Struggling To Conceive

Struggling To Conceive

Our fertility struggles are not something I post about often. I was told it was unlikely I would be able to conceive naturally, and fertility treatments/IVF weren’t necessarily an option (it’s a postcode thing). I did manage, though it took years of trying for both our boys and the journey was not without our disappointments and heartbreaks. Struggling to conceive is a difficult time for both of you and it is ok to be disappointed, hurt and even jealous of others. It is natural. 

Struggling with conception can be a worrying time. It is worth mentioning that it is not uncommon for people to not fall pregnant immediately. We all hear stories about people who conceive in the first month of trying however it is important to remember that this is rare and not considered the norm, especially for those coming off contraceptive pills etc. Your first port of call after a year of trying or if you have worries would be your GP who can refer you to a specialist if they feel it is necessary.

If you, your partner or you both have a fertility issue, there are a range of options you could look at in order to achieve that much-awaited positive pregnancy test. 

Struggling to Conceive? Consider Your Physical Health

Of course, it would be just plain wrong to suggest that living healthily will instantly solve your problems, but sometimes, it can have a big effect, to the point where it’s worth trying. Get more exercise, more sleep, and eat a highly nutritious diet. There might be a chance that with this effort your chances of fertility could rise. However, over-exercise and being underweight has also been associated (but not fully linked) with lower fertility rates, so be sure you’re remaining careful and truly health-focused in your efforts.

Visit A Fertility Clinic

A fertility clinic directory should help you find the best treatment or assessment to help you figure out your next step. Not only will they take into account your physical requirements, but also your emotional and spiritual needs as a couple. They will be able to analyse your personal situation and offer advice based on your individual needs. Speak to your GP about taking this next step, if it is appropriate to you.

Consider Every Option

IVF treatment, adoption, surrogacy and a range of other potential options are all worth considering. Don’t dismiss these options immediately. It might not seem that these are an ideal solution for you but do the research anyway. Who knows where your fertility journey will take you?

Take Care of Each Other

Your physical health when trying to conceive is important, as is your mental health. Struggling to conceive can cause enormous strain. I, for example, always struggled with guilt. I have the fertility issues and therefore always felt bad for being the “problem”.

It’s not always easy for the men on our lives either. Support often seems to be geared more towards the women (in our experience) however if there are two of you struggling to conceive and both wanting to have a child, two of you feel the same disappointments.  Make sure you are there for each other and look at ways to stay mentally healthy as well as physically. Counselling can go a long way towards helping with this aspect of struggling to conceive.

 

Wherever you are on your journey I wish you all the very best. I’ve not got any “off-the-shelf” platitudes because I’m pretty sure you’ve heard them all before. Be kind to yourselves and keep on asking questions and researching your options.

PCOS: The Beast That Is…

flower, pcos

Have you ever heard of PCOS? Its full name is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the best estimate is that one in five women in the UK may have it. Being the lucky lass that I am, I’m one of those women. 

Despite PCOS being more common than you might think it is not as well known or as understood as you might think. I’ve had to explain what it is to a number of healthcare providers in the past for example. This is something I live with every day and while sometimes it’s just something that ticks along in the background, sometimes it can be a pain in the backside. There is some great information on PCOS on the NHS website.

My PCOS 

PCOS affects different women differently. My particularly fun afflictions include excess weight that is incredibly difficult to shift (even though most of the time I eat like a blumming rabbit), fertility issues (more on this below), raging hormones (no, I’m not just a cowbag), oily skin and insulin issues. I’m type two diabetic and have to work very hard to control it. I’m not saying that PCOS made me diabetic, but it won’t have helped. Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome find that they are what is called insulin resistant.

Where Does it Come From

No-one really knows where PCOS comes from and why some have it and others don’t. Some women with PCOS struggle constantly with weight gain, some don’t. Some may have thinning hair, some don’t. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Some experts think that there may be a family link, however, this is far from having been proven.  Right now, it simply seems to be the luck of the draw.

Managing PCOS

From a healthcare point of view, (from our experience and many others) the main medical support you get for PCOS tends to only happen when you are having fertility issues. We were told at one point that it would be very unlikely that Roy and I would be able to have children without artificial help such as IVF. I don’t ovulate regularly. At one point I was releasing the odd egg here and there about every six months or so, and regular periods have never been something I’ve had. Sheer bloodymindedness and an ounce or three of luck gave us two sons after years of trying. The fertility team we were under were great but their hands were tied at the time by the postcode lottery that exists around IVF. Thankfully we eventually conceived successfully without that level of help.

There are numerous other ways to manage PCOS, natural supplements work for many, such as those from Nature’s Best, a healthy diet, exercise and checking in with your GP every now and then to keep an eye on blood glucose levels if this is a thing for you.  There are some fabulous online support group set-ups too. Verity is well worth looking up for those looking for better understanding and peer to peer support.

Moving Forward

Above all,  I would like to see more work go into PCOS understanding and general awareness, for women and for healthcare providers. One woman’s experience of PCOS may be very different to another’s. From hormone issues to physical issues, it really can feel like the luck of the draw. If you feel some of these symptoms match up with what you are experiencing, speak to your GP for further advice.

 

This post was sponsored by Nature’s Best to raise awareness of PCOS.

 

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