I heard once that if a woman feels a strong desire to become pregnant it's difficult for her to let go of that hope and desire. I know for me when trying to get pregnant with our second child I was consumed by the idea. The idea of having another baby was so consuming that I almost felt outside of myself and the longer it took to get pregnant the more I was overcome by hopefulness as well as this dread that something was wrong with my body; that my body was betraying me. I thought about it constantly, I researched ways to improve fertility, when and even how to do the deed to increase the chance that we'd get pregnant. You'd hear of friends or acquaintances who just "fell pregnant" like they tripped over a stick! It felt like it would never happen again for me. So many thoughts ran through my head - I was probably too old, too fat, too active, not active enough, I should have started when I was younger, I was too stressed or high strung - I kept looking at all the negatives and blaming myself instead of seeing all the things my body and I were doing right. I was treating my body as if it were broken instead of trusting it was capable, healthy and strong.
I didn't stop to respect my body and what it was doing for me, I didn't think to trust my body or be patient with my body, trust myself and believe that I was not the problem.
For my family we wanted another biological child who I carried - but there is no wrong way to build your family, whether through adoption, surrogacy, IVF. I decided I’d try different holistic approaches to increase my fertility, and if it didn’t happen for us I’d try to move on. Here are the things that I believe helped me get pregnant a second time with our little Izzy.
Incorporate lots of greens into your diet. Dark leafy greens are chock full of folate which is not only important when you are pregnant, but it helps your eggs and with ovulation while you're trying to get pregnant.
Drink raspberry leaf tea and nettle tea. I also drank Pink Stork Fertility Tea a couple times a day.
Remove or reduce any added or refined sugars, processed foods from your diet. A lot of my research and thoughts were around balancing my hormones, which diet, exercise and stress reduction play a huge role.
OVULATION + CYCLE TRACKING
Download an app to track your cycle.
Use ovulation tests to help track when you're ovulating.
Watch for signs of ovulation within your body - vaginal discharge, tender or sore breasts, spotting or cramping.
I’ve heard recently that you can also use lunar phases to help monitor your menustration and ovulation to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. I didn’t do this, but I think it sounds amazing.
HOLISTIC + YOGA + MEDITATION
Vaginal steam - this sounds weird and I did a lot of research before doing it. I did a very simple steam with only a few basic herbs. I would highly recommend this to anyone trying to get pregnant.
Mayan abdominal massage - luckily there is a place right in my town that does this, Glow Wellness. It was a wonderful experience, so relaxing and prior to the massage I spoke with the masseuse for nearly 45 minutes about my lifestyle and goals. We talked about trying to have a baby, but she just talked with me and helped me feel calm and gave me the confidence to know that my body wasn't broken and I was doing all the right things. Obviously right now with COVID this may not be available, but there are abdominal massage techniques you can look at online and you may be able to speak with someone virtually about proper technique and timing. After my session with Glow they gave me a handout so I could continue the massage methods at home.
Exercise, practice yoga and meditate. There are some yoga poses that are beneficial to help increase blood flow to your uterus and ovaries. I went to a 2 hour restorative yoga class at Three Bridges Yoga, it was the most therapeutic experience and ironically was taught by a woman who was 8 months pregnant. At one point during savasana I had a very profound moment of release, I felt all the pressure and stress leave me and I truly heard and felt that everything was going to be ok, no matter what happened.
Let go and relax - I know this is hard to hear and kind of annoying to hear especially if you are in the middle of trying to conceive. But, just like that moment in the yoga class, I feel that your body has so much to do in the very first days and weeks of pregnancy that your body may not be open to getting pregnant if the environment is not balanced and healthy for a baby to form.
SUPPLEMENTS + VITAMINS
On top of the above I did take some vitamins for a short period, but I really attribute my diet - including the teas I drank - gentle restorative yoga, meditation and my mindset to helping me.
cod liver oil
motherwort (I’d get pills, I tried liquid and I had a lot of trouble getting it down, it was awful! Like I nearly puked every time, and had to stop)
evening primrose oil
You can google these vitamins and find the right dosage, etc. I found it helpful to consult with nutritionist and herbal healers to know more about these vitamins, rather than relying on google. Some people even get as detailed as to when in your cycle you should take each vitamin, but again I didn’t take these for very long, I maybe took them for one cycle.
Some of this stuff seems like hippie mojo, which I am really interested in, but to others it may seem whacky - so do what feels right for you. I think being relaxed and taking care of yourself are the most important things to do, whether you are trying to get pregnant or not.