You’ve been trying to conceive—for months, possibly years. You long to open your body, your heart, your life to a baby of your own. But instead of opening, the constant cycle monitoring, timed intercourse, and invasive fertility treatments have left you feeling stressed out and closed up.

You’re doing everything you’re supposed to do. Why is it so difficult to get pregnant?

As modern women we are products of a society that operates on masculine energy. The institutions, schools, businesses, governments, and often families that have surrounded and shaped us from birth value and reward the masculine while trivializing or not even recognizing the feminine. Analyzing, controlling, arranging, doing, producing, succeeding: these are the actions high on our culture’s priority list. Softening, feeling, intuiting, receiving, allowing, nurturing, being? That’s all right for the weaker, unambitious types. Maybe on the weekends.

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, most of us women follow the blueprint set for us, building our lives on the masculine energy that gets results in our results-oriented world. Even if we want to reconnect with our softer feminine selves, the pressures and obligations of any busy woman are enough to make such a reconnection feel like just one more item on the overloaded to-do list, one more way we’re failing. We don’t have time to rest, recharge, be still, be. We have objectives to achieve, careers to advance, households to run, mortgages to pay, laundry to wash, a body to keep fit, flights to catch, schedules to organize, all while looking hot and staying cheerful. There are too many people dependent on us, too many balls in the air that will collide and collapse if we take a break from juggling them.

When it comes to conceiving a baby, we naturally go about it in the manner ingrained in us: with a goal and a plan, a set of steps to success. This is not our fault: it’s the way we’ve been trained to live, an inheritance we may not even be aware of. But for many women, the journey to conception is where the masculine model breaks down, perhaps for the first time. And it breaks down because conception is not the realm of masculine energy, not an act of doing. Conception happens in a softer, gentler space, in an energy that is relaxed, sensual, allowing, open to receive. That feminine energy most of us are not in touch with.

Masculine energy is the yang energy of doing. Feminine energy is the yin energy of being. Masculine energy is solar. Feminine energy is lunar. The two energies are natural polarities that exist in all of us, men and women alike. Together they bring harmony and balance.

Without feminine energy to balance our doing, trying, and giving, however, many women are depleted and resentful. Add to this pre-existing scenario the struggle to conceive, with its piercing disappointments and heartache, repeated rounds of cycle monitoring, injections, inseminations, and sex that has perhaps become separated from passion, and any woman will find it virtually impossible to feel sensual and at ease.

For women in general, and especially for women suffering through unexplained fertility, we need to find our way back to our feminine energy.

Letting go can be painful. Holding onto control can feel important, imperative. We don’t want to give up, to stop trying. We may be convinced that the only way for conception to occur is by our determined direction and hard work. We may have to dig far, past a lifetime of societal messages and personal expectations, to the inner voice that’s longing to let go and be.

Because letting go is also a beautiful release.

If pursuing pregnancy through the masculine model has left you worn out and disappointed, I urge you to shift into your feminine way of being. Slow down. Breathe. Be gracious with yourself, with your body and your emotions, your grief. Allow yourself to feel these. Reclaim your trust in your body’s innate ability to conceive. Get in touch with your body as the beautiful, complete vessel it is, and enjoy it for its own sake. Explore your sensuality. Open up to sex again as a passionate connection with your partner, letting go of outcomes.

As you begin to experience yourself as a sensual woman and lovemaking as a sacred expression, the way will be opened for joy to return to your baby-making. You will be living from a place of openness, not constriction, sensuality, not project-management. Your energy, your spirit, and your body will be open to receive.