Food Intolerance and Infertility

That’s Amandatory: “It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.”

worth-itLet me make this ultra clear: writing this post is not easy for me. Admitting fertility issues is not easy. I feel like a failure as a person, a woman, a wife. Before you respond, let me explain.

I am at an age now where most of our friends and colleagues have had children for years.  Some of my very best friends are now grandmothers. Yes, Scott and I met later in life and true, there are reproductive challenges with age. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

When I attend an event, especially a group of ladies, I usually have to explain that we do not currently parent and that we are still trying for a child. Sometimes right after a conversation about that, someone in the group will lapse and go into a discussion on how their life was impacted because someone got pregnant and “you know, the whole world stops when you are pregnant”. No, I don’t know. (I say this without sarcasm…I really don’t.)

healthy-choicesWhen I walk through a store and see a family of 5 with another on the way; 1 kid with green stuff coming out his nose, the kids’ clothes dirty, parents with clear health issues like obesity …the first thing I do is think to myself, “Why is it so easy for them and so difficult for me? The one thing my body should be able to do easily is procreate.”

I mean, I exercise daily and eat healthy foods. I make most of my own cleaners to avoid chemicals in my home. I rarely even take anything other than water for a headache because, for me, headaches (other than migraines which are rare for me these days) usually stem from dehydration. It should be easier for me, right?

Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Allergic Living
Elisabeth Hasselbeck from Allergic Living article

Once we married, we immediately began trying to conceive. I was working out of town and only home weekends. Obviously absence doesn’t bode well for a relationship or for baby making. SO after about six months, we decided it would be best for me to be at home. I left my job and put myself to work at home integrating our lives and possessions, reorganizing, cleaning, cooking, adopting pets, growing a garden, volunteering, etc.

I proactively scheduled doc appointments to determine potential causes. Some small issues were identified and surgically removed. We made more positive dietary changes. Still nothing. Then I began finding hope in the form of articles about the connection between food issues and infertility. Articles like this one Celiac Disease: Fertility’s Thief about Elisabeth Hasselbeck (in my mind a blond version of my sweet cousin, Jane) helped me form a clearer picture.

HappyWallz Decals
HappyWallz Decals

Discovering my infertility and then understanding the connection of food intolerances and thyroid issues on fertility provided me some relief and allowed me to start to heal emotionally. If the issues had been my husband’s, would I have felt this way toward him? No. Since they were my physical issues, I was disappointed with myself. Would beating myself up solve them? Again, no.

quote-good-advice-aliceI remember talking with a girlfriend in Austin, we’ll call her Cooper.  As she listened to me talk about my personal experience, upset with myself she said, “Stop beating up on my friend, Amanda.”  I have thought of that conversation too many times to count. Her kindness to me and request for me to be kind to myself is forever ingrained in my life. I have shared this story and sentiment with many others and request that, when appropriate, you do, too. How I wish I had taken all the same great advice I have given. But as the saying goes, “It’s easier to give than to receive.”

For me, life is about learning and becoming. Our ideas, experiences, and choices allow us to be who we are now and where we are now. Once we can BE, we can continue choose our current circumstances or create new ones in which we are fulfilled. Perhaps my life, although currently without children of my own, is creating the space and time for me to share my story of discovering infertility. I’m sharing this because I feel called to embrace this challenge and provide my experience as a springboard for others. If even one person benefits from this, it will be worth it for me.

Have you faced similar issues? Completely different ones with similar outcomes? How do you overcome life’s obstacles?

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