Struggling with infertility sucks. Big time.
For some people, it is one of the hardest battles they will ever have to overcome.
Infertility doesn’t discriminate and very often it’s victims suffer in silence.
During my 3 year journey to conceive Beau, I was very tight lipped about the journey that I was on. Especially when I was asked that dreaded question, “So when are you going to have kids then?” or “Ooh, Linda on reception has just had a baby. You’re next!”
In my head I’m screaming, “WHY THE ACTUAL F*** AM I NEXT? Good on Linda that her ovaries and uterus are playing ball. ” Go away Linda – its not your fault, but still go away. But in reality, I smiled sweetly and light heartedly claimed that I’m not quite at that stage. Lying. Through. My. Teeth.
No matter how long, hard or ugly your fertility journey is, here are some sure fire ways to help you through it.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Feelings of anger and inadequacy are totally understandable when you’re trying to create a tiny human and your body decides otherwise, but it’s important that you don’t put yourself through the mill too much, mentally or physically. The last thing your body needs right now is undue stress and pressure. There is very little that will distract from the agonising pain that is caused by infertility. BUT don’t beat yourself up – have faith that your body is an amazing thing and so is your mind. You are living and learning. Forgive yourself and grow from the experience.
Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it
This sounds so silly when I see it written in black and white, but when I was trying to conceive Beau, I was so scared of HAVING to have IVF or any fertility treatments in order to have a baby. I didn’t do needles, I didn’t do invasive procedures, my Mum and all of my friends conceived naturally, so why wouldn’t I? The longer our journey got, the more intense this fear became. But what I’ve learnt by going through IVF, is that my hopes, needs and dreams of having a baby tremendously outweighed my fear of the process itself and once I accepted this, I was able to take each day as it came and focus a little less on the ‘what if’s’.
Have a Period Party
Every month when I got my period, it was a pretty big blow to me, but at the same time it signified a fresh start and new hope. To celebrate this ‘new beginning’, but mainly to console myself that my body still wasn’t doing what I wanted it to, I would have a Period Party. It was a recognised occasion in my house hold, which consisted of the trashiest of trash Netflix had to offer, along with copious amounts of chocolate and wine. It was at this point in the month that I allowed myself to cry, scream, eat my feelings and generally dwell on how crap it was to still not be pregnant, before picking myself back up and getting back on the ‘horse’…so to speak 😉
Fuel your body with powerful fertility boosting superfoods
For the avoidance of doubt, I’m under no illusion that eating avocado on toast for a month for breakfast is going to miraculously transform your fertility, but by putting the right food into your body, you’re at least giving it a little nudge in the right direction. And if it doesn’t have a positive affect on your fertility, then at least you’re going to feel a bit brighter for adding in a few new healthy foods into your diet:
- Avocados are life! I swear one day I’m actually going to turn green from eating so much avocado. These green little powerhouses are full to the brim with vitamin E which studies have found can help improve endometrial lining, folic acid which can boost fertility in both men and women, monounsaturated fat (the good type of fat), antioxidants, fibre and potassium.
- Brazil nuts can really boost a woman’s fertility due to the high levels of selenium they contain. Selenium is critical for the development of healthy ovarian follicles, so consuming just 2-3 Brazil nuts a day can significantly increase the levels in your body.
- Salmon contains a huge amount of Omega-3 fats which helps to regulate the hormones, promote ovulation and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs – most importantly, the uterus. Other foods high in Omega-3 fats are flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and sardines.
- Spinach is high in folate and vitamin B which has been shown to increase the rate and reliability of ovulation. And who doesn’t love spinach right? You can also chuck it in a smoothie and get all the folate-y goodness from it without even realising its there. (My favourite smoothie recipe: handful of spinach, half a banana, half a kiwi, chia seeds and coconut water – delish and super healthy).
Be healthy but not too healthy
Trying to conceive is certainly hard enough without tormenting yourself over something that you really want to eat but know that you shouldn’t all because it might affect that month’s chances of conceiving. So yes, its definitely good to make a few positive changes to your diet and strip out some of the bad stuff, but at the same time – for some people (me me me!) food brings a huge amount of pleasure and joy, so go out with your partner for romantic meals, enjoy that gorgeous food, eat those carbs and have a few glasses of wine. Just eat some extra spinach the next day to balance it out.
…and if all else fails, remember courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I’ll try again tomorrow.
Quote: Mary Ann Radmacher