I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post. See more details here.
Don’t worry, I’ll spare the details. I’m sure you all know the mechanics of getting pregnant. 😉
But if you have been reading How We Flourish for awhile, you are also likely away that I struggled with my fertility for a long time. I went off the pill in April 2013, but my period did not return for 6 months. I tried so many different remedies and protocols to heal my body, but nothing. Although my cycles had returned, a whole year after going off the pill, I still felt broken.
I won’t go into details, but I should have gotten pregnant on my honeymoon in June 2014. We made a mistake and although a pregnancy would have been devastating at the time, I still mourned the arrival of my period because it meant that after 14 months I still hadn’t recovered my fertility.
I went on AIP, I did a Fix Your Period course (which I highly recommend; I learned a lot), I went through an extensive protocol with a health coach to heal my hormones, I went on GAPS. I actually did heal my thyroid through this process, which was incredibly exciting. But my cycles were still unpredictable. I was healing my gut and my thyroid. Why couldn’t I heal the rest of my hormones? They were coming back as slightly low on my tests – all of them; I didn’t have the estrogen dominance that is common after going off the pill. I believe I have the cleansing elimination diet I went on shortly after to thank for that.
But what was going on? Why did my cycles return and appear normal when I was highly stressed, binge eating cookies, and generally feeling physically terrible? Why did they disappear or become erratic when I was taking care of myself, eating well, and feeling great in every other way? Would getting pregnant when the time came and carrying a healthy child be just as difficult?
Spoiler alert: YES!
Through this process, my Natural Family Planning charts were invaluable. While they could be a source of stress at times, mocking my erratic cycles, they did help me pick up patterns in my lifestyle. It didn’t always make sense, but over the years I put a few pieces together.
I can’t tell you for sure what the magic thing was that let my body become pregnant. To be honest, my cycles were still in a bad place when we did succeed. But it has become very important to me to share my NFP charts. In my first year off the pill, I shared a lot about my journey to hormone balance. But life and other focuses have drawn me away from sharing this part of my struggle that so many people deal with. Now I want to delve deeply into my own experience, share what I’ve tried and how it affected things.
It is not pretty or easy. There are no quick answers, which is hard to hear in the time of “take a pill, it’ll be fine” or “go paleo – my hormones completely balanced within a month.”
In this time of processed foods, synthetic products, and artificial hormones, our delicate natural hormones are constantly in battle to do their job. And when we treat ourselves in a way that makes our hormones question if it is safe to reproduce, the struggle moves even deeper.
Not all women have these problems, and that is wonderful for them. It is very hard not to feel jealous at times. Some of us are more sensitive, or have reproductive issues running in our family. Or both! Then it is not so easy a fix. We feel like we are doing everything right, everything the books and blogs say. We’ve tried it all and nothing has helped. At the doctor everything comes up normal. And it is heartbreaking to feel that helpless.
I have been on this journey for over 3 years, sometimes working harder than others. Sometimes I was patient with my body, and sometimes I wanted to throw a tantrum. All I wanted was a normal, healthy cycle.
By sharing my charts with you, one cycle each week, I hope that those of you who are also suffering in silence will no longer feel alone. Again, I cannot promise answers, as I still seek them myself. But for every cycle I will analyze the basic cycle (for those curious about how NFP and FAM work in practice with irregular cycles) and how anything I was doing at the time may have affected them. When I get through to the cycle where I got pregnant, I will continue by sharing my postpartum charts to see how pregnancy and breastfeeding have changed things.
I would love to hear from you, today and along the way. To hear your story and to hear if these posts are helping you in any way. I start my sharing on Monday. (Update: Read about Cycle 1 here)
Like what you see? Please support this blog and help me keep it running by signing up for my newsletter, purchasing products, or donating through the links below:
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. The information contained in this post is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For more information, click here.