As I sit down to write this I have just polished off an enormous bowl of chia seed porridge chased down with two pieces of bacon.... yes, I am pregnant! Talk about a complete 360 from my habits of old! Wooohoooo! But oh what a journey!
Many of you know about this journey, the road I have been travelling and the changes to my lifestyle I have had to make. I have shared many of my battles with you on this blog. It has not been easy, in fact it's been a mental, emotional and physical challenge bigger than anything else I have faced in life - so far (OMG there is a baby coming and now I have to prepare for that! OH SHIT!).
This journey may be familiar to many of you reading this, you might be on a similar path right now. And no doubt if your like me, you have worked your way through the list of 'things' that will help you fall pregnant, and believe me, I worked my way through all of them! But I also want to share with you some truths, and the path in this journey that I choose to take.
What many of you may not know is that yes, I did end up on fertility treatment to help me fall pregnant... hold on, I can hear you... so don't all gasp at once! Yes, I am a health coach, I am a firm believer in the holistic and natural approach to pregnancy, one of my closest friends specialises in this, BUT I am also a woman who wants a family, a woman who is a first class pro at self sabotage, and a woman who just wants to feel good about herself. Changing my lifestyle and my habits after 8 years of working towards a body and a being that I loved was hard. Only those around me who already have children could honestly tell me from their hearts that the changes I needed to make would be worth it (a huge blubbering hug to my best friend Jess, my mum and my sister for having two of the most beautiful nieces an aunty could wish for). But at the end of the day, I was in the end always going to be too strong minded and pig headed to listen.
When there is something out there in front of us that we really really want, and we want it now, is it our human nature that drives us to work out the fastest way to get it?
Or are we simply driven by the society around us? Bear with me while I get a little philosophical here but hang in there as I do want to make a point.
Every day we are bombarded by images, social media and marketing messages telling us to do this and do that. Images that push us to consume more and do more, and a society that has become instant and very good at creating stereo-types. Whether we like it or not, we are all infected by this society - I was clearly, as I spent the last 8 years trying to fit in!
So, for this journey I knew I needed to give myself time, time to step out of the norm, but to be ok with that. I didn't want to jump straight into fertility treatment without giving my body the time to heal itself, to address my personal challenges, and create the mindset of knowing that if we spent longer trying, that the rewards would also be so much greater and last so much longer when we had success. (who remembers saving for their first bike when they were young, and how great it was when you could finally afford it, better than just having it handed to you in an instant right? Hope you follow my drift.
I set myself a goal of one year of trying without opting for the fertility treatment (we had already been trying for a year before hand but I had hypothalamic amenorrhea so nothing was ever going to happen there!) before we would go down that line. So I spent a whole year researching my options, I became a health coach, I started learning as much as I could about traditional lifestyles and nutrition, all while making some hard but necessary lifestyle changes (interlaced with moments of self sabotage of course.) During this time, my husband had a very serious motorbike accident. One that sent me into a state of constant stress. My adrenaline and cortisol levels hit the roof for around three months and as a result I lost even more weight and fell further into hypothalamic amenorrhea. During this time I decided to meet with a fertility specialist to get my head around the options.... bad move! Not only was I the lightest I had ever been and in a state of constant stress, but this specialist went so far to tell me that I needed to see a psychologist! Wow, did that spin me out! Talk about an overwhelming sense on failure, huge drop in confidence and serious doubt, things started to unravel. I was a wreck. I felt judged, insecure and overwhelmed with guilt about how I had ended up where I was. My self esteem was at rock bottom.
So what did I do next? Well, I went to the psychologist, and I can tell you now, she was simply amazing and I had nothing to fear. For the last 12 months all of the advice, reading and research I had been doing and receiving had not once focused on the mental side of coping with hypothalamic amenorrhea. She helped me see through society.
I hit my 12 months, over which time I only had one period naturally. I knew that there were still a number of changes I needed to make to my lifestyle, partially around stress and workload. I also know that I was not in the luxurious position of being able to stop work and focus on my health for 6 months! To be honest, if I was really going to do this 100% naturally, I would have had to leave town! So, my husband and I contacted Fertility Associates.
OK, this article is turing into a novel, so I will save the detail of my treatments and my assisting plan for nutrition and exercise for another post. The greatest thing for me was that from this point, we had a plan. A plan to make a baby, and a plan that I was ready to accept.
If I had not taken 12 months to slow down and look at society from another angle, I don't think any fertility plan could have helped me. For those of you going through a similar journey, just remember that sometimes the longest road to success is the most rewarding. I am fortunate that my road in the greater scheme of fertility treatments is short. But that is what I wish for anyone going through a similar experience.