When you first hear the word infertility it is like hearing of some disease that has no cure or hope. The emotion contained in this single word can crush so many dreams, hopes, relationships and life as we know it. That word is one we hope we don’t hear and are never prepared for it if it is said. There is finality to it where back up plans are deployed and you become this desperate seeker for that one in X chance your outcome will be different. It is a move against odds, a dare and challenge against your own body, your spouse’s body and even nature itself. You are immediately swept into a swirl of hormonal medications and injections, medical tests and procedures, scheduled sex and emotions beyond description.
The trauma from infertility is deep. Some compare it to the grief felt with death and in many ways it is a death in itself. Infertility is not always resolved and can cause a pain that does not heal easily or quickly. It can rip marriages apart and impact our physical and mental well-being for years to come. None of it is intentional or desired but often is the result when answers are unknown or results not realized.
So many couples endure the infertility journey and some are lucky while many others are not. There are no easy explanations or answers. There are not right or wrong answers either. If you are in this experience please know my heart goes to you as we have been there too.
This blog is an outline of natural support to help you in this journey regardless of outcome or path you choose.
What to know about infertility statistics
One of the first things doctors will start sharing with you is the statistics associated with infertility concerns. You will hear a lot of different versions of numbers and it will quickly become overwhelming.
The truth is all infertility problems are essentially 1/3 times the woman having an issue, 1/3 times the man having a problem and 1/3 times unknown reason.
The other truth is that when it is you, none of the stats matter but those of you and your spouse.
Knowing the stats at the onset helps you chart your own journey in this area. However, things happen quickly and you and your partner need to always be in communication with each other for what is right for you. Take the time you need to have those deep conversations and make those decisions. Some of these things in infertility treatments are irreversible for know what you’re getting into before you begin. Be on the same page about the process.
What to expect in allopathic infertility treatments
Depending on your situation, the first thing that usually happens is an exam of both you and your spouse. Please make sure you know what these tests are and that all tests are performed.
In our own situation, only the basic sperm test was performed on our husband and not the full panel. It was assumed because of my history and age that I was likely the problem in our infertility. We would not find out until much later in the process and with a different fertility doctor that all the tests were not performed on my husband.
In the beginning it is also common to have a prescription for Clomid, even before tests are performed. If you have had miscarriages or don’t have any obvious problems it is sometimes helpful with this prescription to boost fertility hormones. This prescription is typically provided for a short period of time and if it is not successful it can then be replaced or combined with hormonal injectables and more extensive treatments.
The injectables also come with strict monitoring of your cycle, multiple exams and tests, and scheduled sex. This can go on for months. From experience I can tell you sex can stop being fun. It can wear on your relationship. It feels clinical and impersonal. There are so many emotions up and down with the hormones surging in your body. Then when you get your next menstruation, there is deep disappointment, anger, frustration and a spiral down. You repeat this until hopefully you are fortunate to become pregnant.
There is no right or wrong answer if you choose this path to try to overcome infertility. I can tell you the drugs used are expensive. They also inject incredible amounts of these hormones in your body that can cause other physical and mental health concerns. The aim is to position your body to be able to become fertile and impregnated. The result is often damage to our cells, mental well-being and future problems with menstruation, menopause and risks to cardiovascular health. Please read the fine print of the medications.
Naturally Supporting Infertility
Before you become pregnant it is important to know your own health status. Take into account your nutrition, rest, stress, exercise and even your amount of daily sunlight. Additionally, your mental and spiritual well-being is important. All of these factors contribute to the experience as well as the health of you and the baby. I also recommend men look at their health the same way. While they will not be physically carrying the baby, their health is important in the process physically, mentally and spiritually.
Using the time before pregnancy to prepare your body-mind-spirit is key especially if you encounter infertility. The mental stress these situations cause can easily impact your health overall. Then if you choose to combine other treatments to try to overcome infertility you can further introduce stress to your body and health.
I recommend looking at getting real about stress. Too often we discount stress as normal adult living but in reality it is destroying our health and mental outlook. This may mean setting boundaries, changing jobs, getting financial structure among other things. Regardless of pregnancy or not you will never regret having less stress in your life.
It is also important for you and your spouse to avoid toxins, plastics and electromagnetics. These interfere with our health and can increase the risk of infertility. Plastics include plastic food containers, water bottles and other common every day plasticware. Our environment of our body and what externally surrounds us is important to have clean and toxin free. The same goes for our mental and spiritual health. Reducing things that introduce stress, create depressed feelings, anxiety and other negative outlooks can impact our health.
For nutrients, zinc, folate, multi-vitamins and a healthy diet will become your best friend before, during and after infertility. Please avoid folic acid, processed foods and trans fats. Increasing your movement and rest will also be cornerstone help.
One of the things couple often experience is pressure in the pregnancy game. Whether self-imposed or from family and friends, there is this expectation that every couple should have a baby. It’s just how things are supposed to go right? We can apply a lot of pressure to ourselves as a result of this desire to follow the expectations of creating a family.
It can help to have a conversation with those closest to you regarding what you need in terms of emotional support during this time. Explaining what’s going on or not is your decision but if the talk continual is centered on when you are going to have a baby, then it may be time for a talk.
I remember going through infertility at the same time as a friend in yoga class was. Within a few months she was pregnant and understandably very excited. We were still struggling after miscarriage. When it came to her baby shower, she reached out and asked if I would want to come. She said she understood what I was going through and completely wanted to be supportive to me knowing the raw feelings that can come up. That meant more to me than anything that had happened at that time. She didn’t intentionally not invite me or talk to others about our situation, she reached out to me directly.
Having people who understand what you are going through is helpful. If your current friends and family can’t relate check out community groups and online forums. I promise there is someone exactly where you are right now. Having that person to connect with when you need to talk or just have some sanity and reassurance is priceless.
What Happens When Infertility is More than Temporary
If happens more than you know. The number of couples who do not have a baby. Many will tell you they chose not to have children and this can be true but I have found too it is what people end up saying when they cannot.
A lot of people will immediately suggest adoption. It is a beautiful gift and definitely a way to introduce a child to your family however it is not for everyone. There is a lot of stigma around adoption and most of it is bologna. Choosing to pursue adoption should be purely personal decision and a thorough understanding of your own feelings about it.
For my husband and I we eventually turned to foster care adoption where we found our then 2 year old son. No he was not the freshly born baby but he had already spent the bulk of his 2 years in foster care. He was born addicted and long term problems could come up in his health and well-being as a result. He also had some initial problems with balance and speech. Most importantly, he didn’t have that nurturing family that most children start out life having. There was no question in our hearts about him and we’ve loved him every day since.
Making the choice to adopt is not easy. The process of adoption is also not easy. Private adoption can cost thousands of dollars. Foster care adoption is free. There is no right or wrong answer.
By the time you reach this point though I will tell you from personal experience you have to let your emotions and body heal from infertility some first. You have understand adoption is its own journey different from infertility but no less emotional and exhausting. Get yourself in a good place mentally, physically and spiritually just like you would in preparing to become pregnant.
If you decide adoption is not for you then still heal from infertility. Once that healing is in place, make a plan for your future. What do you want to do together? How will you fulfill you idea of family? What does that look like for you? These are not easy questions to answer and take time to find the right answer for you and your spouse.
For some it is taking adventures around the world, helping others in some form of service, adopting dogs and cats, getting involved in other interests and more. Whatever you choose, let it be an adventure that fills your heart and soul. I caution you on becoming so busy you hide your emotions of infertility which is why I recommend giving yourself time to heal first.
Natural Health Care for Infertility
Working with a natural health practitioner can be helpful in preparing and/or recovering from infertility. Not only do we address the physical but the mind and spirit needs as well through natural foundations of health. These services and products can work in partnership with other health care treatments you choose to include.
To work with me, please schedule your Holistic Health Consultation at dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online