This is a guest post from our good friend Cindy Bailey from The Fertile Kitchen. After being given a 2% chance of naturally conceiving, Cindy completely changed her diet and was pregnant within four months. Motivated by this life-changing experience, she set out to write about her fertility diet research and, along with her husband, crafted this beautiful book that is both filled with interesting recipes and well-researched facts about what to put into our bodies to optimize our fertility.
Finally, after six IVF treatments Celine Dion is pregnant with twins at the age of 42. Hooray! Hooray for her persistence as much as her reward. It can be tough for women to get pregnant in their 40’s. Should they go for it anyway? (I think I know how Celine would answer.)
First of all, I want to congratulate Celine on sharing her very private fertility story publicly because by doing so she helps those that don’t have fertility issues better understand how incredibly grueling and sensitive it is to go through such an ordeal. I often refer to Dr. Alice Domar’s findings in a Harvard study: Women who want children and are told they can’t have them react with the same level of stress and depression as those who are told they have cancer or AIDS. Yes, it’s that devastating.
Second, here’s what I think about women attempting to conceive in their forties: go for it! Yes, the statistics and odds are against you, but I believe we are not statistics. We are people, individuals, and we do have the power to make a difference in our own health – reproductive and otherwise. We can use mind-body techniques, such as Circle+Bloom’s beautiful program, to reduce stress and create calm, we can use visualizations to empower us, and we can eat the right foods to optimize our health. We can do acupuncture, meditate, take herbs and supplements and do yoga. And we can do IVF too if we choose. There is a lot we can do to make a difference for ourselves and set us apart from the average statistic. As a group we even have the power to change the statistics to something more positive over time!
But know up front that trying to conceive in your 40’s might not be easy. If it’s not, you have to decide for yourself how much you can take, and when enough is truly enough. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that guarantees pregnancy. I know of a woman who finally got pregnant with her 9th IVF, another with her 11th. They reached their dreams, but at what cost? How far do you feel you can go? I believe that decision is up to you and you alone.
When I was given a 2% chance of conceiving, I made a conscious decision not to listen to that number. It was unacceptable to me that I don’t get to have a child, so I set out to do everything in my power to fight the odds. I researched and went on a fertility diet, practiced yoga, meditated, did visualizations and took supplements. I simply flat-out believed I would have a child at some point, and four months later I conceived naturally at 40. I believed in myself and in my body to make a difference.
Looking back, I knew I wanted to be able to say I did everything I could, within my emotional and financial capacity. That way, when the time came, I could move forward without regret, knowing I had tried everything I could. Sometimes we don’t know our limits until they’re tested. In any case, I feel only you can decide when you’ve reached them.
So if Celine Dion wanted to keep doing IVFs until she reached her goal (and her husband agreed to it), more power to her. That was her choice. She understood the challenges she faced and chose to fight. It was a risk, but it was hers to take. Now she is blessed with enjoying the rewards.
© 2010 by Cindy Bailey of www.fertilekitchen.com