we use, the food we eat, and sometimes the water we drink. They are virtually everywhere these days, and they’re wreaking havoc on our fertility. They are responsible for early puberty, irregular menstrual cycles, improper hormone levels, decreased sperm counts, and more. Some of these chemicals can even affect an unborn child’s future fertility, and scientists are noting their effects in animals, too. This is truly concerning! And if that’s not enough, what is the point of going to such great lengths to have children if we’re not going to take care of the planet to ensure their future?! The situation is dire, and we’re all going to have to work together (and probably make some sacrifices) to figure out a solution.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

I’d love to have you head over to my website and join my mailing list at https://www.lilyandbeefertility.com, or you can follow me on Instagram @lilyandbeefertility

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .

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