Be Inspired Series
Fertility And Pregnancy Therapist
The Complementary Health Clinic
Acupuncturist and holistic therapist Maria Rafferty BSc (Hons), Lic.Ac. CertATMAT is a highly sought-after, certified therapist who specialises in pre-pregnancy and prenatal care.
Tell Us About Your Day
My alarm goes off and I quickly sit up and begin a 20-minute meditation. It has so many wonderful benefits, my favourite being anti-aging!
I have a quick shower then I grab a hot water and lemon to drink whilst getting ready. This is great for keeping hydrated, improving digestion and upping my vitamin C intake.
I make breakfast which is usually porridge and fruit. I never miss my breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.
Two mornings a week I attend a yoga class — it’s a wonderful way to start the day.
I leave home early for work due to the crazy traffic. I have also started seeing clients earlier just to fit them all in.
I arrive at my clinic on the Lisburn Road and begin prepping the treatment room. I then spend approximately an hour replying to e-mails and voicemails.
I work with clients who are trying to get pregnant as well as couples preparing for a positive birth experience. I do this through a combination of traditional Chinese acupuncture, Arvigo techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy and yoga to address a range of health issues such as digestive and gynaecological problems.
As one of a small number of highly trained individuals who have been taught Maya Abdominal Therapy, I am able to empower clients with takehome techniques they can introduce into their own daily routine to improve their health and take charge of their own well-being.
I also prepare the mother and birthing partner for the childbirth experience, relieving anxiety and fear through acupuncture; teaching birth partners how to give pain relief through acupressure; preparing the ligaments, and increasing the woman’s stamina.
As a trained doula, I am also on call to attend a couple’s birth for up to two weeks prior to their due date, accompanying the medical and midwifery teams, to calm mother, birth partner and baby and provide physical and emotional support.
The clinic can be hectic as Maya massage is so popular but I try to fit in a 30-minute walk every day so that I get some fresh air and sunlight. I would also have lunch at around this time depending on my client schedule.
Some days are tough as I have clients that have really been through a lot and infertility is very emotive but the positive feedback I get back makes it so worthwhile. Educating clients on how their body works and giving them tools to improve their reproductive, digestive and emotional health puts them in a much better and stronger place, both psychologically and physically.
Recently, I've had a few of my clients pop in to visit me with the baby they thought they would never have! I feel so privileged that they take the time to bring their baby to see me and it is great to get a cuddle.
I work two late nights per week, and on the evenings I finish early I’m home for around 6.30pm. My evenings are varied but will always include good food. I make it from scratch as I worry about what effect the chemicals in processed food might have on my body.
Sometimes I would catch up with friends over dinner. I also have two nieces and two nephews who range in age from twelve weeks to three-and-ahalf years old and they have a tendency to take up some of my evenings.
The oldest brings me oil and asks for a massage every time I see him. The eldest two know all about acupuncture as well; when they hear that someone is sick they say they should see Auntie Maria for needles to make them better.
Some evenings I spend more time on client e-mails. Of course, when I get that e-mail or phone call from a client to tell me they are pregnant, well words can't describe! I provide a lot of support for my fertility clients and this is usually done by e-mail.
I have also been called on to present my work to registrars at Ulster Hospital, attend the local infertility support network (I N UK) and meet with IVF consultants and nutritionists so I would spend time in the evenings preparing for these meetings.
I try to switch off from work mode by 9pm every night— it doesn’t always happen though!
I would love to be in bed by 10pm but it never happens. If I’m lucky it’s 11pm, then I read for an hour or so.
SLEEP. I’m so busy during the day that I fall asleep almost instantly.