Season 1, Episode 71

Embrace your Fertility with Dr. Timea Belej Rak

This episode explores reproductive medicine and the importance of a holistic approach to fertility. Dr. Timea Belej Rak, an expert in obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and hypnosis, shares her personal fertility journey, including her use of Clomid and an IUI cycle, emphasizing the difficulty of balancing work and studies while trying to conceive.

Dr. Belej Rak highlights the need for comprehensive information and informed decisions in fertility treatments, discussing the lack of explanations she received and the advancements in fertility medications. She underscores the benefits of hypnosis for pain management, advocating for a holistic approach that empowers individuals with knowledge throughout their fertility journey.

 

 

Key takeaways:

  • Timea Belej Rak shares her personal fertility journey and the importance of researching fertility options.
  • The episode highlights advancements in fertility treatments, including IVF.
  • The concept of a comprehensive program combining various modalities to optimize fertility success is discussed.
  • Listeners are encouraged to empower themselves with knowledge and embrace a holistic approach to fertility.

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Read This Episode Transcript

Lorne Brown:

By listening to the Conscious Fertility Podcast, you agree to not use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or healthcare provider for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guest or contributors to the podcast. Welcome to Conscious Fertility, the show that listens to all of your fertility questions so that you can move from fear and suffering to peace of mind and joy. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and a clinical hypnotherapist. I’m on a mission to explore all the paths to peak fertility and joyful living. It’s time to learn how to be and receive so that you can create life on purpose.

Today on the Conscious Fertility Podcast, we have Dr. Timea Belej Rak, and she’s got her practice in Toronto, and I’m really excited to have this conversation. I first met Dr. Belej Rak back in Vancouver at the Integrated Fertility Symposium, and I got to share with you a little bit about her background. Okay. First, we’ll go from the very dense left side to the right etheric side. She’s a medical doctor, she’s an OBGYN, she’s a reproductive endocrinologist. She’s also trained in neuro linguistic programming, NLP. She’s a master in LP coach. She’s trained in master timeline therapy. She’s also a board certified hypnosis and instructor of hypnotherapy, and she’s had her own experience through fertility. And so this is why I think our listeners to me are going to be really excited to talk to you because you really have the spectrum of mind and body going on here with your background, and I’d love to hear about how you’re practicing and incorporating this into your practice. So welcome to the Conscious Fertility Podcast.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Thank you for having me.

Lorne Brown:

And also, you know what I didn’t mention, you’re also certified in functional medicine and bioidentical hormone therapy as well. You got the MD side of you. You’re basically like a naturopathic physician now with your functional medicine training. And then we have that same disease. I’m trained in NLP and hypnotherapy as well. So it’s just really neat to see all this in one individual though. When people come to my clinic, they see we work as a team, so they see multiple people doing what you are doing as one individual. So very cool.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Well, actually, I also work with other individuals. I focus my practice on the medical aspect of things. I’ve attempted to incorporate the other ones. Unfortunately, our college can make it a little tricky for a physician to do all these other modalities, and so I’ve joined forces with other practitioners and we work together to help our patients.

Lorne Brown:

So can you tell us about who you are, because I know I think you’re interested in acupuncture or recommended as well. I didn’t mention that in your bio. I know you’re not trained in it, but it’s part of your integrated practice. How about we start with how you practice and who’s on your team, and then your wishlist from all that you’ve known from your training as a medical doctor, OBGYN doing IVF training, hypnosis and other mind-body tools and functional medicine and working. If money and time wasn’t an issue, I’m curious, what would you have liked for your fertility journey? And if you are open to sharing it, that would be great. And what do you want for your patient’s fertility journey?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

So our fertility journey was very medical in the sense that we started trying, obviously for the one year, the usual roller coaster every month, the tears, the not pregnant, the sex becoming, just kind of like trying to get pregnant and very mundane as all of our patients tell us. And then we went to see a physician. We started with some Clomid and I UIs and that did not work. So then we went to a specialist who also started me with an IUI cycle where I went on the injections. The interesting thing I found was that I kind of just did what I was told. I didn’t Google, I didn’t search anything maybe because I was busy. I was studying for my board exams. I was the chief resident at Mount Sinai Hospital. I was running to my bloodwork and ultrasounds. I was there before 6:00 AM sitting on the floor in the first come first serve line, then running to the operating room.

My residents were rounding on the patients and through all this, I was trying to get pregnant. And so one day the nurse just called me and she said, well, you have too many follicles. We cannot do the IUI. Dr. Redmond recommends we convert to IVF. She’s like, go home and check this and we’ll see you tomorrow. I’m like, oh, okay. I was like, however, I didn’t question it. I trusted my doctor. I am going to the doctor. That’s her expertise, right? You go to your accountant, it’s their expertise. And so I didn’t question anything. I showed up for my retrieval. Now, in those days, mind you, there was no versed, no fentanyl. It was laughing gas and morphine and demerol. So I felt everything. My ovary was up to the ceiling and I’m like, give me the laughing gas.

Lorne Brown:

Oh god. So the medicines have come a long way since you had your retrieval?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Absolutely, absolutely. However, speaking of medicines, hypnosis is just as effective for pain control, including during childbirth. Right. And I wish we were using it more. They’ve done surgeries under hypnosis. They’ve done many, many types of treatments under hypnosis. Nevertheless, I did not have it at the time. So then I think we had only about eight eggs and six fertilizers and only we had two blasts that we transferred on Easter Sunday. Oh my gosh.

Lorne Brown:

So this is interesting for our listeners, this will come out later, but we’re recording this on Good Friday 2023. And so

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

I had my transfer on Easter Sunday. The interesting part was that my husband and I had a conversation before and we’re like, okay, so if it works, fantastic, however, if it doesn’t work, we weren’t comfortable adopting. And so what I was going to do is focus my energy more on volunteer work or helping more women with their fertility journeys and kind of focus my attention elsewhere if the transfer didn’t work. And then my pregnancy test was going to be on the Monday two weeks later, but of course on Sunday I went to shoppers and got my whole pregnancy test. And luckily we were able to have my, I only want embryo implanted, and so my daughter is now 18 years old.

Lorne Brown:

Wow. And at that point, you weren’t a physician yourself or were you a physician? You said you were head of Mount Sinai? I think.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Yeah, I was doing my exams for obstetrics and gynecology. I was studying for the exam, so this was in April and my exam was in May. So I was pregnant when we went to Ottawa.

Lorne Brown:

So you weren’t doing reproductive medicine really at this time?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

No, but I already, no, you know what? Hold on. Oh, that’s a good question. No, she was born in 2004. No, so I had already decided that I’m going to do fertility. So that was another interesting part of my journey. I had done four years of medical school, then I did a master’s, no, sorry, four years undergrad. Then I did my master’s, then I did four years of medical school, five years of the obstetrics and gynecology residency. So now we’re 15 years in, and then in our fourth year we do a rotation in infertility. And so there I learned that I could help create the babies that I was wanting to deliver, and that’s what made me go into obstetrics and gynecology. I decided that in grade 10, mind you, I have no idea how, but

I think I was put on this earth to work on this fertility journey, not only for myself, but for my patients. And then my husband’s like, he’s like, are you crazy? He’s like, you have to start working one of these days. He’s like, you’ve already been in university for 15 years. And so I’m driving home. This was the day that the application was due. So I did not hand it in that day, but I’m driving home and I went home and I’m like, I have to do this. It’s not letting me, my mind’s not letting it go. So I went home, I wrote up the application, I handed it in the next day, and I got in.

Lorne Brown:

And because of your experience when you went through the IVF, fortunately the medicines are much better for pain control, but as you said, there’s other modalities that they use to support you during that process. But you had mentioned how you’re doing a medicated I, you responded very well because they converted you to an IVF. And for our listeners, they don’t want you to have four or five, six babies in one uterus. So sometimes if you respond that way, they converted you, but there was no discussion. It was just kind of like, as you said, for them it was like they do this all the time. So it made sense, but you didn’t understand. So it was a little foreign and uncomfortable for you just to be told, here’s what we’re doing now without the explanation.

How are you practicing and how are you integrating? And how would you want now, and as we’re recording this in 2023, because you’re aware of all the different modalities, there’s the west and then there’s the east, and there’s hypnosis and functional medicine, naturopathy. What’s your wishlist for your patients? And if you could share with them, what would you suggest as a way to approach their fertility journey?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Ideally it would be at least a three to six month program leading up to whatever we decide to do.

Lorne Brown:

Can I ask you, right, so I’m going to interrupt and ask questions. So why a three to six month preconception time before they try to conceive naturally or do western things like IUIs or IVF?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

So the life cycle, the development of an egg. Well, for sperm it’s, it’s three months usually for a sperm to develop and mature. However, for an egg, depending on what study you read that I’ve read anyways, is anywhere from three to six months in terms of the egg development as well. And so in terms of lifestyle interventions, dietary changes, stress management, all of those things could be implemented in that timeframe. And then the other, and I would implement the naturopathic aspect as well as the acupuncture. And again, what I say to my patients is if they enjoy the acupuncture, continue it. However, some patients do not enjoy acupuncture. And so to me, if you don’t enjoy it, then I’m not sure how beneficial it could be

Lorne Brown:

Agreed, because some people have that needle phobia and don’t relax on the table. It does have that research shown to induce the relaxed state. But everybody is unique in our practice. We have lasers as well. So for those people that find the acupuncture uncomfortable, what we’ve been doing and seeing it clinically and anecdotally anyhow, seeing that benefit is we’re doing laser acupuncture with TEAS, translucent electrical acupuncture. I can’t remember what it stands for. I’ll have to look it up in my head here. But basically we use the tens pad over some of the acupuncture points in the sacrum, the abdomen and down by the ankles, which we know will increase blood flow to the reproductive system. So we’re doing that, plus we’re doing laser acupuncture, and we’ve only started doing this in early 2023 with the tens. And one is they enjoy it, and two is we’re seeing some cool things when they go through their IVF process. So there’s always a way, but I agree with you, if you’re not enjoying the treatment, then there’s so many things available to you that it’s not like you have to do this and have to do this, have to do this. The goal is blood flow and relaxed state and supplementing those deficiencies. So your three to six months of preconception care, you mentioned there’s lifestyle factors in diet. So as a reproductive endocrinologist, that is something that you think is still important for improving or optimizing egg and sperm quality?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Yes, absolutely. There’s evidence for certain. There’s also, in terms of a lot of patients asking about the diet, like the fertility diet. Again, I’m not aware of any specific diet based on the studies, however, they maintain that. The Mediterranean cell diet seems to do well based on the nurses’ health studies essentially, where they followed the nurses for a number of many years. And the ones that did not experience fertility challenges, more of them were on a Mediterranean type diet. So the other thing, what I’d like our patients to use this time for is to, it’s kind of what I might say is a wake up call. It’s like we are going through something that we did not expect, and why don’t we take this opportunity to reflect upon our life, take a pause. How are we doing? Are we super stressed? Are we coming home and there’s no time to even prepare a good meal? Are we sleeping enough? Are we not having fun together enough? Are we exercising enough? Are we working too much? So to me, it’s a time to reflect upon those things and improve them. And then the other part I would really like every patient to do is what’s called an NLPA breakthrough. So basically to take some time to reflect upon yourself internally and mentally and see if there’s ways or certain limiting beliefs or limiting decisions that you may or may not be aware of consciously that may also be contributing to the situation.

Lorne Brown:

And so I have a bunch of questions for you now. So for our listeners, it’s nice. We have a reproductive endocrinologist, md, OBGYN, and we’re going to talk about the mind body stuff now. So this is great, versus somebody who’s a hypnotherapist saying, of course, yes, you get to wear your two, three hats that you wear or are trained in at least. So this is the Conscious Fertility podcast, and one of the reasons why I wanted to offer this is because I believe that your thoughts and feelings affect your physical, and there’s whole research on neuroimmunology on this that, and we know this, people know they can think about something and all of a sudden their hands start to sweat and their heart starts to palpate. You see a stick on the road, but your mind thinks it’s a snake. You go into that fight or flight, right?

So it is all based on perception, not always what is. And so I’m just checking in with you that you’re talking about making time for yourself, these breakthroughs and fertility as your wake up call, right? Many people have wake up calls, some have cancer, some have divorce, some have financial disaster, some live in war torn countries. There’s many wake up calls and fertility is one wake up call all bring us back to ourselves where we do our inner work. So you did say, I got the nod that you agree that there’s a mind body impact to your thoughts and feelings affect your body. Yes. And then you’re looking at this as an opportunity for people to heal old wounds, you talked about these unconscious programs. So they’re unconscious, so they’re not always aware of them, but even when you become conscious of them, they still run because that’s how they are. And so you find this as an opportunity for the men and women you see to go in and work clean up, integrate, metabolize these old programs that are no longer serving them.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Exactly. Exactly. The difficulty I’m finding with that though, Lauren, is that it is not a service that’s covered by ohip. And so financially I find that that seems to be the stumbling block or the impediment for them to do that work.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah, it’s interesting you say that. I always think, okay, if we take, so yes, time and money are issues in our world, and yet when people want something, they find a way, right? It’s just interesting. And so it’s, again, not that we always find a way, and I have patients. I don’t know what people’s bank accounts look like, but there are some people that find a way to make it work and there’s some that don’t. And so we can always find reasons not to do something. In this day and age, there’s so many apps and programs online that are not cost prohibitive that people can do. So there are lots of things out there, but I agree, IVF is one thing that’s cost prohibitive for people going for acupuncture, but we can always find a reason why not to do something. For me, I feel that all these people that have written such great books, I read probably on average every 10 days a book. I listen to them when I drive and walk and stuff. And my books are all about health and mind body stuff.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

The other aspect I think is that our healthcare system propagates medical and only the medical treatment as opposed to preventive and complimentary. So I believe that our patients are also not aware of the magnitude that the mind has in our health and wellbeing.

Lorne Brown:

Absolute. It is

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Absolutely not talked about at all in medical school, for example, at least when I went and in the general healthcare system

Lorne Brown:

And here we are talking about it. So I’m a fan of not fighting with reality. I love Byron Katie’s book, loving What is, and when you fight with reality, you suffer. So it’s never the situation that causes issues, it’s what you think about it. So the medical system could be so much better. Absolutely. And here we are on a podcast. So somebody’s listened to this, they’ve already been drawn and they’re open to knowing what’s more out there. So we’re going to focus on what you can do versus what needs to be fixed. I don’t think I’m going to be able to fix the medical system.

 

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

That was interesting. Then the other program that I learned about through my NLP training was Dr. Lisa Rankin who wrote the, so she used to be an OB GYN, and she quit because of learning about these other systems as well. And she wrote, one of the first books she wrote was Mind Over Medicine, scientific Proof that You Can Heal Yourself

Lorne Brown:

Excellent book.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

And so that has what’s called the whole health care. So it’s a bunch of stones and our physical wellbeing is the top stone, and there’s about 10 or 11 other stones prior to that that you need to address in order to have perfect physical wellbeing.

Lorne Brown:

I think, and again, don’t know there’s got to be more research on this, but it’s the mind that’s key. Now I’m a fan of everything integration, so I’m not like, don’t use this, don’t use that. Absolutely.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Yeah.

Lorne Brown:

I just find that when your programs are aligned with what you want, then things start to fall more into place. And when you’re doing these mind-body tools, learning, all of them seem to have some way of creating more awareness, right? More mindfulness in your life. And there’s many tools out there. This is what I do in my practice. I call it conscious work. And this is, this idea as we’re talking about here, is if your thoughts and feelings are aligned for what you want, then you get a better physical response. Let me say this in a different way. When you’re fighting with reality, you’re creating resistance. We call it chi stagnation in Chinese medicine, right? And in Chinese medicine, they say, when the QI does not flow qi, we can use a loose term energy. Then we have discomfort and disease manifest. And in an electrical system, when there’s resistance, the electricity doesn’t run well.

And if you lower the resistance, the energy runs well. We are electrical, magnetic, chemical beans. And so when we have resistance, and I’m talking now, your emotional resistance, you’ll know when you have resistance, it doesn’t feel good. We call it stress. And when you lower resistance, and this is what with your NLP hypnosis mind body work, when you lower the resistance, your energy flows because you feel lighter, you feel relief, you feel expansive. And this is what we’re looking for in the body side because fertility requires receptivity and allowing. And so it’s a balance, and I call it conscious work because it takes work to become mindful, to become aware, and to practice these tools. So you’re not at the effect of your external environment, including your diagnosis of infertility or including an IVF cycle going not the way you wanted to do it.

And it’s not about positive thinking. I’m always feeling good. It’s actually Michael Brown who wrote the book, the Presence Process. This quote he had, I don’t know if you haven’t read his book, I think you’ll love his book. And for my listeners, the Presence Process by Michael Brown, his quote is, rather than trying to feel better, get better at feeling so conscious work, in my mind, and this is a question for you, is about being authentic. It’s not like, oh, life is great. I love everybody. It is about being authentic and really experiencing your feelings and using tools to metabolize and transform them. So yes, you move through them and you’re not holding onto them. And then you start to experience your true self, which is more about joy and love and expansion. This has been my experience. I have moments of these here and there, and I’m working at having more of them. So it’s become a fun journey. And this is what I share with my patients with the fertility journey. Go

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Ahead. I was just going to interject and say that in NLP Pain, for example, stands for pay attention in the now.

Lorne Brown:

It’s all about now. So my conscious work, I call it, is how to know basically what we’re doing with my approach. This is Eckert’s book, The Power of Now. I could list all the authors, and it’s all about awareness at the moment. And I think what’s happening, listening to the people I speak to like yourself and on this podcast is when you really get into this, now you tap into your higher self. You’re tapping into something pretty wild as subconscious to superconscious consciousness. But people seem to have some interesting experiences, some that we would call miracles from our medical system.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

And I find that when I learned the DNLP, I mean, it gave me a completely different outlook on life. It completely changed my awareness and how I felt about things and realizing that you can’t control situations, but you can control your response to a situation.

Lorne Brown:

Absolutely. Let’s emphasize that. I got to say that again, you’re not going to control. So I love you to repeat that part because that is a big part of conscious work and what we’re talking about here.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

You cannot control every situation, but you can always control your reaction to the situation.

 

Lorne Brown:

So this is about emotional resilience, and I’m going to summarize a quote with Vitor Frankl. Vitor Frankl, he’s the psychiatrist that survived Auschwitz. In his quote, it goes something like, in every situation there is a moment, a space where you either unconsciously react habitually. So there’s your unconscious program, or in that moment, you can consciously choose to respond. And that’s what you’re talking about. You can’t control the situation, but in that situation, you’re either going to go unconscious and run your old program, or with these tools, you can develop ways to consciously choose how you want to be and respond to that situation.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Exactly. And so when I put together the book I have after practicing for 10 years, I realized that it would be good to share with our patients all the different ways that they can achieve pregnancy. And so the book that I put together is called Embrace Your Fertility, and in there it’s now nine chapters. We added a frequently asked question chapter, and essentially every chapter is preceded by a patient story who conceived with that specific modality. So there’s a chapter on acupuncture and eastern medicine. There’s a chapter on naturopathy, there’s a chapter on mind body awareness, there’s a chapter about counseling. There’s a story about a couple who did not conceive, but yet felt like a family regardless. There’s the medical chapter, donor sperm, egg donation, adoption as well, because sometimes when you start on a journey, you think you might not want to do certain things. However, as the journey unfolds, I found that it would be good to know all the different options that are out there for patients.

Lorne Brown:

So again, that book is called Embrace Your Fertility, and can they find it on your website? It’s on Amazon as well, right?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

It is on Amazon in Canada, as well as in.com. And also there’s, when you go to our website, femme wellness.ca, then there’s a popup and you can

Lorne Brown:

Click on that, the books there as well. Alright, I want to go back into your dream way of treating if you could change the medical system and everybody had access to everything because all, let’s start with that and then we’ll work out on how to get everybody access to everything preconception. So spending time to get your house in order. So you’re talking about diet, lifestyle, I’m assuming sleep, exercise, rest, meditation, the mind body stuff. So really doing all the things that you can do that you’re doing anyhow, eating, moving your body and giving some time during the follicular genesis or the time for sperm to develop and mature. So three to six months on average. And again, it’s unique to each individual, but there’s an average. You’re also trained in functional medicine. So I’m curious about your testing for fertility. In our practice, we like the regular fertility workup, and then our naturopathic physicians often do a deeper dive and do more screening. Do you find that you’re just doing the regular blood tests ultrasound or are you doing more screening from a functional medicine practice now that you’ve trained in that as well?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

So again, I partnered with someone trained in functional medicine. Again, in Ontario. Our college is, unfortunately, I have not surmounted that hurdle yet. It’s very cumbersome. They make it very cumbersome for a medical physician to practice any of these other modalities.

Lorne Brown:

So we get the sense here in Canada anyhow, that you’re put into a little bit of a box. And even though you have training and tools of ways to help people heal, you’re restricted. So let me ask it a different way. In your practice, who are you referring to and do you want your patients to do that? Functional medicine testing, again, you’re special because you’re trained in everything. So for our listeners, most of the people will have an IVF doctor on their team. They may have a Chinese medicine doctor, a naturopathic doctor, a functional medicine doctor, a mind body hypnosis doctor, or a nutritionist. And some of those people may be one and the same as if they’re trained in modalities. But looking at your website and knowing you from meeting you at the Integrated Fertility Symposium, I know you’re kind of using all those, and I’m curious, are you using that or no, I’m happy with just my regular fertility workup, or do you have them do a deeper dive with their naturopathic or functional medicine practitioner?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

If we’re not having success or if we’re hitting blocks along the journey, then yes, then I would refer them to one of the functional medicine practitioners that I work with. Or if they have conditions, other chronic conditions along with their fertility, then those would be situations where, yes, where I would then suggest.

Lorne Brown:

And do you find in this day and age, I just know from our clinic seeing what they test. So I’m curious what you’re seeing. We see a lot of people with gut health issues. So we do a lot of microbiome testing, SIBO testing, h pylori testing. We see a lot of burnout and stress. So sometimes looking at the adrenals and just curious about your and just autoimmune conditions where people don’t show up with autoimmune diseases, but their symptoms are very autoimmune. Do you see that in your practice in Ontario as well, by the way? Are you seeing people like that?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Honestly, Lauren, in my practice, not very many, but I think you have a different practice. I think they gravitate to you.

Lorne Brown:

 

We see the difficult cases come to the IVF clinic. It didn’t work.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. Whereas so far, I mean I have a small handful of those types of cases. Luckily we have success with most of our patients otherwise.

Lorne Brown:

Great. Good to hear that you get those cases

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Like, whoa.

Lorne Brown:

Well, on our side, it’s nice too though because we always want the baby. We can’t promise the baby, right? However, it’s nice to know that the majority of people, we see their bloating and constipation, diarrhea is going to go away, their skin issues, their headaches, their chronic fatigue, those things we menstrual pain, those things, we feel pretty confident that in the three month period we’re going to see some usually significant improvement in those areas if they’re doing the diet lifestyle, MINDBODY supplements, the things that we do in our practice, which is great because you get to, nobody comes through an IVF that doesn’t work and says, I’m glad I did it right. But we have people that we weren’t able to help have a baby with, but they’re like, I’m glad I did this because now I have a better physical and mental quality of life. So it’s rewarding. Right,

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Exactly. It’s where that is. My other wish is to come through this journey and come out better regardless of the outcome, because you have taken the time to improve all of these other areas in your life as well.

Lorne Brown:

Tell us a little bit more about it, because it’s the Conscious Fertility podcast. I’m just more curious about your mind body approach and what you’ve seen with men and women going to see the hypnotherapist that you refer to or the mind body therapists. I’m curious what you’re noticing in their lives and in your treatments. Do you see a difference in your IVF treatments, just outcomes and then their experience for people that are doing this kind of preconception care on the physical and mental level?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

So the approach that the practitioners, the NLP practitioners would take would be what’s called a couples breakthrough in the sense that here we have not one individual that has an issue. It’s now two individuals that have an issue that have a relationship. So what they do is they see the couple first together, then they see each partner separate and they see them together again because each of us are quite different. And so sometimes again, it’s that the alignment is not there that needs to be tweaked in the couple and in the relationship. And maybe by doing that, then the outcome comes faster. For example,

Lorne Brown:

I was going to say, and why do you think I always use the word believe think or versus no know is like we got really good data and think and believe is speculation. And I have to say in medicine, you practice it. When I talk to researchers and doctors, at the end of the day, when you ask, if you ask why a couple of times, why at the end of the day we don’t know, but you keep distilled in a doubt. I think there’s this my body and this consciousness idea that’s happening here that’s beyond the Newtonian 3D level. But I’m curious, why do you think you see a difference for the people that do these breakthrough sessions when they do it as couples and individuals?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

It’s about belief. I mean, I have couples, I mean, I have patients who we do on the day of the IU, they’re already telling me, they’re like, well, I don’t think this is going to work. I’m like, you’re right

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

You’re telling your body mentally that this is not going to work. So we need to think positively. So our unconsciousness doesn’t process negatively. So if I tell you don’t think of a blue tree, now you’re thinking of a blue tree. It doesn’t process the don’t part. So in terms of goals and in terms of where we’re going, what I tell my patients is we need to focus on the positive. You cannot be thinking, I don’t want to come for my cycle monitoring because it’s at 6:00 AM in the morning, or I don’t want to be in this office, or I don’t want to be infertile. We need to change the thinking process. I want to do this because I am here to have my baby and this treatment is going to work. So we need to reframe how they’re thinking about the process and the journey. And by now I can tell you pretty much which patients will and will not have a positive outcome just by how they speak and what they say to

Lorne Brown:

Me. I have this saying where the mind goes, the chief follows, what you focus on becomes your reality. So you’re sharing here, when you say positive thinking, you’re talking about a reframe. It’s focusing on what you want, not what you don’t want. Exactly. And again, to say you got to think positive in my practice, I like the first step to acknowledge that you feel it may not work. Like to accept myself. That’s authenticity and having compassion. So because when we say think positive, there’s a whole bunch of steps I think that I want to share with the listeners that happen around that. It’s about having compassion for yourself. This is a big part of it. And so there’s this thinking it’s not going to work. That’s probably what’s happening. They fear it’s not going to work, right? Yes. And some people will say it out loud because they want to, the fear of failure is I don’t want to have the disappointment, so I’m setting myself up. I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s almost a protective mechanism. You find to think this way, that way when it happens, yeah, I knew it was going to happen. Right? You’re almost like a protective mechanism. That’s what I learned to observe. And a big part of this mind body is to bring that compassion to self. So we have such a negative self-talk and becoming aware of this self-talk is the first part. And it doesn’t mean judging your negative like, oh, I’m an idiot for having negative not what you’re saying.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

No, no.

Lorne Brown:

Dr. Joan Rosenberg, she’s a psychologist and she says, probably the biggest issue is our negative. And so step one, we talked about awareness, right? Presence awareness. So noticing what you’re thinking and then with intention, changing the outcome. Look, why are you doing this? I want a baby. And what does the baby represent? So I just wanted to share that with our listeners, not as simple as I’m going to think positively. If it were, you would be doing that, right? But because you have the programs, this is happening without you even consciously being aware of it. And the first step is to become aware of it. And as you said earlier, we get to choose how we respond, how we experience. That’s the free will. And so how do you want to experience this? And for me, if I was in that situation doing an IUI, if I was that individual, my process would be first to accept and acknowledge that I’m afraid this is not going to work.

I’m afraid it’s going to fail. That’s the first step. And that acceptance, I call it notice, except choose. Again. I have this process and notice that I’m afraid and I’m doing an IUI and I don’t want to be doing it, I want it to be natural. And then surrendering to this is how I feel, and I have many tools I like to use in that accepting process. That’s when the resistance lowers when you’re not fighting reality. Because the reality is, I’m here and I’m afraid it’s not going to work. You feel a sense of relief, you feel lighter. And that’s when I call choose again, how do you want to feel? Which is what you talked about. Think positive, right? Well, I want a baby. Okay, can you imagine what it’d be like if it did work? Can you imagine what it’d be like? And then start to bring that experience up?

I just wanted to unpack that a bit for our listeners, not as simple as thinking positive. And there’s a little bit of what they use the term spiritual bypass where I’m just going to think everything’s positive. But what you said to me is so important that our understanding of the subconscious can’t be negative. So it’s got to be what you want, not what you don’t want. Hence you said you can’t think of, don’t think of a blue tree. Your subconscious can’t do that, right? It’s going to think of a blue tree. So the key is stating what you want in a positive, not in a negative. Exactly. I’m glad you brought that up. It’s an important thing. But have you found the compassionate key part? The part I think is so important in this work is that this work requires a willingness to be uncomfortable. But

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Absolutely. I think it’s hard because, and then sometimes you beat yourself up about it. How come I can’t conceive? Or why is this happening to me? And these tools help us with those difficult feelings, and I wish more of us would embrace this type of work.

Lorne Brown:

And I see more and more of it. I mean, it’s in my awareness. So all the books I see, that’s what they’re on. I can’t believe how many books and podcasts and lectures on YouTube are out there. It’s out there, guys. So if you found our podcast today, thank you, because there’s a lot out there. And summarizing to me what you’ve been talking about is you like an integrative holistic approach. You have a team available for your patients if they’re interested and they’re able to choose these resources. You often will do some preconception where you’re going over diet and lifestyle, meditation, mind body stuff. You have testing that you do for your patients, and then you have all these treatments, which would be, there’s I I, so all the stuff that you see at the medicated I, UIs and IVF cycles and donors, surrogacy. And in doing that in the preconception care. And when they’re doing these, you’re inviting your patients to know about acupuncture, herbal supplements, hypnosis and NLP and functional medicine.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Absolutely.

Lorne Brown:

See the reason we resonate, what my clinic does, and then we work with the fertility clinic locally, so they get the IVF there, but we’re doing that preconception and during all that process and that holistic care is fascinating to me and even to the IVF clinic, they can point out, you said how you can tell who’s going to get pregnant or not. Sometimes with your patients, the clinics often have shared with me the docs that in the waiting area, they can tell who’s been coming to our clinic and accu balance or not just based on their demeanor and how they’re sitting in the chairs, more of a relaxed state, right? Confidence breeds some relaxation, confidence as if you’ve done everything you know can. So it gives you a little bit of hope, you’re still nervous about the outcome, but it gives you a little bit of hope and confidence when you’ve done a lot to get to this place.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Exactly.

Lorne Brown:

And is there anything else you want to share with our listeners about this journey? You’ve been doing this for a while, you’ve experienced it and you’ve got so many resources around you. I’m curious, and you’ve written a book about it. So again, it’s called Embrace Your Fertility. It’s available on Amazon and it’s also available on your website. And your website is drbelejrak, so D-R-B-E-L-E-J-R-A k.com. And we’ll put that in the show notes, everybody, just so you can find this and learn more about Tam’s approach and finding stuff on her website where she’s doing this integrative care.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

So I’ll just read you one of my sentences from the closing of the book. So the more I do what I do, the more I love it and the more awe I feel. And the more we know about fertility, the more I realize with profound humility that there is much we don’t know. A willingness to be humbled by the mystery of bringing life into the world seems part and parcel of my work as a fertility specialist.

Lorne Brown:

Nice. I want to talk about, the more we know, the more we don’t know, I want to know what you mean by that a little bit more and how that’s the humbling, but also brings the beauty to this medicine where we really provide support to the individuals and then hope the body does what it needs to do. But can you talk a little bit about your thoughts around that line? To me, I felt something when you said that and I wanted to hear your thoughts.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Well, there’s something profound beyond what we physically, even mentally are aware of, I believe. And so sometimes there are things that happen magically that you don’t expect to necessarily happen. And so I believe that there’s something more that is out there. And so I think that’s what I meant.

Lorne Brown:

That’s how I interpreted, and that’s been my experience and that humbling experience as in I know anymore and through all of these podcasts and my clinical experience, seeing the magic, the miracle, seeing women conceive that on paper are not supposed to get pregnant. I see myself as a gardener and they’re the garden and the Chinese proverb is nurse or soul before you plant the seed. So rather than me doing any of this now, like I’m doing this for you, I’m healing you. It’s not at all. I’m your facilitator and basically my role is I’m going to pull out the weeds, going to make sure there’s water, and make sure you get the right amount of sunlight, keep the soil, the nutrients are there, and this includes from a mental emotional part as well. And then the plant takes what it needs and does everything. So I’m doing nothing.

I’m just creating an environment to support the soil so the plant can take what it needs. And then this mind body part where you talk about there’s something more than that meets the eye. That’s what I’m like, okay, there is something happening here that is beyond this 3D earthly Newtonian world, and this is where I’m interested in quantum studies of research and interested in this whole idea around consciousness and presence, present moment, you’re tapping into something, all the speakers, researchers and guests, not speakers, but all the guests on here for the most part have said when you get into full presence, when you’re truly there and you know it, you feel it. You’re tapping into something where miracles happen. Absolutely. And I’m in awe now when I see these people do it right, and I just show up and I hold the space basically, right?

Like I said, I pull a few weeds, I may add a little water, but it’s them having this inert transformation. I do a lot of conscious work while I’m having acupuncture and low level therapy with my patients. So we’re doing the hypnotherapy conscious type work and I’m watching them have their eyes, the breakthroughs and the aha moments, and they’re making these shifts and just seeing these profound shifts that they have, and then they’re coming back with physical changes. Here’s something that I wanted to ask you about with this work that you do, the NLP, the mind body and that you’re, I always say there’s one or two things. So I’m asking you, is this kind of like, yeah, yeah, this is the same thing, and feel free to disagree as well. By the way, I say one of two things happen sometimes both. The first thing, when you have a shift inside when these programs change these unconscious programs and you have the shift inside, then your perception of the outer world changes.

So you experience it differently. Yes. It seems like it’s changed, but it’s really you’ve changed, so you experience it differently and you’re good with that. And that’s kind of what you mentioned earlier about when there’s a situation, you have a choice, how you’re going to respond to it, how you’re going to feel about it. The second thing I say is sometimes miracles happen and the external world changes. It literally changes. The paint was red, you wanted a blue and now it’s blue. How did that happen? Who came in and painted it? I didn’t ask for it. And I have a great example where somebody I was working with, it was a challenging process for her and her journey, and she quickly made some internal shifts. It was just like she knew, she changed, it shifted. She was in a different place still wanting the baby going through this journey.

And then she said, you’re not going to believe this. At work today, when I saw her, this was one of her appointments, just announced that all IVF drugs, all IVF procedures, even surrogacy, are now fully covered. Wow. They were worried about how they’re going to do this based on their diagnosis and what happened. They were going to need IVF and surgery and maybe it was a major, oh my god, the world was turned upside down in a moment. And then within a month she’s doing her inner work and we’re doing what we’re doing. But she came and said, this just happened at work. And I said, see, isn’t that cool? I said, one or two things happen. You already had the shift. She already knew that she was going to find a way to have a baby. It’s a journey. And she had a new attitude around it. She had her wake up call as you call you said it, and she’s already making those transformations. And then out of nowhere, the external world changed where work was, she never asked for it, just they made an announcement. Hey, new medical plan, everything is covered. So is that what you’re seeing with your patients too and in your own personal life, like the one or two things that happen?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Yeah. I mean, at one time I had developed a herniated disc and medical doctors. There was one extreme to the other to have surgery like now and blah, blah, blah. And then I went to see a chiropractor who was trained in German new medicine, but again, mind body connection. And as soon as I made the connection between what they believe lower back pain or herniation is about is being led down. Once you make the connection, the neurology and the body changes and the body heals itself.

Lorne Brown:

Yeah. Dr. Joe Dispenza, I’ve done a few of his retreats. He calls it the biological upgrade, I think. You get a biological upgrade and you said you’ve seen them in your office, you can tell whether they may get pregnant or not just by reading them in a certain way. There are women who have sat in my practice, and I’ve been doing this since 2000, so I don’t have a lot, a handful on my hand where on paper they’re not supposed to get pregnant based on their FSH Andra follicle count based on their history of IVF. And I’m listening to their story and listening to what they’re doing and how they’re seeing it unfolding for themselves. I’m like, this person’s going to get pregnant and it’s going to have nothing to do with any of my needles or my herbs or anything.

I just could sense it from them, right? They did it on paper. They really should not be getting pregnant. They were donation candidates. It didn’t make sense. It’s never impossible, but they weren’t the probable cases. And for me, I want to study those people. The outliers. People are like, they’re outliers. Of course. There’s always a case like this one of your colleagues watching. That’s nonsense. There’s always outliers like that. Yes. I want to help people become more like the outliers. And that’s what I think as we kind of circle back and wrap up is what you talked about in your last sentence, that there’s more, the more you know you don’t know and that you don’t know is being talked about a lot. We still don’t know it. I don’t know when we’ll know it. However, the mind body approach is a way to tap into this unknown. So without even knowing what this is, people are using these tools, what I call conscious work, your NLP style, hypnosis awareness, mindfulness tools, and for some reason you’re tapping into this unknown that seems to help create miracles often for people.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Exactly, exactly. It’s fascinating.

Lorne Brown:

It keeps it interesting, doesn’t it? Yes. Timea, thank you for joining us today. I mean, it’s not very often that I get somebody who’s a medical doctor, OBGYN. You did a master’s as well, then an REI and then trained in NLP, hypnotherapy and Functional Medicine, and it’s so nice that you have that knowledge because then it makes you a really good resource for referring to your patients because of so many different modalities. And then you have your practice. Your practice is located in Ontario. Where are you in Ontario?

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

In Maple, in the North of Toronto. Major McKenzie and Keel.

Lorne Brown:

Great. And your website is femwellness.ca. That’s in the show notes, but that’s FEM wellness.ca. So that’s how they can find you. And the title of your book is called Embrace Your Fertility. Yes. Any other places that you want people to try and find you, whether you have Twitter, Instagram, or just

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Those are the two main places I am not very active on social media. I like to meet people in person and then kind of develop my rapport, kind of individualize their care that way, so I’m not too active on other social media.

Lorne Brown:

I got a few calls to action for our listeners here as we wrap up things that you had said during our time together. One is to go check out her website. Lots of great information there and you can get a copy of Dr. Timea Belej Rak’s book. You talked about the diet being important and the Mediterranean diet, and you mentioned that Harvard Nurses study. I do want to let our listeners know that on the Acubalance website, we have an Acubalance fertility diet with recipes based on the nurses’ study. Basically it’s a low-glycemic index, anti-inflammatory, mostly plant-based diet. So that’s available for free and it’s nice that they have recipes. And then you talked earlier when we were sharing your journey about how intimacy became like baby making, so it became a little lost. Some of it is fun. I do want to let our listeners know that Alexa Bowditch has an episode called Fertile Love Navigating Intimacy and Connection while trying to conceive. She is a sex coach. And so we have a nice talk on that and that episode was released on April 25th, 2023. If you want to listen to that. And again, do check out to ME’S website, femwellness.ca

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

And just enclosing the proceeds from the book are going to Fertility Matters Canada. So my portion anyway.

Lorne Brown:

Excellent. So embrace your fertility book. When you purchase that book, they go to support a nonprofit called Fertility Matters Canada. So that’s excellent as well. So thank you for sharing that too. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today.

Dr. Timea Belej Rak:

Thank you so much, Lorne.

Speaker:

You’re looking for support to grow your family contact AcuBalance Wellness Center at AcuBalance, they help you reach your peak fertility potential through their integrative approach using low level laser therapy, fertility, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine. Download the Acubalance Fertility Diet and Dr. Brown’s video for mastering manifestation and clearing subconscious blocks. Go to acubalance.ca. That’s a-c-u balance.ca.

Lorne Brown:

Thank you so much for tuning into another episode of Conscious Fertility, the show that helps you receive life on purpose. Please take a moment to subscribe to the show and join the community of women and men on their path to peak fertility and choosing to live consciously on purpose. I would love to continue this conversation with you, so please direct message me on Instagram at Lorne Brown official. That’s Instagram, Lorne Brown official, or you can visit my websites LorneBrown.com and acubalance.ca. Until the next episode, stay curious and for a few moments, bring your awareness to your heart center and breathe.

 

Dr. Timea Belej Rak

Dr. Timea Belej Rak

Timea Belej-Rak, MD, is an obstetrician-gynecologist with specialty training in fertility. Her passion is helping her patients navigate their fertility journey. She received her MD, and specialty training from the University of Toronto. She practices at Anova Fertility and Reproductive Health and lives with her husband and daughter in Toronto, Canada.

 

Where To Find Dr. Timea Belej Rak:   

 

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Dr. Lorne Brown
Dr. Timea Belej Rak

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