Today I am sharing and proving the link between eating disorders and gut health.
You will heal. I will help.
Today I am sharing and proving the link between eating disorders and gut health.
This week for National Infertility Awareness Week, the campaign is seeking people to flip the script. So today I am doing just that, flipping the script on infertility.
They have defined flipping the script on infertility as such:
#FlipTheScript—RESOLVE wants to change the conversation around infertility so the public, media, insurers, healthcare professionals and lawmakers understand:
- The scope of the problem and who is struggling to build a family. (hint: it’s not just older women who waited too long to start a family)
- There are many barriers for millions of people who struggle to build a family. These barriers include: lack of insurance coverage, out-of-pocket costs, faith and religion, sexual orientation, and state and federal laws.
- The impact of infertility is far reaching—it impacts family, friends, co-workers, and employers.
I wasn’t really interested in any of that. Maybe I should be since I can relate to some of those bullet points, but my heart and soul simply can’t connect to any of it. Not even a little bit.
It all stemmed after I posted this little boomerang + caption on Instagram two weeks ago:
“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.” ✨ I found this quote from “Infertility Awareness,” and while that also has touched our lives, I would never correlate the quote to the “tragedy”‘of infertility but rather the miracle of motherhood via adoption. I thought of a million things when I ran across that quote but none had to do with infertility. It’s amazing how much things can change in less than 5 years when you just don’t lose hope and faith. ????????✨ . . . . . . #Quote #quotes #infertility #infertilityawareness #fosteradopt #fosteradoption #adoptionrocks #adoption #borninmyheart #momofthree #momof3 #momofthreeunderfour #godisgood #believe #thejuggleisreal #motherhoodchronicles #chroniclesofmotherhood #motherhoodunplugged
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“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.”
I found this quote from “Infertility Awareness,” and while that also has touched our lives, I would never correlate the quote to the “tragedy”‘of infertility but rather the miracle of motherhood via adoption. I thought of a million things when I ran across that quote but none had to do with infertility. It’s amazing how much things can change in less than 5 years when you just don’t lose hope and faith.
And then yesterday during a Run Studio run, Veezy stated,
Happiness isn’t a feeling. Happiness is a choice.
Plop the tragedy of infertility in there now.
The tragedy of infertility isn’t a feeling. The tragedy of infertility is a choice.
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I know the feelings all too well. (Trust me, just writing these next few paragraphs leaves a pit in my stomach and tear-filled eyes.)
You know, those feelings when you are desperate to see two pink lines, but month-after-month only one line appears.
I know the feelings of waiting and praying, crying and feeling angry.
I also know the feelings of physical infertility pain – the physical pain of going through a cycle of IVF and having it come crashing down in the ER with multiple cysts rupturing, filling the lungs with blood.
And I know the raw feelings that come with emotional pain when every single bone in your body tells you (and I even documented it that day via THIS video), “Sorry. IVF failed. There will be no baby.”
I have many stories from those few years when infertility was what I thought I was destined to be defined by.
Looking back, it is all so clear.
We are not supposed to be defined by infertility.
Instead, we should define how infertility can, will, and does lead us to a place that was bigger and better than our wildest dreams were made of.
Ryan and I could have kept fighting my body. We could have endured more rounds of IVF, and I feel grateful that we had that choice (I realize not everyone does).
But something in me – every last cell in my body – said, “This is not the way for you.” To know me is to know that when I want something enough, I stop at nothing to get it. I am a Type A, over-achieving, at-all-costs female; for better or worse.
And yet I was a quitter when it came to pushing my body through another IVF cycle.
I quit wishing and wanting immediately after my body began physically and emotionally healing (because let me tell you – the combination was brutal).
Listen, here is the part in the blog post that can get hard for people to read and agree with me on. But you must know that I also know those feelings of your infertility advice is not needed.
RESOLVE is talking about the solution to the problem in a way that sort of creates more problems.
How can we get pregnant and have our own child if I’m “too old” to conceive? How can I birth my own baby if I can’t afford it or my sexual orientation is not right?
You might literally stay stuck on those questions and trying to find solutions forever, but your reality might be that a baby – your baby – is waiting for you (or maybe not yet born) already. Conceiving on your own naturally, via IVF or any other method that gives a matched DNA just might not be the way.
Do you want to know a super real, raw, and totally awesome truth that I love saying and remembering to thank God for as often as I can?
I would have paid a million dollars to become pregnant with a child via IVF. I also would have paid a million dollars to go through every single last drop of physical and emotional pain that failed IVF cycle produced because it was the exact amount of time we needed in order to have things match up to get our baby Samarah which then lead to Isaiah, and finally to Amiya.
And guess what the most amazing and beautiful part of that is? There are thousands of little Samarah, Isaiah and Amiya’s out there in the world waiting for you.
Yes, YOU can flip the script on infertility and build a family in the ways you have always dreamed about.
Babies can come to us in so many different ways. Naturally? Great. IVF? Fantastic? Adoption? Yes….still yours and still beautiful.
Don’t ever let your current circumstances make you feel like a victim because the longer you do and the longer it’s a “tragedy,” the longer it’s going to be until you have everything you’ve ever wanted right there with you.
Everything is beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
p.s. All of this is why you should never hire me to speak on adoption 🙂
Here it goes….why are we blaming fitness for infertility?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to have this conversation, but after reading yet another article on the topic this past weekend, I couldn’t help myself, and since infertility is part of this blog, I felt like another viewpoint should be shared.
Last week I got my female monthly friend on cycle day 28. Yes, exactly on that day. It has been this way, now, for about 6-7 years. I never skip a beat. Every single month she arrives somewhere between day 27-31, and more often than not exactly on day 28.
Now that we got that out of the way, here it goes….
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Recently, someone I respect and love dearly sent me this article, “Fitness Made Me Infertile.” She prefaced it by saying that she had gone back and forth with whether or not to share it with me. She did not want to overstep, but said that because she knows I always read both sides of all things parenting, food, fitness, etc, she wanted to share in case I was interested.
I wrote back to her, and even though I’m sure I shared far too much than she maybe cared to have me explain, it was a great exercise for me to think critically about all angles.
I began by telling her that many stories like this are starting to come out now, and I believe they started once my friend Tina bravely came out with her own story that went viral. You can read it here. Tina stopped everything cold turkey – all the running, ate all the things, and then BOOM – got one period and during that cycle she got pregnant. You can read about that here.
In a nutshell, for 9 years Tina didn’t get a period and was an elite runner. She made a lifestyle change and instantly got pregnant. So the proof was in the pudding, the results, right?
But hold on.
In another article (the one that was sent to me), the writer states, “I’ve been facing this fight for 9 months now and my battle is not yet over.” During these 9 months, she has done, “No exercise. Minimum of 2,500 calories a day. Rinse and repeat.” Ehhhh….so maybe the proof isn’t in the pudding?
Or then again, maybe it is. There is yet another side.
Finally, I stumbled across this article, “Can You Be Too Fit to Be Fertile?” In fact, I actually know (at least of) the girl, Ashley, who wrote it. In her post, she writes that she “reduced her high-intensity workouts in half, increased body fat and dietary fat intake, and became a believer in Eastern medicine.” She states, “My story is unique, because I didn’t have to give up fitness to get better. I just had to make enough lifestyle changes to put my body on the road to recovery — and in the process, I learned an entirely new, hormonally healthy way to live, which I’ll maintain moving forward, especially after welcoming my first baby boy later this year.”
So there you go. Ashley is also proof, well, kind of sort of maybe…..because did you see? She didn’t have to give up fitness altogether to get better. She made lifestyle changes, which ultimately says that perhaps maybe it wasn’t solely fitness that caused her infertility.
Three different article headlines which say (in a nutshell) fitness causes infertility.
But why are we blaming fitness for infertility?
Do you want the truth?
I loved all three articles because I can find brutal honesty, real life, and the truth sprinkled throughout the words written.
And yet, I hated all three because I felt sad for every single “fit” woman who is reading these articles and feeling shame, guilt, disgust, or any other negative emotion about herself when the truth of the matter is that it’s pretty hard to pinpoint the one thing.
I know women who are….
After I received the initial article that was sent to me, I wrote back to her stating….
I thought about all of this for quite some time when Tina Muir told me she was pregnant. It made zero sense to me (how she got pregnant so quickly) because, if you want to know the truth, for most of my life I struggled with all the things the article discussed. It’s not really a huge secret. I allude to it here and there, but the year before Ryan and I got married it hit an all-time high, and for 9 months I also lost my period. So I stopped doing so much, ate more, gained weight, had ZERO abs (especially when I was doing IVF) and even then, it didn’t matter. Like the girl in the article, I was then also diagnosed with SIBO and other things. I was my own demise. And I stayed with those awful thoughts of being my own demise for a few years until Samarah came along.
Some days I think (and have told Ryan on numerous occasions), “Maybe I should just sit around, eat all the things, and stop working out.” But for me, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t eat all the things (because of gluten), but I eat a lot, and never have forbidden foods (except for the things that don’t make me feel well) anymore.
That said, I cannot, for the life of me stop working out when it’s something I actually love, eat to support (um, hello, just ask my husband what we eat on a daily basis and most especially post-races), and get my period on a 28-30 day cycle. And oh, by the way, I’m still in TOTAL SIBO remission.
Here’s the deal, friends…..deep down, I will always believe that my past could have led to the inability to conceive. But I don’t, we don’t, and doctor’s sure as heck don’t, know that for sure. The IVF doctor I worked with never once mentioned “fitness” was my cause. In fact, to this day I work with both gut and hormonal functional medicine doctors and neither have ever alluded to “fitness” as my cause either.
Women are out there right now who don’t (yet) have their Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya happy endings and they are reading that fitness causes infertility and plagued with guilt when the whole truth of the matter is that fitness might not be the thing making them infertile. On the flip side, a lack of fitness or healthy lifestyle might also not be the thing making them infertile either.
I remember an episode of Sex and the City when shortly after Charlotte (finally) got pregnant after trying for so long, she stopped running. She was afraid that running would cause her to miscarry, so even though she loved running dearly, she stopped…..until her friends helped her understand that running was not going to be the thing that would make or break the pregnancy.
I have never forgotten that and what I want you to know is that if you are “infertile” and “fit,” but you’re engaged in healthy relationships – with yourself, your husband/partner, friends, and food (it all matters) – then you don’t have to feel like fitness is the thing. You don’t have to feel like the way you are living your life is the reason.
Now that we have our babies, it makes no sense to do anything other than live life. I am fit. I am “infertile.” But I feel happy, healthy, and blessed beyond anything my wildest dreams were made of.
Please make note: I am not in any way, shape, or form alluding to the idea that over training, under eating, and engaging in poor relationships as a whole aren’t major factors in infertility. You know if you are over training, under eating, and engaging in poor relationships, and my hope for you is that change is imminent. This post was for those of you who enjoy working out, are “fit,” but eat sanely, get a period, and have beautiful relationships with yourself, your husband/partner, friends, and food.
Unless you are “infertile,” and have gone through the entire ringer of procedures and tests, you wouldn’t know what the Blue Dye Test is.
I’ll tell you as succinctly as possible what it is. It’s a test where doctors put a thin tube through to the uterus, then have a “blue dye” flow into the fallopian tubes. During the procedure, pictures are taken as the dye passes to see if there are any problems that are contributing to the infertility issues.
I am currently reading The Lucky Few by Heather Avis (I mentioned it on Friday, and yes, you should absolutely get the book – it’s amazing!), and this past weekend she reminded me of the Blue Dye Test.
“Again, I’m sorry this happened to you. Less than 2 percent of women who have the dye test are prone to an infection of that magnitude.”
“So what does this mean for me?” Heather asked the doctor.
“Permanent damage. Inability to bear children. Nothing we can do.” (p.29)
And there it was. After struggling to get pregnant, Heather now had her definitive reason as to why she would, without a doubt, never conceive her own children.
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Upon reading her words, I told Ryan the story. I then said, “I don’t want to get pregnant. It’s not my dream anymore. But I do wish I had answers.”
And I’ve been reflecting on that for a few days now.
I keep thinking about the Blue Dye Test, and what it didn’t mean for me. My own Blue Dye Test went great. Nothing was found, no infections occurred. Another bridge crossed, and another day where “you’re healthy, you’ll get pregnant” came and went.
But yesterday, as I gathered all the Pajama Rama Jamas from May, I spent a few moments taking each and every single pair out of the bags and boxes, laying them out flat.
Guys….thank you! YOU helped me collect 142 pairs of pajamas for foster children.
I took some time to look at all of these little jamas, and I felt overwhelmed by happiness with the thoughts that 142 children would be getting pajamas.
I asked Samarah to come in the room so I could get a picture of her sitting among the jamas. (Not that I didn’t want Isaiah and Amiya to be there, too, but they would have ripped my perfect setting up. Type A, guys, Type A.)
And when she left the room, a tear fell from my eye.
God is constantly showing me the answers even though an official answer was never given.
I don’t have my own Blue Dye Test story, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I likely never will. That chapter, you know, the infertility chapter, of my book will have no definitive reason or why and there will never be a permanently closed door, as much as I want there to be one.
But what I’m learning is that just because we don’t know the reason for something doesn’t mean it never existed. There is a reason I never got pregnant, and maybe God just wanted me to focus on all the beautiful gifts He gave to me instead of the answer.
Everyone wants answers and conclusive results, but with or without them, there is so much meaning, beauty, and depth that lies ahead…..as long as you keep moving that way.
I could dwell my entire life on the “why’s,” but then I’d have much less energy for the here and now.
No one can argue that closure isn’t desired, but you don’t need to have closure (always) to find the answers.
I didn’t get closure, and yet the answers have been very clear. The first came in 2013. The second in 2015. And the third in 2016. And daily, my answers come in the form of giving back, doing what we can….even if it’s just 142 pairs of PJ’s.
And none of that would have been possible without being “infertile.”
These answers are, by far, more validation than any Blue Dye Test could have given.
p.s. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again to everyone who donated. People from all over the country sent letters, shipped packages, and sent money via gift cards and PayPal. When the social worker came yesterday to pick them up, she promised that if any stories emerged from a child who received a pair of Pajama Rama Jamas, that she would share with me so I could share with you. Many have reached out to say they didn’t get their packages to me in time. Please know that I’ll continue taking any and all PJ’s you have, and I’ll ensure the children get them. But do stay tuned as I’ll be launching another project this summer. Answers, ladies, answers. They are all right here for me to lean in, listen, and watch for….
I love, love, love that quote from This Is Us, “Take the sourest lemon life has to offer and turn it into something resembling lemonade.”
My sourest lemon has been infertility. It’s not life or death. To many, it does not even qualify under “hard things.” (1 in 8 couples struggle to build a family, according to the National Infertility Association. The CDC tells us that is 15% of couples in America.)