Ladies, becoming a mother is a wonderful thing.
While motherhood is something that has been a topic in our lives for as long as we can remember, the journey to motherhood can be a complicated one as many women are met with pregnancy loss or infertility. As a result, conceiving naturally is sometimes not an option for women who desire to start families. That is something that DJ, fitness influencer and founder of HBFIT, Hannah Bronfman knows very well. Although Hannah is now the mother of her first child, a son named Preston Miles Thomas Fallis, it wasn't without struggle.
To show women they aren't alone in their journey, earlier this year, Hannah, alongside her husband, Brendan Fallis, shared with the world their pregnancy journey and how they have overcome multiple obstacles along the way. After experiencing a miscarriage late last year, Hannah decided to look into different fertility options to increase her chances of having a viable pregnancy. She was ultimately able to get pregnant through a process called IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Courtesy of Hannah BronfmanPhoto Credit: Terence Connors
Since, Hannah has made it a mission of hers to show other women that we have options when it comes to creating life inside ourselves. With the reality of miscarriages and infertility diagnoses, Hannah is being honest about her experience with IVF and encouraging other women to learn more about what is available to them when it comes to starting a your own family.
In a recent conversation with xoNecole, Hannah was able to share that while the journey to motherhood can be tough, there is light at the end of whichever path you choose to take.
*This interview was conducted before Hannah gave birth to her son.
xoNecole: You and your husband have been very transparent about your journey to a successful pregnancy. What inspired the both of you to tell the story of your miscarriage and then your subsequent IVF journey?
Hannah Bronfman: For Brendan and I, after we miscarried, we spent 6-7 months trying to get pregnant through different ways. We tried naturally a few times, then we went to the next step called IUI. IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is when they time your ovulation cycle and have your partner's sperm inserted in your uterus to be fertilized. When that did not take, we both decided that we should try IVF. It honestly was good timing for us as well because we weren't traveling for that month, so we were able to prioritize the process.
For those of us who are unfamiliar with IVF, can you break down what it looked like for you physically?
The IVF process definitely takes time. My IVF process was 11 days total. You have to go into the doctor's office every morning for monitoring and you have to take shots every day. I think it's important to note that everyone is different in how you react to the hormones that you are injecting.
For me, it was super mild. I did feel bloated after the first couple of days, but other than that I felt fine. I am someone who doesn't have crazy mood swings or feeling fatigued around the time I have my period. So since I am pretty even-keeled in general, I didn't have major reactions to the hormones. For others who may be more susceptible to symptoms of PMS, they have a higher chance to have bigger reactions to the hormones when doing IVF.
Pregnancy loss is difficult for any woman and is something that unfortunately a lot of us experience, as someone who is very tapped into their body and wellness, what were some practices that you gravitated towards as a means to heal after loss?
It's crazy how fragmented our society is around reproductive rights and health. Because the pregnancy journey is such a complicated thing. All we are told is that you don't want to get pregnant when you're a teenager, so you get on birth control. Then all these complications happen when you're an adult and you think to yourself I wanted to get pregnant years ago. So when it comes to healing after a miscarriage and dealing with the stress of trying to get pregnant month after month, a few things have helped me.
I have done meditation, acupuncture, and EMDR therapy tapping. The EMDR is when you tap yourself in certain areas while reciting positive narratives. When you do that, the nervous system starts to input the positive affirmations and output the negative ones. I think it's important to feel all of your feelings when grieving. It is so important to release instead of trying to hold it all together. It feels so good to cry and we should lean into that a little more as opposed to acting like we are super humans without emotions. Super-women should lean into embracing their emotions.
Did the process strengthen and/or test your marriage?
I honestly feel so blessed to have a partner who has been by my side every single day. I think everything that we have been through has brought us so much closer. I know it's hard for people who don't have a partner to take on the stress with you and it can be a struggle for relationships. Even for the partners who are really meant to be together and have the strongest of foundations, are tested.
"I think it's important to feel all of your feelings when grieving. It is so important to release instead of trying to hold it all together. It feels so good to cry and we should lean into that a little more as opposed to acting like we are super humans without emotions. Super-women should lean into embracing their emotions."
Courtesy of Hannah Bronfman
Photo Credit: Terence Connors
As a Black woman, why do you think that this type of visibility about IVF is important?
Well I think it's important to normalize IVF for all women, regardless of race or age. Some things I would hear would be, "Oh, you're so young, you'll be fine." But I think we are seeing more fertility complications with millennial women. As a woman of color, I want people to understand that yes, this can be an expensive option, but the one thing that I noticed when I would be in the waiting room was the diversity of women. I think sometimes we talk about these expensive healthcare means for women who are white, but at the end of the day, women of color have access as well. We definitely need to talk about it more, so I hope a story like mine gives people hope in knowing there are possibilities out there.
As a first-time mom during such unprecedented times, what has your self-care routine looked like since the pandemic?
I have been loving bath time while being pregnant. This baby really knows when I am in the water. It is so relaxing and so grounding. Having the moment away from social media and soaking up time just for myself is definitely a priority, while it still can be.
"I think we are seeing more fertility complications with millennial women. As a woman of color, I want people to understand that yes, this can be an expensive option, but the one thing that I noticed when I would be in the waiting room was the diversity of women... We definitely need to talk about it more, so I hope a story like mine gives people hope in knowing there are possibilities out there."
Courtesy of Hannah Bronfman
Photo Credit: Terence Connors
What are some things that you are learning about yourself during pregnancy?
I have learned that I'm a Type A person. I like to have control over a lot of different aspects of my life. I felt that way through the IVF process and I had a plan. But being pregnant during a pandemic has thrown all of that out the window. With that, I have been really embracing going with the flow. For the first time in my life, I am at a place where whatever happens, I am cool with the pivot.
How did you manage to balance your health with your career while pregnant during the pandemic?
Work life has never been crazier. It's all good things, so I feel lucky as a content creator. At the beginning of the year, some brands didn't know what to do or what was going to happen. The attention that black creators got, especially around the BLM movement, I feel we have benefited from that in a healthy and positive way. I actually ended up launching a product, which is a CBD bath bomb. This product is something that is helping people relax, decompress, and release stress. Let me tell you, we are also in an anxiety pandemic and so I know people really benefit from it. I was nervous about launching a product honestly during the pandemic, but the launch of the product couldn't have been more timely.
Courtesy of Hannah Bronfman
What is one main thing about the IVF process that a lot of women should know about?
To be transparent, this doesn't work for everyone. It's important to know that because you could go through it once and have to go through it again. I really do believe that if you put positive energy into what you're doing, you will have a better result than if you put your negativity into it. For example, I was talking to my girlfriend the other day and she is going through her first IVF cycle. When she first started, I told her I was so excited for her and she replied, "Excited is not the word." (Laughs)
I say "excited" because it's one step closer to the outcome that you want. When you think about it, it's two weeks of your life that, yeah kind of sucks, but for the best outcome you could ever imagine. I will admit that at first it was hard for me to accept that IVF was going to be a part of my journey. But once I accepted that this was my path, I gave it my all. It's key to stay positive.
For more of Hannah, follow her on Instagram. If you are interested in learning more about the right questions to ask when choosing your IVF plan, feel free to check out Hannah Bronfman's IG Live chat with Dr. Ghadir.
Featured image courtesy of Hannah Bronfman
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy