Am I Doing Enough?


I’m ending a multi-day bout of online infertility “research” feeling guilt-ridden.  Am I not doing enough to get pregnant naturally?  Each website contradicts the next: drink green tea, but avoid all caffeine.  drink warm drinks, but not hot or ice cold drinks.  eat fruit, but don’t eat raw food (should I be cooking my fruit??).

I’m overwhelmed.  Am I unwittingly turning my uterus into an inhospitable icy wasteland that shuns helpless embryos?  Am I causing my body to be nothing more than a land of inflammation and zig-zagging insulin levels?  Am I making endometriosis worse by drinking this cup of coffee?

Oh yes, coffee.  That vice I was all starry-eyed to give up last month.  Only today—on CD 11—am I finally putting my money where my mouth is.  Well, technically it’s still a work in progress: I had one cup of half-caff early this morning.  Currently I’m sitting at work staring at my office mug and resisting a very strong urge to brew my daily second cup of joe.

My coffee mug, sans coffee.

An OPK sits nearby on my desk, waiting to be used on my next pee break. The perks of having the office to myself this week = leaving random OPKs on my desk and blogging from my office at 11 a.m.  Fertility consumes me even here.

Just another day at the office.

When I read websites, articles, and books—which I do in abandon—about how to get pregnant, I walk away from them feeling like a selfish monster who isn’t doing everything possible to “prime” her body for pregnancy.  For optimal egg health maybe I should live off of seeds, quinoa, wheatgrass, and room temperature organic water.  Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

The honest reality could be that the damage has already been done.  Look, I’m all for natural approaches to fertility and not heading strait to IVF; it works for many women.  But the fact is, I lived below optimum health for years…  YEARS!  Like, I ate crappy foods, barely exercised, and liberally drank alcohol.  I unknowingly basked in BPA, phthalates, and parabens.  So did Jake.

But here’s a fundamental difference: whatever damage Jake may have done to his swimmers by engaging in these activities isn’t forever.  Presto—his body just makes new ones, so his now-healthy lifestyle means his sperm are healthy too!  But I don’t have that luxury, my body isn’t making any new eggs.  Are a few years of progressively healthier living enough to undo a lifetime of exposure to Bad Things?  I wonder.

All of this culminates into excessive feelings of guilt.  Ate a piece of cake?  Ninety days until my eggs recover from the insulin spike!  Had a cup of coffee?  Just trashed my chances for conception this cycle!

While the rational, even-keeled part of me understands that balance is key to all things in life, another part of me—the part borne from my fertility “research”—tells me that I’m just making excuses.  That I’m too selfish to want to give up X, Y, and Z for my baby-to-be.  What kind of future mama am I anyway if I can’t sacrifice everything possible now?

Then I take a step back and remind myself that my life, my times, our season, our miracle—it’s all in God’s hands.  Not that that absolves me of responsibility to live right and do all that we can to achieve a pregnancy… because it doesn’t.  I usually dislike the expression, “Let go and let God, ” but right now it rings true.  I don’t want to make TTC into an idol.  I’ve done everything I know to get pregnant (or have I?? guilt, guilt, guilt….).  At some point, that needs to be enough and let faith step in.  At some point.  At this point.




All the Little Things: Chemical Purge


In my 6 year quest toward resolving infertility, I’m always looking for new ways to help my body prepare for a pregnancy.  One major part of being TTC is watching what chemicals and hormones I allow into my everyday life.

Things like phthalates, parabens, silicones, tricolsan, GMOs, pesticides, foaming agents,  plastics, BPA, etc. that are lurking in our daily lives are scary stuff.  In fact, it’s overwhelming! Just try to spend a day—even an hour—living completely free of any of those things. I dare you.

Since I want to do everything possible for my egg health and reproductive system, I’ve gotten mega serious about reducing the amount of chemicals I’m exposed to. Sometimes I wonder if my efforts are too little too late and the damage has already been done. But then I determine to do the best that I can, regardless. Even though I can’t live in the protective bubble that I’d like to, there are things I CAN do to reduce my exposure.

Every few months I go on a mad purge of my home. I’m constantly finding new chemical-laden things to say goodbye to. I’m smack in the middle of a purge right now, and am discarding anything questionable in my path—including all of Jake’s personal care products, which he’s surprisingly okay with. Guys tend to get upset if they don’t think their swimmers are up to snuff. And those swimmers are a major part of the baby equation!

Here’s the things I’ve either tossed or replaced since starting this kick. It’s a long list, but that just shows how prevalent chemicals are in everyday life. By the way, none of the brands I’ve mentioned has given me anything to endorse them. I share this list with you in a genuine effort to help anyone who may be reading think about her reproductive health in a new light:

What I Tossed Why I Tossed It How I Replaced It
Dish soap and hand soap Contains foaming agents and tricolsan, an endocrine disruptor. Replaced with brands The Honest Company, 7th Generation, and Elmore Mountain Farms.


Dish sponges Contain tricolsan, in addition to taking like a trillion years to decompose in a landfill.


Replaced with triclosan-free, sustainable sponges by Full Circle Home.
Plastic cutting boards Studies show that plastic cutting boards actually hold more bacteria than wood! Plus, eating BPA particles if I accidentally chop the plastic board isn’t very appetizing.


Replaced with a 3-set of bamboo cutting boards, sans wood glue or any coating. Glass is probably okay to use, but I think food slides around too much on glass cutting boards.
Nonstick pots and pans By now, most people know that the coating on nonstick cookware (especially once scratched) leeches some seriously nasty chemicals.


Replaced with stainless steel. One day when I’m rich, I’ll get the really good stuff.
Plastic cooking utensils BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Replaced with wood and stainless steel. Tossed any Solo cups, plastic eating utensils, etc. lurking around my kitchen.


Hand sanitizer Triclosan and other endocrine disruptors. Stopped using altogether. It’s worth the so-called “inconvenience” to wash my hands with the healthier soaps I mentioned above.


Household cleaners Tested on animals, full of scary chemicals. Replaced with brands such as 7th Generation and The Honest Company. Also stocked up on hydrogen peroxide and vinegar–they get the job done too!


Hair products This one’s a biggie for me! My hair is mega curly and unruly, and I’m forever seeking the perfect concoction of haircare products for it. I avoid anything tested on animals, with animal-derived ingredients (like keratin), and with phthalates, silicones, parabens, etc.


Work in Progress. I still use some Deva Curl products, but EWG gives it shoddy reviews. Shea Moisture and Dr. Bronner’s are good brands and affordable. I know there’s better stuff out there, but I can’t break the bank with experimenting right now.
Nail polish color and remover Nail polish is in the Top 5 of beauty product’s Dirty Dozen list. It’s literally a jar chock full of toxic chemicals. I (begrudgingly) threw away all my polishes and remover. There’s brands out there that are healthier alternatives, but right now I just don’t feel like shelling out ten bucks for a teeny bottle of paint. So I go without.


Makeup Full of questionable chemicals and endocrine disruptors; also notoriously tested on cute little bunnies and other helpless critters. I love my makeup. And I’ve never been one to gravitate toward the uber-expensive stuff. Thanks to my dear friend Lisa at Bloomin’Uterus, I’ve discovered Orglamix makeup! Slowly over the past 6 months I’ve been replacing my makeup products one piece at a time with Orglamix, and am a happy customer so far!


Lip gloss Many lip glosses/lip balms are petroleum-based. Petroleum is a byproduct of oil refining, and can contain carcinogens.


I make my own! Some beeswax, cocoa butter, and essential oils is all it takes. So easy.
Shower loofah Flexible plastics are chock full of phthalates. One day as I showered with my healthy Dr. Bronner’s soap, I took a hard look at my cheap plastic loofah. Was I literally coating my body with phthalates while using healthy soap? Eek!


I bought a natural sea sponge loofah on Amazon. It cost $12. No matter how careful I am to dry it, I still have to sanitize it in the sun every couple of days to keep mildew from growing, which is so inconvenient. Currently looking for a worthy replacement.
Toothpaste Unnatural added colors, tested on animals, unnecessarily added fluoride, triclosan (at least in Colgate), added sugars. Replaced with Tom’s of Maine, Dr. Bronner’s, and Nature’s Gate brands, depending on which one’s available when I shop.


Laundry detergent Animal testing, added dyes, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, etc. I make my own! A bar of natural laundry soap, some borax, and super washing soda. I throw it all into the food processor for a few minutes. About 2 tablespoons per load does the trick.


Lotions Chemicals and tested on animals, plus usually packaged in plastic bottles


I make my own! My daily go-to is an essential oil body butter, which can be found here.
Facial moisturizer/wrinkle cream Just a big ‘ole (well, little ‘ole) jar of chemicals. I just use organic coconut oil… very sparingly and only in the spots where I need it. After a few minutes, I blot off any excess oil.


Deodorant Can anyone say “aluminum?” Yikes—natural deodorants are so meh! Or maybe I’m just stinky. Brands I’ve tried include Tom’s of Maine, Stink Bug, Nature’s Gate, Thai Crystal, and *some other brand I forget.* Currently my fave is Stink Bug brand, but I have to reapply like 3 times a day.


Body Wash Phthalates, parabens, foaming agents. Dr. Bronner’s. Period—it’s the best! Also can be used for other home cleaning projects.


Tampons/Pads/Pantiliners Most days of the month I need protection from bleeding or spotting. Vaginal area skin is both sensitive and porous. Traditional feminine products are bleached and full of “absorbent” chemicals.


Replaced with brands Natracare and Veeda, which are affordable, unbleached, and free of added chemicals.
Drinking straws Hello, BPA! Also takes hundreds of years to decompose, and sea turtles can mistake plastic straws for food, then the straws get stuck the poor turtles. I make a daily smoothie/shake for work and used to use disposable plastic straws. I replaced them with a set of reusable glass drinking straws scored off Amazon.

As for the smoothie’s themselves, I simply pour them into repurposed glass spaghetti sauce jars and head out the door.


Flea and ticks I love to snuggle with Puppy. I don’t, however, love to snuggle with questionable chemicals, which flea and tick medications are loaded with.


A few drops of essential Rose Geranium oil on Puppy before going outside keeps ticks at bay. As for fleas, we don’t use anything. And we haven’t had a flea problem in 8 years. I don’t think it’s necessary.

This list isn’t exhaustive; it’s fluid and ever-changing.

I’m interested in your thoughts on the matter. What have you changed or given up in this area since becoming TTC?

Peace. ❤