The Diet and Hope
So, we’re officially on “the diet.”
Yep, you read that right; WE are on the diet. Together.
I don’t know how closely Mi.Vida is following it when he is away from home, and that’s okay. I’m just thrilled he’s willing to do it when we’re at home together.
It’s been almost two weeks for me, though the first week I was easing myself into it and not following it very closely. So far it hasn’t been too bad. I’m still in the 2-3 week stint during which craving can be expected. And they are expected. And they happen. But not too frequently.
Mostly I crave the simplicity of not being on it. I crave how easy it is to eat the rest of Isa’s bunny Mac n’ Cheese to tide me over until our late dinners. I miss, when I forget to bring much food to work, forging in the staff lounge for something yummy (or at least edible). I miss being able to partake in community snacks like bagels and cream cheese. And I miss the bagels and cream cheese themselves quite a bit.
I keep telling myself that this is not forever. I am lucky enough not to suffer (that I know of) from any food sensitivities so I can some day go back to smearing cream cheese all over an Asiago bagel and stuffing it into my mouth with nary a care. That is definitely a comfort.
I also miss ordering in. I miss burritos and cheap pizza when no one feels like cooking, or cleaning up. I miss the convenience a lot.
But I want to be doing this. I REALLY want to be doing this. Because the thing is, I actually do think this will help us get pregnant.
I’m sure most of you are rolling your eyes right now; after all, infertility is a disease, it can’t be fixed by what you eat. And that’s true, for many people. But, the truth is, there are many diseases that can be helped with changes in diet. And I believe that OUR* infertility can be helped in this way too.
I’m a BIG believer in traditional Chinese medicine. I absolutely believe it can help SOME* people get pregnant. I even believe it could be the determining factor in SOME* people getting pregnant. And I believe I could be one of those people.
Do I believe this because it gives me hope? Because it gives me some control? Maybe. Probably. Most definitely. But I also believe it because of what I’ve read, what I’ve been told, and what I understand about the human body and how it works.
One of the most common responses from friends and family about our recent test results, especially my recent test results, is an incredulous, But how did you have your daughter?
And my response? Damned if I know.
Except maybe I do.
There are only two important differences between our TTC attempts three years ago and today. The first is glaringly obvious: THREE YEARS. The second is less obvious: The whole year were trying the first time I was going to acupuncture, taking herbs and following a TCM diet. I did all that to ward off the amenorrhea from returning. And it did that. But maybe it was also doing something else.
Now I am the first to admit that it could be the three years, but at 32.5 there is a chance that my age is not the determining factor here. Those three years did not push me to advanced maternal age, or past that into my 40s. My low AMH indicates how many eggs I have, not their quality. I’m still in my early thirties. My eggs are still in their early thirties, (even though their numbers are in their mid-forties). Those three years shouldn’t have made THAT much of a difference. (But maybe they did and I’m prepared to accept that).
So that leaves the other difference, and that difference I can replicate. I can do those things again, at least to a point. I don’t have the money to see an acupuncturist who specializes in infertility but I can get some acupuncture and take herbs. And I can follow this diet.
The other change I can effect is a mental/emotional one. I am reading Alice Domar’s Conquering Infertility and becoming rapidly convinced of the importance of mind/body work in MY* trying to get pregnant (more on this in another post). I am planning on incorporating relaxation response exercises into my life every day. This, and my diet, are now priority.
I will admit, pursuing these avenues has given me hope. I am absolutely willing to admit that this could all be a control issue, that I’m grabbing on to all of this because it gives me some semblance of control over a situation that feels completely out of my grasp. But I also feel that both of these endeavors are ultimately positive, for both my general well-being and my fertility. Is there a chance I will be even more devastated if in six month we’re still not pregnant? Possibly. But I will also know that we did ALL we could do and that if we have to pursue treatments, we will do so KNOWING in our heart of hearts, that we tried everything else we could before we did so.
It’s not about managing regret, it’s about knowing what our bodies are ultimately capable of. If we can’t achieve pregnancy when we nurse our bodies to a state of optimal health, then we know we need medical assistance and turning to interventions will be a much easier decision to make.
So we will keep eating this way, hoping against hope that it will do the trick, that at after several months of this our bodies will do what we’ve wanted them to do all along: create a baby. And if that doesn’t happen, then we’ll know more definitely what our next steps should be.
In the meantime I’m going to grasp on to hope, with a healthy dose of acceptance to go along with it. Because the only alternative is despair and right now that will only hurt my chances more.
*Please know that I am writing about my experience and our infertility and I am in no way suggesting that what we are doing would help anyone else. Infertility has many different causes and this post is not meant to be in any way prescriptive. I’m just trying to explain how I feel about our situation, I am not trying to imply that others should do the same. If my words come off that way, I apologize.