One Couple's Triumph Over an Infertility Diagnosis

by: Sara on 09/25/2014

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Statistics like these suggest that healthy babies don't just happen - the health and lifestyle of the prospective parents is a crucial factor in promoting fertility and ensuring a successful pregnancy.

Today's blog post is from Dawn Combs, the author of the just released book Conceiving Healthy Babies, An Herbal Guide to Support Preconception, Pregnancy and Lactation. Dawn shares how, through the use of whole foods, whole plants and other natural methods and strategies, she was able to triumph over a devastating infertility diagnosis. She and her husband are now the proud parents of two healthy children.

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Writing a book about one of the toughest parts of your life isn’t for everyone. Looking back now, I struggled through infertility for less time than it took to get a book about it on the shelf. The most rewarding aspect of it has been walking back through the emotional pain, anxiety and stress that comes along with this type of healthcare issue. I’d like to think that it has steeled me for what may come, but there are always new challenges.

What I can say without a doubt is that what my husband and I did to get our children has made us stronger. The book that I wrote is as raw and as honest as I could be about where I went wrong, how we ultimately triumphed and what we have to share with others. I believe the reflection that I did while writing is perhaps yet another lesson I’d like to share.

When I started writing, the struggle we had with nursing was still fresh in my mind. I did not have much perspective there and I was still very much caught up in a narrative of blame and self-recrimination. I was too close to the story. On a conscious level I was able to give myself credit for how hard we worked to ensure that our kids got whatever breast milk I could produce. I was able to recognize that we had gone above and beyond by making our own formula to fill in where I didn’t have enough. On a subconscious level my body was reeling from a perception of failure- failure as a woman and failure as a mother.

If you battle through infertility, chances are that you will often struggle with low milk supply as well.

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We are told from well meaning folks in our lives that “it happens”, that we’ve done the best we can do. In both instances I ironically heard that “it will happen if you just stop thinking about it.” When your body isn’t balanced and it’s not doing something as basic as creating and feeding your child, you find you can focus on little else. So we put on a brave face, stay positive in front of our family and friends and soldier on. In both cases, this action is one of the most damaging to our goals. It encourages us to shove our feelings down and act as though they aren’t there.

Writing the book helped me to face up to the fact that I was really angry. I was angry at my body for betraying me in such a basic way. I was angry at myself for making lifestyle and food choices that had failed my body. In order to share my story and make it meaningful and helpful to someone else I had to bring everything out into the light and look at it with new eyes. Writing a book is often equated with having a child.

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This is a very apt description. The more I wrote, the more I realized how my feelings could easily get in the way of producing this work in just the same way as emotions can force our body into dysfunction and prevent conception or lactation.

I am terribly excited to share our family’s story with the world. I hope my vulnerability lends hope and strength to couples who wish to trust themselves and their bodies again or perhaps for the first time. More than that, I am excited that the information in the herbal can grow with a couple as they move from preconception through pregnancy and into lactation.

The herbs that are available for balanced health need to be approached with respect rather than fear. To that end I have provided not just a blanket suggestion to avoid problematic herbs, but the reasons why they pose an issue. Each couple must know their own bodies and minds and have all the information they need close at hand to make their best decisions.

 

 

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