It’s such a simple word, isn’t it? And yet so many of us have a hard time saying it.
Do you have a minute? Sure (when you really don’t).
Do you mind doing me a favor? Of course (when you actually need help yourself).
Could we meet on Tuesday instead of Wednesday? No problem (even though it means missing out on something you wanted to do for yourself).
Can we meet at my place? Yep (despite the fact that you ALWAYS go to their place and they never come to yours).
Shall we split a bottle? Sounds good (when you would prefer sparkling water than with sparkling wine).
Why is it so hard to say no to other people when it’s so easy to say no to ourselves?
In each of the above examples, saying yes means denying your own wants and needs. In an ideal world, we would be able to be help absolutely everyone one-hundred percent of the time while accepting every invitation, solving every problem, and doing every favor that was ever asked of us. As we all know however, life doesn’t work that way and choices have to be made.
When was the last time you chose yourself?
One of the things my fertility coaching clients struggle with most is putting themselves first. The word “selfish” doesn’t enter into their vocabulary, and on the rare occasions when they do feel that way, it is always accompanied by loads of guilt and a heaping dose of mea culpa. If you’re like me, you probably learned that being selfish was to be avoided and being selfless was to be revered.
Here are just a few examples, however, of how constantly putting yourself last can affect your health and, yes, your fertility:
- You never have enough time to devote to projects and activities that bring you joy.
- You feel overwhelmed by the number of social obligations that flood your calendar.
- You don’t get enough sleep because you stay up late to get everything done.
- You are exhausted from covering everyone else’s responsibilities.
- You have sex with little or no interest just to please your partner.
- You start carrying around feelings of anger and resentment because you are constantly giving away your most valuable time.
- You experience chronic stress which leads to elevated levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine which drive up insulin and eventually cause cellular inflammation. 
If any of these sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most women fall into a pattern of self-sacrifice that involves deferring to the needs of others time and again. We follow the model of womanhood passed down to us by our own mothers and believe it is the only way to achieve the love and acceptance we crave.
“Self-sacrifice goes against what our souls know to be true; our highest and most important value must be our own happiness and fulfillment.” Dr. Christiane Northrup
Saying “no” is often uncomfortable, but indeed necessary for achieving the happiness and fulfillment that we deserve. It involves putting limits on our time, being fiercely committed to our own self-care, and giving ourselves permission to fill our own cups.
Whether you realize it or not, using this one little word effectively can have big benefits for your fertility. Claiming the power of “no” will allow you to . . .
- Reclaim your most valuable time.
- Look after yourself just like you do for everyone else.
- Ease your overwhelm and release feelings of anxiety and fear.
- Reconnect with the passion projects that fuel your soul.
- Have better sex as a result of being less stressed.
- Get the sleep you need to keep your hormones humming.
- Follow the diet that makes you feel your best.
- Bring your cortisol levels back to normal and avoid the threat of cellular inflammation.
- Experience feelings of confidence and courage when you express yourself honestly.
What is your relationship with “no?” How can you use it to reclaim your time and make space for miracles?
 Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link between Mothers, Daughters, and Health, by Christiane Northrup, Bantam Books, 2006, pp. 559–560.