Combining Traditional + Holistic Practices in Infertility and sharing more of what I was doing during this process!
First of all, thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for all of the love on the last couple of blog posts. It wasn’t easy keeping this journey hush hush from you guys for so long and to finally be able to talk about it feels amazing! Plus being able to relate to so many of you during our first trimesters and fertility struggles, makes me feel even more connected to you guys!
Going through our fertility journey was truly one of the hardest things I have ever been through. It is also something that you usually cannot plan for. Sure I knew that not having a regular menstrual cycle was going to impact getting pregnant, but I didn’t realize how complex it could be to get to the underlying issue and solve this.
As someone who leans more towards the eastern medicine approach, it was a bit of an adjustment for me to go into a fertility center filled with hormones, injections and drugs. I’m the type of person who doesn’t even take Advil unless I’m in rare form. You guys know I thrive off of eating organic food, lighting my palo santo each night and practicing wellness in any form that feels right for me.
You read that I did try to get pregnant using holistic practices for about a year but nothing was working on its own. I don’t regret focusing on that first as it is what I felt comfortable with. But I do strongly feel that combining the best of both worlds (eastern and western medicine) was just what my body needed. Not only one or the other, a little blend of sorts if you will.
For anyone going through infertility treatment, you know that it can be really rough on us both mentally and physically. Taking injections, going to the doctor a dozen times a month and just the mental stress it adds to our daily life is really overwhelming at times.
When I started to see Dr. Forman, I also kept up with all the other wellness practices I had been doing. I cannot say which one of these is more important than the other and I strongly feel that by practicing a bit of this and that it help me so much. I also cannot say that everyone must do each of these things in order to get pregnant. I am no doctor or professional here, but I know when I was trying to get pregnant, I was always looking for new things to try without putting my body in overboard. Something that many of us can do. It isn’t always the best idea to try everything you hear. In fact it usually isn’t a good idea at all. Adapt a few things here and there and try them out one at a time to see what works best for YOU!
Below I am going to walk you guys through what I did during my infertility journey that helped me both mentally and physically. Again, I cannot say that these practices work for everyone but I hope you can use this as a guide or to help inspire you on what feels right for you and your journey.
For any of you who have gone through infertility, please share your story over on FertilityIQ! Say “rachlmansfield” referred you and let’s help make this community even more special.
My traditional + holistic practices for infertility:
- Moderate exercise + not overdoing it
- This wasn’t too hard for me as I’m not a big high intensity exercise fan, but it is said that limiting the amount of exercise and the intensity during your infertility journey, can only benefit you. I found that taking a barre3 class, maybe a cardio class every couple weeks and yoga was fine for me. I focused on working out about 3x a week and went for low key strolls around Hoboken and the city (my favorite). Since cortisol is released in our bodies when we work out, I really wanted to do everything I could do minimize that. My body was under enough pressure with injections and this process so anything I could do to lessen my stress (good or bad stress) was just what I needed.
- Daily intake of adaptogens through brands like REBBL
- I’m not one who pops adaptogens daily via 10 different pills or supplements. I have found that to be really overwhelming for me and instead have found products that taste amazing and have adaptogens in them. My favorite adaptogenic product is REBBL (duh!). I would have one a day to help put my mind and body at ease. The Reishi Chocolate was my go-to and the protein varieties for that extra boost and nutrients, but they also have varieties like Maca Cold Brew that is said to be helpful for hormone balancing. Just like most things, everyone’s body reacts differently to each adaptogen so I recommend finding one that works best for you and sticking to it. Having REBBL also gave me extra fuel when I was constantly on the run from doctors to meetings, etc. Plus it led me to meet my friend Erica (more on that here).
- Clearing out negative energy/people + confiding in those you trust
- Everyone handles their infertility journey differently. At first I didn’t tell many people what we were going through but after over a year trying and feeling side effects from taking hormones and such, it was hard not to tell people. I didn’t feel well often, I’d cancel plans and I just felt off a lot. I only told those who I was really comfortable confiding in and who I see and talk to often. A few of my close friends and a couple family members was just enough for us. Everyone is going to have opinions and once you tell them something as personal and vulnerable as this process, it is pretty risky to hear what people say. There were definitely more supportive people in my life than not and I truly wouldn’t have made it through this without the support of my friends and my family. This did make it a bit harder though not to tell anyone when we were finally pregnant, since our journey was out in the open but I wouldn’t have had it in any other way.
- Weekly Acupuncture to ease my anxiety and stress
- You guys have heard me talk about acupuncture on the blog numerous times as well as on my IG stories when I visit Dr Lipman at Eleven Eleven Wellness. Acupuncture was truly one of the best things I did for myself and this journey. It helped relieve stress and anxiety. It allowed me to shut my brain off for an hour once a week and just breathe. I also would coordinate my visits with when I was ovulating or other parts of the fertility treatments to really maximize getting acupuncture done. I did not take any herbs during this time besides licorice root (I didn’t want to overwhelm my body). I know acupuncture can be a bit expensive weekly so even if it is twice a month, it is better than nothing. Plus I look for any reason to see Dr Lipman, who was the most excited when I told him Jord and I were pregnant!
- Eating a well-balanced diet + putting some weight on
- Some people don’t eat when they’re depressed or stressed or feeling off. I personally am the opposite of that. I tend to hide my feelings in food and take it out on some cookies than avoid food. During this process I made sure I was eating a well balanced diet (I know, that is a loaded statement). I ate tons of healthy fats, quality proteins and carbs. Think avocados, grass-fed beef (meat sticks DAILY), sweet potatoes and anything I really wanted. Cutting out foods or limiting anything wasn’t what my body needed. Feeling nourishing and supported in what I was eating felt the most right for me. I do not count macros or calories but looking back, my intake was definitely a bit more than it was before this journey. I knew that the more nutrients my body had, the better for me and my dream baby! I gained a few pounds during this process (likely from the hormones) but I knew that fueling my body was more important than fitting into the same skinny jeans from last year.
- Following the exact instructions from fertility center with no hesitation
- Raise your hand if you are stubborn and hate taking medicine (ME ME ME!). I’m not a afraid of needles or swallowing pills (TBH that fear needs to end on day one for anyone who isn’t a fan of needles) but I hate putting things in my body. Especially hormones and drugs. I knew that if I was going to do this right, I needed to listen to what Dr Forman instructed me to do and take the hormones daily, the injections at the specific time instructed and so on. Dr Forman and the nurses always explained to me what everything was that I was taking so I always felt educated on it and safe. I knew that everything that was given to me was for a reason and to make us make a BABY! This is also why finding a doctor you trust is so key.
- Taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant
- I have been taking prenatal vitamins since day one of trying to conceive. Of course I didn’t know it would be for 18 months before I really needed them but I wanted my body to have all the vitamins it needed to carry a healthy pregnancy and be ready. I use Garden of Life Once Daily Prenatals and they’re amazing. They don’t repeat on you or make you nauseous and they have everything I needed in one capsule. Even though I accidentally took them 3x a day at first, which I discovered from my neon-colored pee and called Garden of Life freaking out. So silly but it happened! Now I also take their Prenatal Probiotics, which don’t even need to be in the fridge!
- Be open minded to mediation and new + full moon ceremonies
- I started my third cycle on a new moon. This wasn’t planned and was a complete coincidence but I saw it as a sign and in fact I even did a little ceremony with a friend who was in town. I journaled all about getting pregnant, becoming a mom and finding my inner femininity. Later that night I did my first injection and look what that! It worked 🙂 Obviously this is a bit far fetched to some but I truly feel that this made a difference. I also was attending weekly mediation classes and really dedicating my energy to getting pregnant. I went to see an energy healer, Mama Medicine, and really opened myself up to new perspectives and experiences.
- Start seeing a therapist for an unbiased opinion
- I waited too long before I started seeing a therapist. Looking back I should have done this after a few months of try and once I started to feel pretty low. After the second cycle didn’t work and I had a panic attack on fifth avenue, I went and found a therapist to see. I went to Dr Lipman’s daughter, Alison Stone, at Eleven Eleven Wellness. I knew I was comfortable with Dr Lipman and the center so seeing Alison was wonderful. I do recommend doing this from the beginning though and not waiting until you break down to see someone. Talking it through with a unbiased opinion is the best!
Sending you each the love as always! Hope some of these tips help make anyone’s journey a bit better!