Infertile and longing for children while everyone else is moving forward, moving on to seconds or thirds, toddlers or preschool. Left out of–or lost–in the conversations mothers have about what they feed their babies and what items are a must and which things aren’t worth the money. Left out of the conversations about how hard it is to leave the little one at the church’s daycare for a few hours the first time. How hard it is to send her to kindergarten.
And it’s tough. Especially when you thought you’d be there with them. Not running lap two of four when everyone else is finishing their mile run.
But, maybe last isn’t going to be so bad after all.
While I’m waiting, I can choose to be included in their families. I can watch with joy at the wonder on a child’s face when she sees that butterfly or the excitement when he pets one of my dogs.
While I’m waiting, I can take time to learn the things I want to know before I have children. I can learn how to efficiently keep my house. How to eat better. What nutrition theories I think make sense.
While I’m waiting I can finish projects. Read more. Write more.
And when my turn comes, I’ll know more. And my friends will have so much wisdom to impart. And I’ll be the beneficiary of their experiences, their trials, and their joys.
Now, a year into our official IF diagnosis, I can look back and see a few ways that we have actually benefited from infertility. Would I have chosen infertility as the mode for these benefits? Probably not. But it wasn’t my decision, and I’m trying to make the most of our circumstances.
One of the benefits of infertility for us has been the improvements in our diet. Well, I guess more than that, the improvements in how we think about food. If we ever do receive the blessing of children, I am confident that this knowledge and how we are incorporating that knowledge in our meals will be beneficial for their nutrition as well. And I doubt we would have cared very much about this subject had we not received our infertility diagnosis.
As we dove into research about infertility, a few things kept coming up about the food we were eating. Recognizing that infertility is ultimately a health issue–that we are dealing on some level with an imbalance in hormone levels–we have embarked on a journey to try to improve our health. This includes exercise, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and, of course, eating better. To clarify, we’re not trying to improve our diets in an effort to lose weight (though, I must admit, there is a little extra hanging around my hips that I wouldn’t mind getting rid of).
Lucky for me, DH will eat anything. (Seriously. If he doesn’t like a food but is convinced of its health benefits, he will eat it anyway.) And the foods I don’t particularly like, while bordering on un-American, tend not to be good for me (hot dogs, potato chips, lunch meat). So making adjustments to improve our diets isn’t so much of a problem of not liking nutritious foods as it is not knowing where to start.
As I started researching all things nutrition, I quickly found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. And it’s not straightforward and scientific: everybody seems to have their own opinion. Cut gluten. Cut dairy. To be healthy, eat more fats. Cut out all the fats. Follow a simple “calories in, calories out” equation. Don’t pay attention to calories, but eat whole, healthy, natural foods. Low carb. Paleo. No refined sugars. No sugars at all (maybe or maybe not including fruit). Take a teaspoon of [enter choice: honey, apple cider vinegar, cod liver oil, grass-fed cows’ butter, all of the above] daily. And on and on and on.
I haven’t figured this out yet. Not even close. But I thought I’d share what we are doing and what I am learning as I keep trying to distill the information I have and, where applicable, share some healthful (or maybe not, depending on your take on the theories alluded to above) recipes or meals we have enjoyed.
We’re considering some more drastic changes going forward. But we also want to be flexible. We’re not extremists, and that extends to our nutrition. If I’m at your house for dinner, I’m not going to be checking ingredients and debating whether to eat what you’re serving. I’m not going to choose not to go out with friends because the restaurant won’t have healthy options (and, sadly, most of the restaurants here in Katy are lacking nutritious food). But we are trying to make healthier decisions when we can.
The overarching theory we’re kind of following–if it can be boiled down to any overarching theory–is that whole, unprocessed foods are likely more healthful and nutritious than their processed counterparts. Of all the nutrition information I’ve read, that makes the most sense to me. I’ll go into more detail on what we are and are not eating in future posts.
If you’re trying to eat better, where did you start?
What advice would you share with someone trying to make improvements?
Is a gradual approach better than nothing, or do you need to go all or nothing to see health benefits?
What theories of nutrition do you absolutely buy into–or absolutely disagree with?