Written by my Spring 2018 apprentice, Sara Lopez, this post discusses tips for bouncing back after one or multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles.
After 3 unsuccessful IVF cycles, I was angry, disappointed, frustrated, and embarrassed about telling friends and family it didn’t work. I was sad that my lifelong goal seemed to slip away from me the harder I tried. Everywhere I looked, there were pregnant mommas that appeared to have it so easy. (It wasn’t until later that I realized having kids doesn’t mean your life is perfect).
Sound familiar? If you have had one or multiple unsuccessful IVF cylces, first of all I just want to give you a hug. I’m here for you. To listen, cry with, laugh with, and to take the first steps back to the luscious, wonderful you.
Know it is normal to feel emptiness, disappointment, and sadness as you go through your grieving journey. We have a tendency to put life on hold until we achieve our goal of becoming a mother. We avoid calling old friends if we have no baby news. You are valuable and enough just as you are.
Here are my top 6 tips for bouncing back after IVF:
1. Give yourself a break- After one or multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles, your body, emotions, and hormones have been on a roller coaster. Don’t worry about taking vitamins and supplements for a few days. Allow yourself to cry, reach out to friends and family, and take time to stop and smell the roses.
All your emotions are normal; embrace them! Build your support system and find another woman who has been through IVF to talk to. In my small city I found a Fertility Yoga class and found support there.
People may ask when you are going to try to get pregnant again. It can be painful to have to tell everyone the IVF cycle was not successful, but know they are asking because they care about you. Take the time to let go of the pain and heal before taking next steps on your journey.
2. Tune into your intuition and lunar wisdom- You know your body best. Put your hands over your belly and womb and talk to your uterus. Ask her what message she has for you. Imagine your womb is filled with your favorite flowers and send that color of flower to your entire pelvis. Try to do this daily during a shower or bath. Your life is a gift and you are meant to enjoy it.
3. Balance your hormones- If you’ve taken medications for an IVF cycle, your hormones may have become a hot mess and affected your mood, sleep, and energy. Luckily you have the power to get them back on track!
Your gut health is key to rebalancing your hormones. Our delicate gut lining is only 1 millimeter thick and can develop small tears and holes from a variety of toxins in the environment and from medications. The bacteria in our body are the basis of how well our immune system works and is directly tied to our mood/emotions. Our vaginas have billions of bacteria in them that create lactic acid in order to regulate PH to protect us from diseases. When our vaginas are acidic, pathogens stay away.
Eating fermented foods and drinks (preferably organic) like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and pickles with meals heal your digestive system by increasing good bacteria in your gut. When your digestion is optimal, your body flushes out excess estrogen.
A high quality probiotic is another addition that boosts good gut bacteria and I recommend taking one for a month 2-3 times per year. Strains like L. Acidophilus and L. Rhamnosus support women’s vaginal health. Make sure the probiotic contains at least a billion CFU’s and lists the strain, genus, and species of bacteria. Restore liquid created by Dr. Zach Bush is another supplement I recommend to tighten the junctions in between your gut lining.
4. Keep your lady parts happy:
- Women’s bodies are 55 percent water. Our wombs need plenty of pure, filtered water every day. When you leave the house for the day, bring a large glass or stainless steel bottle of water with you. Avoid using plastic water bottles because of the hormone disrupting chemicals used to make plastic.
- Eat a lot of Healthy Fat. When I was a kid I remember my doctor telling my parents that I should eat margarine instead of butter and to feed me fat free foods. He was wrong! Healthy fat is good for you and necessary so your body can make enough hormones. Healthy fats balance your blood sugar and cause you to feel full for 4 or more hours, reducing weight gain.
Here are some of the best healthy fats:
- Wild Salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies
- Coconut and Olive Oil
5. Work with a healthcare professional or fertility clinic that resonates with you- The average doctor’s visit is 11 minutes long (patient speaks for 5 minutes, doctor speaks for 5 minutes). That hardly seems like enough time to scratch the surface of health. Come prepared with a list of questions, and push for testing if you feel there are unanswered questions. It can feel scary to question a doctor when he or she prescribes fertility medication, but you deserve to have a full understanding of the benefits and risks. If you are not happy with your provider, switch!
6. Replenish JOY- During IVF you may have imagined all the wonderful things you would be doing now while pregnant. Now that you are at a new crossroads, be in the present moment and take care of yourself. What can you add to your daily routine to nurture joy? It can be as simple as taking a minute to feel the breeze on your face before getting in the car. Walks, baths, yoga, massage, aromatherapy (smelling your favorite essential oil), and laughing at life are all great to add to your day.
Sara Lopez is a certified Hormone Specialist and Womb Healer. Through Womb Healing Coaching, she creates sacred space for women to heal their wombs. Her work blends wisdom from her grandmothers with the latest earth based techniques to support women in tuning into their bodies, intuition, abundance, and creativity.
Her inspiration for women’s hormone health coaching comes from her journey to heal herself and her family. Sara discovered that going on the pill for period problems only made her hormones more of a hot mess. She learned from her grandmother to turn to mother earth for healing. On the journey to balancing her hormones she realized her calling was to help others find their own heart, soul, and womb wisdom.
Sara is passionate about sharing the gems she has picked up along the way. She is the creator of the online course Replenishing Joy After IVF, a guide to tuning into your intuition, rebalancing your hormones, finding JOY again, and bouncing back after one or multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles.