Combating infertility the natural way

I was convinced I was pregnant again. There was bloating, moodiness, exhaustion, cravings, cramping and I was over a week late. Nervous and excited, I rushed off to the local pharmacy for a couple of home pregnancy tests. But all I got was a bunch of Big Fat Negatives.

The following month my period came even later, and even later the month after that. Six or seven months the line I was frustrated and confused. But I put it all down to my post-baby body.

Then one day I was marking off my latest period on my calendar and realised that I was now averaging a 50 day cycle. I didn’t think too much of it, but it was rather frustrating to be that late every month. It prompted me to make an appointment for my annual gynae check-up.

I have what?!

I told my doctor about my erratic cycle and all the pregnancy-like symptoms. I also mentioned that I was really battling with my weight. In the past it had never been a problem but now I seemed to be gaining weight non-stop.

When it was time to step onto the scale it revealed that I had gained 12kg since my last appointment.

He nodded thoughtfully and ushered me to the ultrasound machine. My doctor looked at the screen, pointed out my ovaries and said “Hmmm. There are quite a few cysts here. I could do further tests to confirm PCOS but all the symptoms are there. The cysts are also quite clustered so it would just be a formality.”

I just stared at him blankly and he tried to explain that PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance. I had no idea what it all meant or what he was talking about. The word infertility came up though and that’s where my mind got stuck.

It was a lot to take in. I couldn’t understand how I could be infertile after falling pregnant so easily with my son. I listened, nodded and left. I just wanted to get away and process it in my own way.

Thank goodness for Google! The first thing I did was search ‘PCOS’ and ‘polycystic ovaries’. I discovered an entire community of women with the same diagnoses.

I’m not alone

I read about all the women who were actively trying to fall pregnant and was moved by their determination and the lengths that they were going through to fall pregnant.

I felt so blessed that I already had my little angel. I couldn’t help but feel sad at the possibility that he may never have a sibling though. It was all very overwhelming .

I took a look at my life and came to a conclusion. I realised this probably happened for a reason. Maybe it was time to regain control of my life and put my health first.

Taking a stand

I decided to not focus on my infertility. Instead I would focus on a health and wellness overhaul. 

A few days later a colleague sent out an email about The Nutren Activ Adventure Boot Camp Challenge.

It was an opportunity to change my life with the help of a dietician, a life coach and regular exercise. I took it as a sign that I simply had to enter and I ended up being chosen as one of the 3 final contestants.

Months after implementing the healthy changes I’ve noticed a major decrease in my PCOS symptoms. The cravings, mood swings and even the sharp pain in my ovaries have all subsided. Plus I’ve lost 8kg since my visit to the doctor.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is my cycle. Unfortunately it’s still long and erratic so it’s hard not to assume that the cysts are still there and that I’m probably still infertile. But I am still focused on staying positive and just becoming as fit and healthy as I can.

I have scheduled my follow up appointment with my gynae for the same week that the Challenge ends. If I continue with my current weight loss pattern I should be at least 10kg down by then so hopefully it will have made a difference. And if it hasn’t, then I will just take it in my stride when I get there.

Now that I am reaping the benefits of a healthy lifestyle it’s made me realise the importance of health and wellness - regardless of circumstance. Whether I have another baby or not I still want to be a fit, strong woman, wife and mother.

It’s this overall goal of vitality and longevity that keeps me motivated every day.

Are you battling with infertility? Share your story with us in the comment box below.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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