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motherhood

Fertility Friday:  Black Maca [Energy Balls]

Fertility Friday: Black Maca [Energy Balls]

*this blog post includes affiliate links

I must admit, I was (and still am) a little hesitant to write about this subject on my blog.  On the one hand, it seems like such a private and personal subject to me; on the other, I know that I am not the only person I know going through fertility struggles and maybe sharing my journey will help someone else who is going through similar issues.  So, here I go...

Conceiving baby #1 was easy.  Well, NOT EXACTLY EASY, BUT once we figured out when to do the deed, we only had to wait about 38 more weeks for little Elias to join us in the world.  We spent several months looking at a calendar and "trying" to conceive with no luck. Then, after some friends told us that they used fertility sticks to conceive all three of their children, we bought some:

We used the sticks on the first day we saw a little smiley face on them, and THEY WORKED!!!

So, when we decided to get serious about having baby #2, I got back on Amazon and bought the sticks again.  We were not so lucky this time.  Maybe, I thought, it is because I am a few years older now, over the hill in terms of prime baby making age.  I remembered that, at 36, I am still a few years younger than the average age of a woman who gives birth at the hospital where my son was born.  And, moreover, I was assured that I am healthy and have no fertility issues.  BUT, I do have a fertility issue...a big one:  I can't seem to get pregnant. 

So, I upped the anti and bought a fancier advanced fertility monitor (see below).  Still no luck!  I questioned whether extended nursing of baby #1 was to blame.  Research suggested that, because I ovulate and menstruate regularly, it is probably not.   

I read about secondary infertility (apparently it is a thing).  Ultimately, I decided that, before I go ahead and rip the "baba" (baby #1's name for the boob) away from the little guy or head to a specialist who might suggest pumping me with drugs, I would dig a little deeper and make a few more efforts to optimize my health.  I realized that, there are a number of changes that I needed and wanted to make to my lifestyle and health before conceiving another child anyway.

So, we hit the pause button on the attempted baby making, and I made some changes, big and small, over the past 45 days.  So far, here is what I did.  Some of these things may seem like obvious changes, others questionable.  I don't know what the answers are but figured I would document the changes, how they make me feel, and the results, if any.  

1.  I gave up my 2-4 cups of coffee a day (I know, gross) and replaced them with a morning matcha latte.  This is one of my favorite brands:

Matcha Green Tea Powder - Superior Culinary - USDA Organic From Japan -Natural Energy & Focus Booster, Antioxidant Packed. Matcha Tea For Mixing In Lattes, Smoothies & Baking 1.05oz By Matcha Wellness

2.  I cut out stevia and other refined sugars.  Some research suggests that stevia, in high doses, can act as a form of birth control. And, we all know (or should know) that refined sugars can do a number on our hormones, amongst other nasty things to our bodies and brains.  When I want a little sweet in my matcha, I opt for a drizzle of raw honey or maple syrup.

3.  I tried to replace as many chemicals as possible with natural cleaners.  I purchase a lot of my household cleaning supplies on Thrive Market (more on Thrive below) because I trust that they sell the most natural options out there, and I can usually find some good deals that save me some $$$!  

4. I carved out time for my self-care.  I have been attending at least one public yoga class a week and reincorporating daily meditation into my routine.  IT FEELS GOOD.  And, I am reminded about all of the amazing things happening in my life RIGHT now. And, more importantly, I am taking the time to enjoy them.  The result, my usual high stress levels (one of the biggest causes of infertility) are coming down. I feel better about myself, inside and out.  WIN-WIN!

5.  I started taking prenatal vitamins.  (My last OB-GYN told me to start taking them at least a few months before planning to conceive.). My favorite brand:  

SmartyPants Prenatal Complete Gummy Vitamins: Multivitamin, Folate (Methylfolate), Vitamin K2, Vitamin D3, Methyl B12, Biotin, Omega 3 DHA/EPA Fish Oil, 180 count (30 Day Supply)

5.  I carved out time for me and my partner.  As much as we just love soaking up as much time as we can with our little guy, we also love and need to spend time without him, nurturing our relationship with each other.

6.  And, finally, I researched fertility boosting foods and made an effort to include them in my diet. Each month, I place an order with Thrive Market, an easy place to purchase many of the fertility boosting foods on my list at discounted rates.  Some of my favorites are hazelnuts, maca, beans, cauliflower, bee pollen, green smoothie concoctions, and (when I am craving something sweet) dates! My favorite food fertility snack (also just a great energizing snack in general)!?

BLACK MACA [ENERGY BALLS]

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 tsp Black Maca Powder

  • 1/2 cup Hazelnuts 

  • 1 cup Pitted Dates

  • 1/4 Cup Cacao Powder

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

  • Almond Flour, Bee Pollen to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Optional: Soak hazelnuts in water overnight.  

  • Place al ingredients EXCEPT almond flour and bee pollen, in a high speed blender.  Blend until ingredients form a sticky paste. 

  • Roll mixture into balls; roll balls in almond flour and bee pollen (optional).

  • Refrigerate 

These energy balls are 100% family friendly in my house!  EVERYONE loves them!

Enjoy! 

My favorite brand of black maca (and the bag from which I adapted the recipe above):

Sunfood Black Maca Powder, 4oz, Raw, Organic

*Warning:  Some labels say that black maca "contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm."  Other sources say that this information is outdated and/or that black maca is known to increase potency in men and improve hormone balance and libido in both men and women.  All I can say is, do your research before you makes these snacks or make any other changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to increase fertility or induce any other results!  At the end of the day, there is definitely no one size fits all answer to any of our issues, right!?

P.S. If you feel uncomfortable, consider removing the black maca powder from the recipe and maybe replacing it with flax seeds or chocolate protein powder or almond flour.  We try not to overdo them in our house but love to snack on them from time to time -- with and without the maca!

RESULTS OF MAKING THE CHANGES LISTED IN THIS BLOG POST!? SO FAR, I FEEL GREAT.  AS FOR WHETHER THAT RESULTS IN BABY #2...TO BE CONTINUED...



Mami Monday:  Years of Living (Almost) Dangerously

Mami Monday: Years of Living (Almost) Dangerously

I have always loved a good adventure, living right on the line between responsible and dangerous. In high school, I rode my bike through the Pyrenees Mountains from Paris to Barcelona, sleeping in a tent that I carried on the back of my bike -- no support vehicle needed (well, maybe our small group of high school students, led by two recent college grads, should have had a support vehicle...but we didn't).  In college, I traveled around Southeast Asia for a summer; I unexpectedly cut my trip short after my bus fell off of a bridge a couple of hours from the Cambodia/Thailand border, and I had to spend all of my money hitchhiking my way back to Thailand.  After college, my adventures changed for a bit, as I lost some common sense and turned toward substances; I dabbled with partying just enough to know that, if I kept it up, it wouldn't be pretty (and, the fact that my "friends" who kept it up look about twice their  age confirms that I made the right choice to return to more natural highs -- like yoga, hiking, and running).  

Through law and graduate school and my young professional career, my love for adventure didn't stop. I hitchhiked and backpacked my way through Jordan, spent a couple of months in Venezuela when most people were already trying to find their way out of the country.  A few years later, my now husband and I brought our wedding party on a strenuous hike the morning before the big day (which, by the way, was on a hiking trail in the desert on a hot day in August).

We got caught at the top of a slippery, steep mountain in a thunder storm with his middle-school-aged nephew, my sixty-three-year-old mom, my brother, my pregnant maid of honor, and the parents of three young kids. (The rest of the party was smart enough to turn around when they saw the dark clouds setting in.)

I think of all of that (and more), and I have to wonder when my life got to the point where these words came out of my mouth and made perfect sense in terms of the next big adventure to add to my story:

"Honey, we have just enough diapers left to be dangerous!"

Motherhood...

With four clean diapers left to our names and a full day of travel ahead of us, I set out to change Elias Jayne's poopy diaper.  I didn't want to risk getting feces all over the white hotel bed linens, so I brought him out onto the balcony to change him (on the balcony floor, so there was no risk of his plummeting to his death... and a much easier floor to clean).  I got the poop-filled diaper off without a mess and put it down to grab some wipes.  In that moment, Elias managed to grab the poop filled diaper and one of the precious few clean ones I had left, tossing them playfully into the air.  I watched as they hit the top of the balcony rail -- the moment of truth.  For a moment, it looked as if they might bounce back down onto the balcony floor. 

But, they didn't.  I watched as both diapers rolled right on over to the other side, beginning their five story decent; poop was flying, and Elias was giggling and grinning devilishly. Did he know what he just did!? I stood up and looked down just in time to see one of the hotel employees staring, shocked, up at me. I ducked down, grabbed Elias, and crawled back inside.

"Honey, I think it is time to go. We don't need to check out officially or anything, do we?"

Motherhood has completely shifted my perspective and priorities.  Honestly, in many ways, motherhood has probably saved me from myself.  At first I thought that motherhood was the end to my years of living (almost) dangerously.  But, now, I have no doubt that this is just the beginning.  Thank you, Elias Jayne, for allowing me be your mami (as if you had a choice)!