And how all the things I tried were a waste of time and money.
A lovely lady who I know via the world of Instagram shared a post a while ago that blew my tiny mind. Simply labelled, What if we reconceptualised fertility friendly food and called it … food. Crazy right? Not sure what the Fertility Wellness Industry would have to say about this. I think they’d be spluttering into their Acai Super bowls. This statement got me thinking (I know, steady.) About all the things I tried during the years that I handed over to fertility treatment (think image of folding up womb and handing over to security) I spent a lot of time trying to find the magic fix, holy grail food or super supplement that would help get me pregnant. I tried many things that promised they would work and quite simply, nothing bloody did.
Fertility problems make you desperate. You are constantly searching for answers.
I’ve tried a million things and more, including scouring the internet for success stories. Delving into the depths of Google, far beyond pages 1 and 2. I’d reach out to strangers who posted of their miracle pregnancies and rainbow babies, but none replied (they were probably trolls). I messaged one once, begging for her magical overnight oats recipe, bereft when she never answered. I’ve been upside down doing Yoga poses to make you fertile, done womb massaging, taken vast amounts of supplements – a so called Superfood, Maca I took for five years, saw zero benefit and it tastes like wet bricks. And supposedly powerful Chinese herbs, AKA aniseed-flavoured dirt, also did nothing bar make me feel sick.
I stopped all fitness on the advice of a nutritionist. Tried gluten and dairy free, high fat, low fat, no sugar, restricting and cutting out. I’ve had daily broths and soups, teas and tinctures. Bought fancy ingredients to make fertility friendly treats, that were just a big let-down. I’ve burned incense, chanted, set intentions to the universe and moon, neither of them listened. Used and worn crystals, said daily affirmations, visualised and meditated. Omm. Each time trying something different I’d look down at my body as if to say, well?
We are all so different, who knows why things weren’t working – just because something has worked for one person it’s not necessarily going to work for someone else. But in this industry sadly people tap into that desperation.
During a strange fertility reflexology experience, a tiny Chinese lady sat on me and beat my feet wearing plastic gloves. She then charged me an extra £20 to tell me I needed to drink more water. I had a rather out-of-body experience throughout, pondering if it was just me who got into these situations. On a visit to a crystal shop I foolishly mentioned my predicament to the assistant. Of course, she knew a woman who got pregnant using XYZ (most expensive) crystal, which obviously made me buy it. An Acupuncturist I saw for a year with no results, encouraged me to keep going just in case. The Consultant I saw, also with no results and my body reacting terribly to the drugs, advised me to try again! And I have paid and joined various online courses, sold by women who had been told they would never have children and of course, who had babies galore. They promised me elusive insider secrets but all failed to deliver.
Before IVF I bought the book, It Starts With The Egg. It’s a controversial, love or loathe book in many ways and it definitely made me feel like I was making positive changes. However, on the flipside, I can see that it added to my worry that I wasn’t doing enough. Throughout there was an undertone of, if you don’t do this you will fail. I self-medicated a concoction of supplements. A strong one, DHEA, gave me horrendous acne. The author has a strict no white carbs, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or processed food diet, *weeps into the biscuit tin.* The guilt I felt if I had any of these thing was immense. I followed all the advice with no idea whether anything was working or not. Although, still no baby being an obvious sign. Dur.
On the one hand, doing these things (and more) made me feel like I was doing something. But on the other, despite all this nothing bought me closer to getting pregnant again. The only thing that stopped my constant searching was ending treatment and finding my way to being me again. Actress Emma Thompson famously said that she, ‘always used to count people’s children‘. When I heard this, it made me laugh because this is what I do and always will until one day, without realising, I will stop. That will be the day I can finally say that I’ve found the magic fix.