51nxd33o2fl-_sx258_bo1204203200_Title: Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child
Authors: Victoria Maizes, MD (Author), Andrew Weil, MD (Foreword)
Publisher: Scribner; First edition (February 5, 2013)
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When a couple comes to talk with me about planning for pregnancy, I frame it as a wonderful opportunity for them to self-assess, to think about their current lifestyle and what changes they might wish to make. I ask the couple to think about how having a child will change their life emotionally and spiritually. There’s a saying that I heard while in India: “The world is divided into those who have seen the Taj Mahal, and those who have not yet seen it.” Likewise, having a child defines you for the rest of your life. You are embarking upon a major life-changing experience from which there is no going back.

I always start the same way when I see a new patient. Our initial visit lasts ninety minutes. I greet my patient and say, “We have an hour and a half to spend together. My goal is to get a sense of who you are as a person and the things that are important to you, in addition to any medical conditions that brought you in today.” By asking them to tell their story, I’m signaling that this is going to be a different experience.

Some people launch right into their histories; others ask for further guidance. I might say, “You can start anywhere you want. You can tell me where you were born and raise, about your childhood, or where you went to school. Or you can begin with your medical concerns.” Often the medical issue is foremost in a person’s mind, so we start there, and then move on to the larger life story. Usually the patient does most of the talking in the first part of our session, and I do more talking in the second half, when I give suggestions. By getting a sense of the whole person, I can give a much broader set or recommendations.

I have never met anyone who was unhappy with this style of interviewing. People rarely have the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words, and to be witnessed and heard. Generous listening is a very important part of this experience; it gives me a sense of the very essence of a person. I can also listen for the clues about what is most likely to activate healing, and the best ways to convey the recommendations. My goal is to discern the right medicine—not meaning pills, but treatment in the broadest sense of the word.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Victoria Maizes, MD speak at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium Annual Conference February 23-25, 2017 in New York City. Click here for more information.