This is a guest post by Anna from To Make a Mommy.
We hadn’t really thought much about how we would parent when we got married. All we knew was that we wanted to parent. The night after our wedding I stopped taking the Pill and we started trying for baby; both of us excited about the next adventure in our lives together.
Little did we know that it would take over two years of miscarriages and chemical pregnancies before we would find our miracle. Along the way I was diagnosed with “infertility” – High FSH, Low AMH, endometriosis, MTHFR mutation, and diminished ovarian reserve. The doctors said our only option was IVF with donor eggs- my eggs weren’t even an option.
Well, I’m a bit crunchy and I was passionate about getting pregnant the old fashioned way, so I decided not to listen to the doctors. I decided to try and heal myself naturally, so I sought out other experts, including acupuncturists, naturopaths, energy healers, dietitians, and other fertility specialists. I read every book available on the market, and every blog on the subject. In the end, we dramatically changed our lifestyles – eliminating toxins, eating a clean, organic, whole foods diet, and practicing self-care through regular mind-body routines. After doing all of this I was pregnant (naturally!) in two months, and we now have a beautiful miracle that is almost two years old.
Here’s the magic of this story – we learned so much about how to live healthy, happy lives while TRYING for baby, that it completely changed the way we are RAISING baby. I truly believe that for us “infertility” was a blessing – leading us to a new toxin-free lifestyle with a clean whole foods diet, and a loving, gentle, attachment parenting style.
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Four Ways Infertility Made Us Better Parents
We live as close to a toxin-free lifestyle as possible
When researching infertility, we were shocked at how many normal household products and personal care items were loaded with fertility-reducing toxins like BPA, phthalates, and parabens. We overhauled our house and personal care items to be all non-toxic, we filter our water of toxins, and we try to avoid plastics and other harmful materials whenever we can.
It was only once I was pregnant that we realized the same toxins that are bad for fertility are also bad for developing fetuses, babies, and little children! By making our house free of fertility-harming toxins, we were also cleaning our house to be a safe space for children to grow up with damaging chemicals.
We eat a clean, whole foods, organic diet
Infertility completely changed the way we shop for groceries, cook, and eat. We are now crazy, cooking, foodie, fools who love all things organic and healthy. We don’t buy processed food, we rarely eat out, and we love cooking organic vegetables, meats, beans, and whole grains from scratch. We did baby-led weaning with these clean, whole foods, and now we have a toddler who adores foods like lentils, brussels sprouts, curries, and organic bone broth.
We are committed to gentle, loving, 24/7 evidence-based parenting
I knew from my fertility experience that well-meaning relatives, friends, and even doctors (yes, doctors!) could be completely wrong in their advice. So when it came to pregnancy, birth, and baby-raising we do our own research, we listen to our own instincts (they haven’t failed us yet) and we don’t get swayed by the “crowd”.
We came up with a beautiful natural birth plan that was evidence based and best for baby. After having great success with hypnotherapy for fertility, we used hypnobirthing for an incredible natural birthing experience. We used the great website Evidence Based Birth to make sure we made good decisions about after birth care, like avoiding eye ointment and delayed cord clamping.
We read up on breastfeeding and made sure to do ALL the things to be successful in the weeks and months after birth. Our little one had unfettered access to my breast for months, and we didn’t start solids until after six months. We are still breastfeeding strong at 22 months and I know it has nourished his immune system and provided him with a strong start in life!
We researched different sleeping arrangements and saw that the evidence really shows that co-sleeping is best for babies if done safely. We love co-sleeping with our little miracle, and he loves snuggling next to us at night. We were happy to make sure we were safe- no drugs, no drinking, no fluffy pillows, etc., and we all got a good night sleep from early on. We are so glad we did our own research and decided on the family bed.
We practiced extended skin-to-skin after birth, and then transitioned to babywearing. We are still babywearing our 22 month old! Even though some might say to just stick him in the stroller and let him cry until he is used to it, we know that baby-carrying is the best for our family right now. We were lucky enough to go on a vacation to Paris recently and we used our Tula Baby all over the city!
We always respond to his needs 24/7. We’ve read the research and we know how important it is developmentally to respond to a baby’s cries. We also now that our instincts tell us to comfort and soothe a crying baby. We have always believed that is our job to be parents at all hours of the day and night, even if that means we are tired in the morning. Our baby, and now toddler, has no doubt that momma and dadda are here for him, any time of day or night, no matter what is wrong.
We appreciate every single minute of it
I’m not saying that people who don’t have infertility don’t appreciate it, and I’m not saying the people who do struggle with infertility but chose to let their babies “cry it out” don’t appreciate it. I’m just saying that when you work very very hard to have a baby, and you aren’t sure if you will be able to, that you find you have almost limitless patience once your miracle arrives.
I would rather be up at 3 in the morning snuggling and nursing a sick baby or toddler than not. We adore morning wake-up snuggles in bed together. My husband and I spend a great deal of time just watching him play and talking about how wonderful he is. We truly delight in him, and enjoy every day we have together.
Anna – Blogger at To Make a Mommy
Anna beat the odds and got pregnant naturally after the doctors said it wasn’t possible. She blogs about how she did it and encourages her readers to empower themselves and take charge of their fertility journey. She is passionate about clean, green, healthy living for fertility and shares tips on how to eliminate fertility-harming toxins from your lifestyle, eat a clean, organic, whole-foods diet, and develop a daily mind-body practice for fertility.