Are you stuck in the waiting game of infertility? The waiting for 12-months of trying to conceive until you can get a proper workup? The waiting to see an OB/GYN or fertility clinic? The wait for recommended tests and investigation?
I’ve been there too.
I first shared our experience with infertility during the beginning of the pandemic when our fertility treatments came to a halt. But felt Infertility Awareness Week was as good a time to share again.
Our Experience with Secondary Infertility
My husband and I have been experiencing secondary infertility. Though our first pregnancy came with some challenges (read about them here), getting pregnant was no problem. So, this has come as a surprise and a source of frustration. And since so much of my practice is focused on supporting individuals and optimizing fertility naturopathically, it felt kind of ironic.
Initially, this overlap wasn’t a problem for me. My training and clinical experience have prepared me to focus on the client. But as time passed, I wondered if it was healthy for me, emotionally, to continually confront others with the same challenges and worries I had.
Why It Is Hard to Share
Also, I wondered if I was being a little disingenuous. These clients and their partners had no idea how much I can relate to them. There are a few reasons it had taken me so long to share:
It’s vulnerable as heck! Infertility is not spoken about enough, let alone by an ND who focuses on treating it.
I’m a private person. Yes, I’m sharing here. But it doesn’t mean I want to become the “spokesperson” for secondary infertility.
Healthy boundaries. In nursing school and naturopathic college, when I learned about patient/client relationships, I was taught to maintain boundaries, to keep the interaction about them, that “it shouldn’t be about me.” It is hard to judge when sharing is helpful and relatable and when it crosses a line.
Fear of losing clients. I wondered if people would want to see an ND for fertility who “can’t” get pregnant herself.
Continuing my Mission of Supporting those with Fertility Issues
After much reflection, I’ve decided that fertility should continue to be a central part of my practice. I believe some people would want to see me because I can relate to the emotional roller-coaster of the process.
Along with empathy, I have a lot of knowledge to share on naturopathic infertility support. For more than nine years, I have immersed myself in research and focused my continuing education in this area. What I’ve learned feeds my motivation and energy to continue, as do the success stories. I have successfully supported many folks with infertility. Every time a client has a positive pregnancy test, I feel joy.
I also know how overwhelming and all-consuming the infertility journey can be and my passion is not only helping folks to increase their chances of conceiving but to do it without losing their sense of self and some joy throughout the process.
And while infertility is the through-line, no two cases are the same. Each has its own unique root causes to address. We are all individuals, so treatment plans vary from person to person.
Finally, personally, I have come to a better place of acceptance of our situation. I didn’t want to hide it any longer. I didn’t want to worry if I’ll know the pharmacist who was filling my fertility medication prescription, or if I see a client in the fertility clinic waiting room.
So thank you, to the pandemic and to the community of other folks dealing with infertility, for giving me the courage to embrace vulnerability. Thank you for showing me how I can continue to serve my mission and purpose.
Make the Most of your “Wait”
If you are waiting to get back to your fertility clinic or are still on the waitlist for your first visit with the clinic or an OB/GYN, you can use your time proactively. You can improve your chances of success with IUI and IVF by working on your health, including egg and sperm quality. Research shows that good-quality embryos that successfully implant and result in pregnancy most likely result from good-quality eggs.
The good news? There are lifestyle factors and supplements to maximize and improve your egg quality. Plus, there is a crucial window in which we should act, as it takes approximately three months for an immature egg to mature and be ready for ovulation. This is where we can make a difference.
Do you want to take back control and maximize this time as you wait for the next steps in your fertility journey? When you are ready there are two ways I can start to help: