Tanya Smith Acupuncturist Chinese Medicine Practitioner

First Comes Love… Then Comes Marriage… Then Comes Clomid, IUI’s, IVF?

This is a guest article from Natasha Marchand, colleague and blogger of “learning to swim in a sea of baby bumps“.

Not quite the cute little nursery rhyme we remember, is it? It’s a rhyme we would sing to our schoolyard friends that not only turned their faces red, but taught us the natural order of things: Grow up, Get Married, Have a Baby, Easy Peasy!

We grow up believing that if we play by the rules we will be rewarded in the end, that we will one day be that perfect couple in the photographs with 2.5 children. We believed our health teacher when she said “it only takes one time!” and thus took the precautions to be sure everything happened according to the rhyme. But what happens when getting pregnant is not so easy? What if month after month there is a still a big minus sign on the tiny little pee stick? What if we wasted all that money on birth control all these years?

It is hard to describe the disappointment that comes with a negative pregnancy test, especially when they start to pile up in the trash bin. There is grief, there is loss, and worst of all, there is loneliness. The sidewalks start to look like a Pregnancy Day Parade, The mailbox seems to contain an endless stream of baby shower invites, and when you finally do open up to someone about your experience, they simply say, “relax and it will happen.” It’s hard to know where to turn, who to talk to, and most of all, how to get off this ride.

For many, the first step is a referral to a fertility clinic where you begin a series of tests, ultrasounds, and cycle monitoring. Certainly this is a step that should not be overlooked, as it is a huge step, but what if there are smaller steps you could take first? Steps that could make this big step seem a little less scary, or even irrelevant? Here are a few:

Step 1: Understand your body; I’ll admit leaning about cervical mucus and waking up every morning to a thermometer is not easy, but Cycle Charting can provide you with so much information. Not only will you learn when you are most fertile, but these charts can be used to pin point problems in your cycle, making them easier to treat. Try www.fertilityfriend.com to get started.

Step 2: Visit a Naturopath or Chinese Medicine Doctor; both can help you interpret your Cycle Charts and address any concerns such as hormone imbalances and underlying illnesses. Therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal treatments may be all you need to finally see that plus sign, and they can also complement traditional medical treatments.

Step 3: Eat well! Learn the foods you can eat to support fertility. Changing a few diet and lifestyle habits can not only impact your fertility, but it can also have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Reduce refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine while following a whole food diet consisting of beans, lentils, whole grains and veggies.

Step 4: Join a support group. The feeling that you are the only one going through this can be overwhelming, why not spend some time with people who really understand what you’re going through? Support groups provide you with a safe place to express how your really feeling about the latest pregnancy announcement or unhelpful piece of advice… without being judged.

Step 5: Do Yoga. Any exercise (as long as it is not excessive) will release endorphins that aid in circulation and fertility. Yoga adds to this by incorporating poses to open the hips, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing hormones. Yoga also increases relaxation and calms an anxious mind, allowing the body to work at its best.

Well, there you have it, 5 little steps you can take before you (or while you) take that big step to the Fertility Clinic. You may even find out that these steps were exactly what you needed to reach your fertility goals. Either way, I wish you a quick journey up these stairs.

Natasha Marchand is a YTT200 level yoga teacher and the Director of Fertility and part owner of BEBO MIA. She created the Luno Mia Fertility Yoga Program and the Toronto Fertility Meet-Up Group after her own personal experience with infertility.

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