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natalie-collins-177075I’m lucky to live in a place that usually has clear beautiful blue skies most of the year. It’s what gets me through the colder months. In July the sun is radiant and, well, a little hot. I’m one of those people who spends a lot of time indoors. I have a desk job. But I do love the sun. The feel of the sun’s warm kiss on my skin. It reminds me of my childhood days spent playing in my parents’ pool, and my teen years listening to the waves crash on the beach. Getting out in the sun is good for my soul.

As a psychologist I also know it’s good for my mental well being. Studies have shown that exposure to sunlight, or lack thereof, is related to mood changes. Without enough sunlight we may feel sluggish, down, or even depressed. There’s even a disorder all about this called Seasonal Affective Disorder. What is it about the sun that affects our emotions this way? Well, there are several contributing factors, but the one that I want to call out here is vitamin D. The sun is hands down the best source of vitamin D for our bodies, and Vitamin D boosts our mood. It also does a myriad of other positive things in our bodies and plays a role in several illnesses from diabetes to cancer to infertility (which you can read more about here). So sunshine is good for my mind, body, and spirit, and my fertility.

I had my Vitamin D levels checked prior to beginning IVF. It was low-normal. At my doctor’s recommendation I began taking a vitamin D3 supplement to boost this up a bit. Then my RE suggested I up it even more to help with egg quality, as Vitamin D is also a great antioxidant. Even though I’m now past egg retrieval, I’m continuing to take Vitamin D as I prepare for my frozen embryo transfer and hopefully become pregnant. So now I’m currently taking the recommended prenatal dosage, although the dose varies based on which resource you read. I’m sticking with what the American Pregnancy Association says, which is 4,000 IU daily of the bio-avalible cholecalciferol form of D3.

But the truth is that our bodies are designed to make vitamin D from sun exposure. This is optimal. Now I know there are a lot of sun-related fears out there. Yes I’ve heard that sun tanning causes skin cancer and we should slather ourselves daily in sunscreen. But on a side note, have you ever read the ingredients in most sun screens? Lots of them are filled with carcinogens (caner causing) and endocrine disruptors (wreaks havoc on hormones which is not good for fertility), so that seems a bit counterproductive to me. I won’t go too far down that rabbit hole in this post. I’m not a sunscreen hater. It has it’s place. Burning isn’t good for anyone and there are some more natural, non-toxic ones out there. But sun exposure has gotten a bad rap. And I’ll admit it: I am a sun lover, in moderation of course.

So I have been making an effort to engage in short, intimate rendezvous with the sun.  I found this article helpful for knowing when and how much sun exposure to aim for safely. But as much as I love the vitamin D, it’s more than that to me. The sun represents energy, power, will, and endurance – and these characteristics are woven into my journey with infertility. So when I bare my skin for a glorious 15 minutes up on my balcony under the sun, that’s what I’m taking in. I’m filling every cell in my body with this energy, this power. I ask the Diving power of the sun to recharge me and give me strength on this journey. I visualize my body filling with this energy and beginning to glow. And then I offer a quiet word of thanks for this wonderful gift.

I was inspired by a recent post in a group that I’m in that referenced an older blog post about a meditation called “Eating the Sun”. It’s a simple meditation that you can do anytime, anywhere. You can find the blog post here and try it out if you’d like. It’s really beautiful.

We could all use a little more sunshine on this journey, couldn’t we?