“It is likely to be difficult for you to get pregnant, but we do have medications to put you on, if that doesn’t work we do have IVF referrals to send you to, would you like more information on the medication…”
This was about 2 years ago, I was 28 years old, and I was sitting in my Gynecologists office after having some testing done to see why I was not regularly getting my period.
I had just casually mentioned that we would probably be thinking about children in the future and I immediately found myself in a conversation about my “infertility.”
We were no where close to even trying to conceive yet.
I left this office with another lovely label to sew to my shirt “PCOS,” (and the impression that my body would not want to have a baby on it’s own naturally.)
PCOS, meaning Polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a syndrome ranging of a wide variety of possible symptoms. It is hard to diagnose because of this, and from the outside a women with PCOS all look very different. To truly have PCOS, you would be identified with polycystic ovaries, (which many women without PCOS can have as well), and high androgen levels. But what feeds into your specific condition can vary.
This can make it harder to help with without personalization. There may be insulin resistance, inflammation, stress factors, reactions from birth control, or other contributors like autoimmunity. For some women it is a true struggle with fertility, and for others it is not. For all of these reasons, to give a generic label, it can be very disheartening, and leave a woman feeling confused.
I admit, this did get to me for a bit. I felt overwhelmed, I felt sad, I had the irrational thought that since I was a baby created out of IVF that that must be the fate for my own children.
And then I took a hot shower (I don’t do cold) and snapped myself out of it.
I had a few screenings, I had a list of a few symptoms, why in the world would those ever lead me to believe a drastic conclusion that I was infertile and there was nothing I could do about this.
Once again I had someone trying to tell me “that’s just how you are” and once again was I going to prove them wrong.
I gathered myself together and decided to do what I would do for any client of mine - figure out what is happening in my body and find how I can best support it’s natural rhythm and vitality.
You may have read about my experience with birth control. I knew that these effects could still be hanging around in my body and with other stressors likely taking place I needed to identify those and heal.
I started working in steps, initially just tuning into my body and getting to know what it was telling me. We can easily disregard our mind/body connection, but I truly believe if you listen to what is happening and the little signs and signals your body is continuously sending you everyday you can give it the help it is asking for and even learn how to prevent things from getting worse.
Over the next year I dedicated myself to the mission of optimizing my fertility. I studied my own genetics, supplemented with vitamins, minerals and herbs to support my general health and cycles, and adjusted my workouts to make sure that the exercise I was taking part in was supportive and not destructive.
It was not always easy and there was definitely some periods of trial and error but I made significant progress and I was feeling so good on a daily basis that I was encouraged with everything I was doing.
When I had a weird sickness pop up last winter, it indicated to me that I still had another step of healing I wanted to work towards before we would try to conceive. I went on an intense gut healing program for about 4 months, a stricter diet, supplements, and no alcohol (hard to do in the summer!).
But once again, I saw such drastic improvements.
And then, we were ready to start “trying.” My ovulation wasn’t always regular and my cycles were still out of the “normal” range but I knew my health was better than ever and I felt it was time.
And guess what, we got pregnant immediately.
Within just a couple weeks I was pregnant. I didn’t ovulate until day 28 (which once again many wouldn’t consider “normal) but it was the right timing and my body was ready to support this new experience.
So no, this is not a story about infertility, this is a story about listening to YOURSELF, about getting to know your body, supporting it in every way you know how and having faith.
Would it have been just as easy a year and a half ago to conceive? I can’t tell you for sure, but I do not know how it could have been. I went from 100 day cycles without ovulation to ovulating regularly, I do not think this just “happened,” I strongly believe that it was my efforts and dedication that paid off.
If you struggle with your cycles, if you have been told you may suffer from infertility, if you simply want to know that your body is the healthiest it can be when you conceive then know that it is within your power to influence this.
We can not control the outcomes but we can control our efforts. I fully realize that not everyone is as blessed as I am, and the struggle can be long and painful. We do not always get the outcomes that we hope for despite what we do. But we do not have to let others write our own story.
You can know that you are doing everything in your power for the betterment of your health and future and may even reach your goals with a chance to say “I have proved you wrong.”