Infertility – Letting Go Of The Shame

A trip to the mall.  A stop at the grocery store.  A dinner out.  Simple, every day tasks.

Unless you struggle with infertility.

Then these “simple” activities can turn into painful and challenging events.  And sometimes even make you feel shameful.

I’m not just saying this as someone who has heard a lot about infertility or has friends that have dealt with it.

photo credit: morefertile.com

photo credit: morefertile.com

I’ve been thereReally been there.  I’ve had to say no to invites from friends that were expecting because I just couldn’t be around them.  I’ve had to try to put a smile on my face while listening to someone talk about how they were upset that they found out they got pregnant again without trying.  I’ve had to excuse myself from conversations about how overjoyed someone is to be done having kids.

In addition to the hurt I’ve also felt the shame.  The shame of being different and feeling like I don’t fit in.  The shame of having a body that doesn’t work right.  The shame of not feeling like a true woman.

But there is one more aspect of my struggle with infertility that has made me feel the most shame.  The path I chose to deal with it.

In 2006 I had my first appointment with my endocrinologist.  It led me down a path of a variety of fertility drugs and treatments.  After various attempts and a diagnosis of both male and female factor infertility, my husband and I proceeded with in-vitro fertilization.

We were very blessed that I got pregnant on the first try.  And now I have a beautiful, smart, creative little girl who just turned 5.

But the journey was far from over.  In early 2010 I was first starting to learn about real food and natural health…while in the midst of trying for another child.  I had already been through two failed attempts via IVF.  And was in the middle of a third.

As I learned more and more about real food I became more and more hopeful.  Maybe I could heal my body and restore my fertility without all of the medications and procedures.  Maybe.

photo credit: powerhealths.com

photo credit: powerhealths.com

I went on to do 3 more IVF transfers.  And after a lot of heart-break and physical endurance I now have a wonderful son who is just about to turn 2.

I was overjoyed when I got to this point.  I was opening up and sharing my story in hopes of giving others hope.  But I didn’t expect what came from sharing my story…more shame.

In the world of real food and natural health, saying that you conceived via IVF is kind of like saying you feed your kids fast food and candy bars every day for lunch.  I got some nasty remarks and questions.  How could I promote a natural lifestyle and support “unnatural” fertility treatments at the same time?

I’ve thought and prayed about it a lot.  I’ve felt the shame…and I’ve let go of the shame.

Although I fully support natural means of improving fertility and health,  I also know that this was my path.  I started my journey with infertility before I even knew what real food was.  I’ve also learned that real food doesn’t always work.  It really can help most of the time.  But sometimes no matter how hard you try there are things that you can’t change.

No matter how many raw egg yolks and plates of liver I eat, no matter how much raw milk I drink, no matter how many detox baths I take, no matter how many supplements or vitamins or herbs I take, no matter how much yoga I do or how much sleep I get…my fertility status will not likely change.

I have a condition called polyfollicular ovaries.  And to this day I’ve never heard of any real food remedy for it.  I’ve never found any research that explains what causes this or how to treat it (aside from working around it with IVF).  I don’t know what hormones control it.  The only solution I know of is time…some day when my egg supply diminishes my body will hopefully work normally.  It could be tomorrow.  It could be when I’m 45.

But I still deserve to be a mother.  God created my children and gave them to me.  Not a doctor.  Not a pill.

I don’t know what is going on inside my body.  But I do know that I don’t have to be ashamed.  This is the way God made me.  I didn’t cause this.  I’m not eating the wrong food.  I’m not lacking in effort to give my body the nourishment it needs.  I am fully supportive of natural fertility, health and healing.  I strive each day to keep my own family healthy.

But I also know that sometimes things don’t go the way we would like.  And sometimes we have to let go of our ideal situation.

If you’ve struggled with infertility please don’t be ashamed.  You are still just as complete and worthy as any other woman.  No matter what road you’ve been down know that you are right where you need to be.  Be kind to yourself.  Accept yourself.  Let go of the shame.

This is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Get informed.  Be aware.  Never be ashamed or make anyone else feel ashamed.

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Kristin Revere receives Sacred Pregnancy Instructor Certification!

sacred

Sacred Pregnancy is proud to welcome Kristin Revere, the latest addition to its growing list of pregnancy and birthing journey instructors. Kristin is the first instructor to be certified in Michigan. She completed a week-long training in Gore, Va. on March 30.

The first series of classes will be held locally at Baby Beloved inside the Women’s Health Center at 555 Mid Town Street N.E., Ste. 100 in Grand Rapids on Tuesdays from April 16-June 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Please email sacredpregnancygr@gmail.com or call (616) 340-1086 to register or with any questions.

Sacred Pregnancy classes hold space for pregnant women to connect with one another and their pregnancy experiences in meaningful and personal ways. The classes bring back the age-old tradition of women sitting with one another during pregnancy and birth, becoming empowered, witnessing each others’ processes, and being there for one another during an incredibly power-FULL rite of passage…becoming mothers. Mothers-to-be are invited to look deeply at the issues unique to their journey and find a centered, peaceful place to live their pregnancy fully.

The sessions are a special place for pregnant women to gather together for (“Pregnancy Journey” classes) for eight weeks early in their pregnancy journeys and again for (“Birth Journey” classes) four weeks toward the end of their pregnancies. Each week is spent exploring pertinent topics that naturally arise for most women as they walk down their pregnancy paths and encourage deep sharing, exploring art, expression, laughter, honoring and celebration.

Revere is passionate about empowering women to have the birth and pregnancy they desire.

I always enjoyed childbirth itself, but never fully embraced pregnancy until I read ‘Sacred Pregnancy’ when I was pregnant with my son. It transformed the way I viewed this amazing time so much that I decided to become an instructor and bring these feelings of empowerment to other women,” Revere said.

For more information on Sacred Pregnancy the book, classes and courses, visit: http://www.sacredpregnancy.com. For details on the Sacred Pregnancy Grand Rapids classes, visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/SacredPregnancyGrandRapids.

 



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Spring Cleaning – the kitchen

This morning I just couldn’t take it anymore. The spots on the tile back-splash, the cabinets covered in finger prints and food, as well as the constant array of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.

It was time for spring cleaning.

So I grabbed my handy-dandy Norwex cloth, gave the kids a couple of rags, and got to work cleaning some of the spots that rarely see regular cleaning.

I’m more of the “quick, hide it in the dishwasher/stove before company comes over” kind of gal most days. And the adrenal fatigue I’ve been dealing with for the last year has pushed me to be a bit lazier when it comes to housecleaning.

Deal with the mundane first

The dishes had to be done and put away to clear the counter before anything else got done. Often I forget this crucial step and instead find myself with piles upon piles of “stuff” in my way.

I really should have taken a before picture, so y’all don’t feel bad about your own messes, but I forgot until I was almost done.

The Stove

The workhorse of my kitchen, the stove is usually used for every meal! I find that it’s best to pull out the stove from the wall a couple of times a year to vacuum underneath and get out any food that may have fallen under. It’s also a good time to wipe down the sides as well as the side of the counter that are usually covered. Then I push it back in, wipe down the stove top  and sides with my Norwex cloth and then get to cleaning the oven.

My oven has a self cleaner which I love to use (it’s easy) but if there was a spill I’ll clean that up with some baking soda and white vinegar. On Easter I decided to bake some au gratin potatoes and I figured the more cheese sauce the better right?

Wrong. It spilled all over inside and smoked up the entire house as it burned on the bottom of the stove. So I had to clean out the inside a bit.

Refrigerator

I also pull out he fridge and vacuum up lost toys, dust bunnies, and any fossilized food. The outside gets wiped down and then I get to work emptying it of contents to wipe down the shelves. I regularly just use my Norwex cloth, but diluted white vinegar also makes a fantastic cleaner. There is always something in the back that I haven’t seen in a while as my ferments tend to get piled in on top, so the lost and lonely food goes straight to the garbage.

Other appliances

We have a microwave above the stove, what a mess that thing gets to be! Grease spatters all around as well as ick from when food is reheated. (I rarely use it, Todd is the main microwave user here) But it also has a couple of filters from the vent that I go about cleaning as well.

The dishwasher gets to run a load or two empty and this is the one place I use a conventional cleaner. We have hard water that runs through a softener and we get a fair amount of lime scale buildup. We have learned over the years that a nasty dishwasher, covered in rusty lime scale, is a recipe for disaster. So I now run a bottle of dishwasher cleaner through it as well as check the drains and the little ‘do-hicky’ that often gets clogged and allows it to overflow. (I’ve tried every natural option I can think of and nothing works well enough. I even got to the point where I hillbilly rigged the hose up the deck so that I could haul it in the kitchen and use the sprayer nozzle a few times!)

Cabinets

The kids got the job of wiping down the cabinets today, made more fun by listening to an episode of Adventures in Odyssey while they worked. For the most part they quietly worked instead of arguing the whole time. Other kids argue to…right? It’s not just mine?

I didn’t do a whole lot cleaning out the insides of them as I recently went through them all a couple of months ago, but I did clean out under the sink and finally found space for some of my mason jars.

Those things sure pile up with all of the ferments and farm fresh milk we go through!

Since our cabinets down go all the way to the ceiling I also have to get up there and dust cobwebs. And get down all of the egg cartons I save for bringing back to the farm.

Floors

Well, I guess I haven’t fully cleaned my kitchen if I haven’t mopped my floor. But I also can’t seem to find the mop……. so that will wait for another day. It did get a good sweeping with my ‘custodian broom’ though. I bought this broom years ago when I found that sweeping up a large area with a broom was just beyond ridiculously a pain. So I went to the hardware store and picked up the small version of what they use in schools and churches, I absolutely love it. A few sweeps and I’m done.

Normally on the floors I use warm water with about a cup of white vinegar, a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, and a few drops of essential oil.

Windows

I also wipe down the blinds, because man do white blinds show everything! Once the sun moves to the other side of the house I’ll also wash the windows inside and out. Now that the sun is finally out, I would like to be able to see through the winter grunge that has covered them.

spring clean the kitchen

As you may have noticed, I was so excited to have a clean kitchen that I also baked up a small plate of cookies. :-)

Have you done any spring cleaning in your kitchen yet? What’s the toughest part to tackle?

Unfortunately, I now have to start getting dinner ready which will eventually mess up all my hard work, so I’ll be back to cleaning it up….again….later tonight.

Read more:

Wellness Mama also talks about her cleaning methods

What’s Under My Sink? at Kitchen Stewardship



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Save The Color For the Eggs. Your Kids Will Thank You.

You may not be able to tell by looking out your window, but it is finally spring!  And Easter is only a few days away.

Time for Easter eggs, baskets full of candy, bright colors – signs of new life.  But if life is what you’re concerned with you might want to take a second look at all those colors.

photo credit glogster.com

photo credit glogster.com

Colored food and candy is appealing, especially to small children.  We eat first with our eyes.  So naturally kids will be excited by a basket full of brightly colored treats.

A few jellybeans.  A handful of colored chocolates.  A marshmallow chick.  Innocent fun.  An ok treat here and there.  Right?

Not really.  Artificial coloring is very harmful…for everyone.

Even if you avoid the obvious brightly colored candies you still might be getting more artificial coloring in your diet than you think.  Crackers, macaroni and cheese, fruit snacks, chips, cereal, jello, sweetened beverages, yogurt, ice cream, ketchup, fruit skins, meats.  The list goes on and on.  It is even in products such as toothpaste, shampoos and medicine.

A small amount of food dye can have a big impact.  Depending on the color and variety it can cause many kinds of tumors and cancer.  It can also cause damage to a growing child’s brain and lower IQ.

One of the biggest side effects of artificial coloring is hyperactivity and inattentiveness.  Does your child have some ADD/ADHD symptoms?  Are you struggling with behavioral/obedience problems?  Before you try to get a diagnosis start with your family’s diet.

I have experienced this first hand with my daughter.  After trial and error we discovered that she has a very strong reaction to any kind of food coloring.  It makes a huge impact on her behavior.

Do you feel bad taking away these “treats” from your child?  Try to look at the situation differently.  We have adopted a strict no food coloring policy for our kids.  It might be hard to say no to a few gummies or a sucker.  But this is the best “treat” we can give them…being able to feel good and have control over their minds and bodies.

photo credit robinhoodintegrativehealth.com

photo credit robinhoodintegrativehealth.com

My daughter is very smart, creative and funny.  I love allowing her to think clearly and let her true personality shine.  It’s heartbreaking when she can’t do that, when she seems out of control or in a fog.  And by allowing her to consume foods with artificial coloring I am taking away that freedom.  Not much of a treat is it?

The first step in tackling this problem is reading all food labels carefully and checking for harmful substances.  You might be surprised what you find.  Take a look at this list of ingredients.  Can you tell what this is?

“Skim milk, sugar, strawberry puree, whey, contains less than 2% of sodium tripolyphosphate, modified food starch, pasteurized milk and cream, sodium citrate, salt, artificial color, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and calcium propionate as preservatives, carrageenan, citric acid, cheese culture, sodium phosphate, natural flavor, artificial flavor, red 40, carob bean gum, vitamin a palmitate”

These are the ingredients in strawberry cream cheese.  Artificial color and red 40.  No thank you.

In addition to dyes and colors check for sodium benzoate.  It has the same effect on your health.

Once you eliminate foods with artificial coloring and dyes you can move on to making your own goodies.  Use real food to color your food.  Want to make something pink?  Use strawberry juice or jam.  How about green?  Try avocado.  Have fun experimenting with foods like blueberries, beets and carrots to add color to your baked goods.

Or better yet…leave out the color.  Who said mint ice cream should be green?  It’s actually white or yellow (depending on whether or not you add egg yolks).  If you really want colorful food reach for fruits and vegetables.  And leave the treats their true color.  Don’t worry, they’ll still taste great even if they aren’t neon colored.

photo credit thehotsheetblog.com

photo credit thehotsheetblog.com

Check those Easter baskets and your cupboards.  Get rid of anything that contains artificial colors or dyes.  You’re giving your family a wonderful gift and a fresh start by keeping these harmful substances out of their diet.  Save the artificial coloring for the Easter eggs.  Just be sure not to eat them.

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

“Whey”monade, a healthy and refreshing drink {recipe}

It must be the flirting our weather is doing with spring that makes me crave the refreshing drinks of summer. Or the fact that I am So. Over. Winter.

Yea, maybe it’s that.

I really just want to sit outside with a good book while I sip some lemonade and let the kids play in the mud. Though usually the thought of lemonade makes me cringe as it’s so full of sugar!

But lemonade can be a healthy treat all year round as well, and can even contain some protein, minerals, and be probiotic.

Last winter I was able to go to the cheese making class that my friend Betsy, from Green Pastures Dairy in Coopersville, taught. And during the class someone asked what in the world do you do with all the extra whey after making mozzarella. Come to find out, you can make some pretty delicious lemonade from it.

If you use whey strained from yogurt or kefir, it will also contain probiotic benefits. When it comes from making mozzarella, it will have been heated, so no probiotics, but still plenty of nutrient content.

I make this and just go by taste, as the taste of the whey always seems to vary from batch to batch.

healthy lemonade

"Whey"monade, a healthy and refreshing drink {recipe}
Author: 
Recipe type: Beverages
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart whey (from kefir, yogurt, or cheesemaking)
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or to taste)
Method of Preparation
  1. Let the whey warm to room temperature (or let it cool to room temperature after cheese making).
  2. Add the juice of the lemon and the honey. Stir to combine.
  3. Chill and drink.
Notes
If you use whey from kefir or yogurt, you can also add up to 2 quarts of water with the juice of an additional 4-6 lemons and let it sit out on the counter overnight.


I love being able to give my family something I know they’ll love, but that will also nourish their bodies, especially the little ones that are still growing.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Green Pastures Dairy introduces raw milk delivery locations!

I know many of you have to make the decision on whether or not to join a raw milk cow share due to where you live, and the driving that would need to happen once a week to pick up your milk.

Farms aren’t quite located in the midst of where we run our errands, are they?

Green Pastures, the cow share program out in Coopersville, MI is now setting up locations for milk delivery.

1. Grand Rapids, near Fuller and Franklin, Mondays

2. Ada, near Fulton and 1-96, Mondays

3. Comstock Park/North Side – 2 locations: Ellsmere NE and Division North in Comstock Park, Mondays

4. Muskegon, near Sheridan and MacAtrthur, across from Orchard View High School, Tuesdays

5. Holland, looking for a central location, Tuesdays

6. Jenison, near Cottonwood and Baldwin, Tuesdays

7. Grand Haven/Spring Lake, Tuesdays

8. Cutlerville, near Kalamazoo and M-6, Mondays

So if you’ve thought of joining before, to enjoy the benefits and great taste of farm fresh milk, but needed to find it closer to home, you can contact Betsy at migreenpastures AT gmail.com for information.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.