I have kept things relatively private during my pregnancy and beyond, but there are a few topics that I believe are important to share–the first being my history with hormonal imbalance. In our world today, many of us are out of balance. Processed food, chemicals and toxins in our environment, lack of sleep, drugs and unhealthy habits lend a hand in creating this imbalance. To remedy this, doctors are prescribing more drugs. But with rare exceptions, I don’t believe that any drug will ever truly heal your body. It takes big lifestyle changes and a whole lot of self-love.
This is my personal experience with just that.
Less than a year before I got pregnant, my doctor sat me down and told me that I’d probably never be able to have kids. She said that if I did happen to become pregnant, the chances of miscarriage were high. Then–and I’ll never forget this–she told me that I “better find a husband who will be okay with that.” Needless to say, I left her office in tears, with no desire to ever see her again. To be honest, marriage was never in my “life plan”– much less kids. But it was heartbreaking to have that choice taken away from me.
I had initially scheduled the appointment because I was desperate for answers. Ever since removing my hormonal birth control, my period was irregular, my skin was a mess, and my mood constantly fluctuated to the point where I didn’t even feel like myself. I was so out of sorts that I self-diagnosed myself with Borderline Personality Disorder. Seriously, I fit nearly all of the criteria. (Now I’m fully convinced of the connection between hormonal imbalance and mental illness. But I’ll save that for another post.)
Sure enough, the test results and an ultrasound confirmed that I had a hormonal imbalance that could be characterized as PCOS–Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. As to the cause, my guess is years of hormonal birth control and disordered eating. The birth control had been keeping my PCOS symptoms at bay, but the underlying imbalance had probably been there all along.
So when I got home from that appointment, I immediately started researching and drafting a plan to get my body back into balance. As usual, I avoided Western medicine in search of a more natural, holistic solution. It would consist of big lifestyle and dietary changes, as well as herbs and supplements. I got started in July of 2014. Instead of hormonal birth control (never again!), I opted for Natural Family Planning in order to learn my cycles and avoid pregnancy. [For those of you interested, I highly recommend the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and the Kindara app for tracking your cycles.]
After a few months on my “plan”, I finally had my first somewhat-normal cycle! I knew I had a long journey ahead of me, but this was a sign that I was headed in the right direction.
In early December during my second “normal” cycle, I started feeling uterine cramps. At first, I thought it might be a sign of my period, but the cramps only worsened and there was no sign of blood. They were unlike anything I’ve ever felt before– intense cramps that required me to stop and focus on my breath. Could it be a ruptured cyst? Ovarian or uterine cancer?
One afternoon, I was alone at a stoplight and I felt a sudden urge to call my OB-Gyn. After hearing my symptoms, the nurse asked, “Have you taken a pregnancy test?”. I froze. It had never occurred to me that I could get pregnant. Not this quickly. And to add to my internal freak-out, I couldn’t even afford a pregnancy test. So I drove to a sketchy side of town, where they offer free pregnancy tests, and it was there that I first heard the words, “You’re pregnant.”
After coming to terms with my surprise pregnancy, I focused all of my energy on loving and nurturing my unborn child. I kept up my routine and added a whole food prenatal, vitamin c and vitamin e. But no matter how healthy I felt, for months there was a voice in my head telling me that I would miscarry. In fact, I didn’t even bother thinking about life with a baby, because I had assumed miscarriage as an inevitability.
But as you know, that miscarriage never happened.
I grew Elan in my womb for a little over 37 weeks. I felt his kicks and hiccups. I meditated with both hands on my belly, consciously sending him love. We were two souls in one body, and now I wake up beside him every morning. He is living proof that our bodies have an incredible ability to heal if we give them the right tools.
I am writing this at almost 7 months postpartum. I don’t know the exact state of my hormones, but I know that I feel good. My mood is stable, my skin is getting better everyday, and I am no longer struggling with fatigue. I am breastfeeding Elan with no issues, and my body bounced back to pre-pregnancy weight rather quickly. Correcting my hormonal imbalance changed my life. It not only gave me the gift of my sweet little boy, but it gave me my emotional and physical well-being back.
For those of you interested in the details of my plan, check out this post.