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When my husband Jonathan and I got married, we couldn’t wait to start our family but after many months of trying, our excitement gave way to anxiety. When more months passed our anxiety gave way to depression. So we started e filling our calendar with diagnostic tests, acupuncture sessions, appointments for intrauterine insemination, and, finally, in-vitro fertilization.

And still…nothing.

Technology and medication began failing my body and making me sick, so after a ton of research we tried something different: natural embryo transfers (i.e. no medication) coupled with a diet of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and superfoods. I even made my own nutrition bars to ensure I was getting all of the right nutrients that I needed.

And after all the failed cycles, I finally saw the second line on a pregnancy test. Unfortunately  this first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. I was devastated—but somehow still hopeful that all of my lifestyle changes were moving us in the right direction.

Newly encouraged, I doubled down my efforts and had a really big realization –  I had to start mothering myself before I could mother my child. So I began taking long walks. I hit the mat for some yoga and I practiced guided meditation daily. I continued eating healthy and I stopped treating fertility like a big secret, talking—to friends, specialists, and anyone that would listen.

I had to start mothering myself before I could mother my child.

When I did a third cycle of IVF, I got pregnant again—and this time, went on to have a healthy pregnancy. Just a few days ago, on April 18th, our twin boys were born. From the second that I held them in my arms, I knew they were worth it.

All of it.

I know all of the technology available to help women conceive is amazing – but I think we are missing out on something really important when it comes to fertility – balance. My body and mind weren’t receptive to anything until I brought them into harmony.

For me, it meant shifting my diet: getting as many nutrients from real food as possible and letting my prenatal vitamin be a true supplement. It meant filling up on more plant-based protein than animal-based protein and choosing complex carbohydrates like whole grains that kept my blood sugar and insulin levels stable. It meant eating more Omega-3s and avoiding toxic trans fats, switching to full fat dairy, and believing in the power of moderation.

Balance meant shifting my exercise regimen from high-intensity strength training to more gentle routines like yoga and walking. Balance meant treating myself with more compassion and kindness. And finally, balance meant opening up, sharing, and receiving love and support from a wonderful community of women.

What I learned throughout all of this is that no matter how often I tracked my ovulation, went to acupuncture or had a medical procedure, my body wasn’t in sync until I started treating it like a friend that I wanted to take care of, not a friend I wanted to fix.

I think it’s important that women feel empowered throughout their fertility journey and that they start nurturing themselves from the inside out. There’s a lot of power in knowing that many tools for preparing to conceive can be found right in the local grocery store and because one in eight couples struggle to conceive, it’s quite possible that there’s also support for you right in your community.

I was empowered—embracing the F-word, no stigma and I still am. I think it’s time that we  open up the conversation about what it feels like to be a woman trying to get pregnant, and how a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can support us through it.

FertileGirl is a pre-pregnancy nutrition company committed to changing the fertility conversation. We’re here to lend a shoulder and an ear, to empower women, and to help them make healthy choices. Visit our site fertilegirl.com to hear our journey and share yours, ask questions to our fertility and nutrition experts, and shop our superfood nutrition bars.

Are you preparing to conceive, pregnant, or new to motherhood?

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