Performer and fitness consultant Rachel Moon wants people to think more about infertility. She hopes that through sharing her own story she can lower the taboos surrounding the issue and lessen the shame, blame and isolation that women feel.
“My goal is to increase awareness, both so that women won’t feel like they’re suffering alone, and so that they will get tested earlier for fertility issues – being preventative rather than forced to be reactive.”
Her talk, “What I wish I had known about infertility”, is part of this year’s TEDxTinHauWomen, an event featuring 10 spirited speakers talking on the theme of “What Matters Now?” on topics ranging from children’s screen time to intimate relationships. It will be held on December 10 at the Xiqu Centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District.
Moon says infertility is less of a physical struggle than a mental one and that when women share their own experiences, their aim isn’t necessarily to get answers but to be heard.
“We deal with infertility the same way we deal with many issues, like death. Friends want to ‘fix it’, make the person feel better and tend to give advice, when all the person wants is to be listened to and have their feelings validated.”
Moon hopes that audience members will reflect on how they can better help others and themselves. “I left [getting pregnant] until 41, which is late to find out I had issues.”
After Moon’s first miscarriage, she was teaching a spinning class and found she was bleeding. She decided to teach off-bike and said she had hurt her ankle.
“Then I chose to be honest. After class, six women told me about their miscarriages, saying that they’d never spoken about it before. In Hong Kong there’s a tendency to put a smile on your face and say ‘I’m fine.’ I hope more women will find the courage to say ‘I’m not fine.’”
Fellow speaker Arcadia Kim wants to dispel negative connotations attached to screen time, presenting the idea that time spent using digital devices is not actually bad, but our understanding of it is.
“We talk about screen time like it’s sex, drugs and alcohol, something we need to limit and avoid, when our conversation should be similar to discussing physical activity, nutrition and hygiene.”
Infinite Screen Time president Arcadia Kim wants families to have conversations about technology in the context of their family values.
Kim says as a generation of parents who didn’t grow up with today’s technology and don’t know how to deal with it, we invite conflict when setting strict screen-time rules.
“I tell a story in my talk about how my son violently threw an iPad at my head – and these stories are not uncommon when it comes to the technology power struggle.”
That flying iPad was Kim’s wake-up call. Her relationship with her kids was frayed and she felt like a failure. So she tried a new strategy: instead of focusing on the rules, she focused on the choices.
“We started talking about what we were seeing, doing and most importantly feeling on our screens. We were connecting as a family … and using technology with intention.” She now recognises technology as a language for kids and screen time as a medium.
As president of Infinite Screen Time, which helps to raise “screen-smart kids”, Kim challenges families to have conversations about technology in the context of their family values.
“We should be modelling mindful screen time. We should be asking: what is our purpose with technology? What are our family values? If physical activity is important, maybe using Strava [a fitness tracker] together or getting outside and playing Pokémon Go could help create happy family time.”
Kim wants to build a community that shares without shame or guilt and puts the purpose back into the screen.
“We can then focus on how to use screens for good and grow a generation without cyberbullying or trolls, because parenting through openness and possibility starts with us.”
Mindfulness and wellness coach Viv Kan is passionate about helping busy individuals transform their intimate relationships by connecting the mind, body, breath and yoni – the Sanskrit word for the female reproductive organs – to live a more fulfilling life.
“I combine mindfulness and intimacy with a neo-tantric twist,” Kan says. “People connect when I share my own intimacy struggles.”
Mindfulness and wellness coach Viv Kan says we’ve become more like machines than human beings. Photo: Kristina Vanhove Photography
According to Kan, most of us have a disconnect between mind and body and at least half the time we’re awake, we don’t pay attention to what we’re doing.
“We’re always on ‘go mode’ instead of ‘flow mode’. This means we’re constantly doing: we execute, strive, cope, and everything is about getting to the end goal, but we’re not going with the flow. This makes us ‘human doings’, not ‘human beings’.”
Kan says we’re more like machines: we have a set of routines that we execute, complete, go home and repeat. With this disconnection, we don’t know how things feel because we’ve ignored so many signs like pain, soreness and disease that can build into chronic disease over time. And it also has an effect on our sex lives.
“When we’re trying to get into that intimate pleasure mode, we don’t know what makes us feel good. In my workshops, women cry because they don’t know if they’ve experienced good sex, an orgasm, and often don’t know what gives them pleasure.”
Kan says there is a huge gap between us and the environment, other people and ourselves. Staying fully present with mindfulness practices can help us, including deep breathing, listening to the body and paying attention.Internet Explorer Channel Network