To honour Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (May 18th - 28th) I am giving away 3 free copies of my book, Fabulously Fertile - Supercharge Your Fertility Naturally.
Click here to win Fabulously Fertile - book giveaway (3 copies available)
I am 1 in 6
In my early 20’s I always joked that I was having menopausal hot flashes. I would feel my whole body begin to flush and the sweat would start dripping from my forehead. I thought I was prone to blushing. Little did I know that I was headed toward early menopause. Slowly my periods began to disappear. At the time I really thought this was great, because I didn’t need to deal with the monthly hassle. Then I began to experience other symptoms such as vaginal discharge, pimples on my previously flawless skin, dandruff and a small weird fungal rash on my chest. Yep, some pretty sexy stuff, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with my fertility, so I didn’t take the symptoms seriously.
My life plan was always to get married at 25 (married my first love), have a baby at 28 and have a fabulous career too. Like many women, I wanted it all and didn’t think anything would get in my way. We started trying right away and nothing happened. I began to wonder why it was that I only got my period 2 or 3 times per year. Suddenly my lack of periods became a major red flag. What was going on with my body? I didn’t wait long until I consulted my family doctor and had my hormone levels tested. At the age of 28 I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. Premature Ovarian Failure is the loss of function of the ovaries before age 40. I remember leaving my ObGyn’s office with the In Vitro Fertilization brochure in my hand, in shock and not really sure what just happened.
I didn't take any time to grieve or really listen to what my body was trying to tell me
After letting the news sink in and discussing the options with my husband I immediately went into action. Looking back I didn’t take any time to grieve or really listen to what my body was trying to tell me. The signals were right in front of me. The weird health complaints like vaginal discharge, adult acne and the chest rash, but I was not yet able to connect the dots. We decided to pursue the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) route and opted to use a donor egg I began to look at women around me and wonder why it was so easy for her to get pregnant and not me. Why had my body failed me? Not one time after my diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure did I think to question the diagnosis and seek alternative treatment.
Finally the donor profile arrived in the mail, about one year after we signed up. My husband and I reviewed the information and felt it was a good match. Luckily at the age of 30, I got pregnant with our daughter on our first try. I was one of the fortunate ones, and didn’t have to endure years of fertility treatments. About 1 year after my daughter was born we tried again with the frozen embryos. My son was born three years apart from my daughter with a live embryo. We were so thankful and grateful that finally, our family was complete.
Fast forward, many years to when I was 40 years old. I was in a stressful job, trying to juggle career and family and not feeling like I was in the best place creatively or spiritually. I was constantly stressed and had this niggling doubt in the back of my mind that I was not living up to my full potential. Turning 40 for me was the fork in the road. What was I going to do with my life? At the time I thought it was to continue to climb the corporate human resources ladder, until I found coaching. I enrolled in a coaching program to coach in the corporate area. Little did I know that this life coaching course would change the course of my career. I left the course with a plan to start my own business in the health and wellness field. I then enrolled in the health coach training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to further deepen my knowledge. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this course would change my life and my family’s life forever and help me discover the root cause of my infertility.
During this time my health began to suffer
During this time my health began to suffer. Although, I could still function, my immune system was so low that I began to experience many chronic health complaints. The vaginal discharge was still there, chronic bladder infections (I became allergic to many different types of antibiotics), and chronic sinus infections (every cold I got and I had a lot of them turned into a sinus infection). I had frequent headaches, moodiness, brain fog and extreme fatigue.
After learning in the health coaching course how food can affect our health and discovering a little known fungi called Candida, I finally decided to consider some alternative treatments. I decided to eliminate sugar, gluten, caffeine, dairy and alcohol from my diet. I knew I would need to do something, but had no idea it would be so radical.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done
The first three or four days were the worst. I had a major sweet tooth and was dreaming of sugar everywhere. I didn’t know what to eat. I thought of food constantly. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but once I got through the middle of the first week, it started to get easier.
My headaches disappeared, and I didn’t feel like I needed to go to the bathroom every minute. My sinuses started to clear. After about one month on the diet, when I re-challenged dairy and gluten, I found they both aggravated my system. I would get sinus congestion, and my bladder would act up. As I continued to keep dairy and gluten out of my system, my skin cleared up, the dandruff went away and the chronic vaginal discharge was finally minimized. The diet also improved my seasonal allergies; my allergies to cats lessened as well. Who knew that what we put on our fork every day could have such a huge impact on our health?
I am passionate to get the word out that simple dietary and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on fertility
I am passionate to get the word out that simple dietary and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your fertility. It took me over 12 years to figure out that root cause of my infertility was due to a food intolerance, that caused an overgrowth of candida in my system which lead to many other health issues. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I wish I had questioned my infertility diagnosis and had considered other treatment options.
I am eternally grateful that science helped me conceive my daughter Ava and my son Will. They both light up my life.
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Ready to gaze into your baby's eyes....but struggling. Download 10 step Checklist here