Icing on the Cake

Let me back up a bit here…. I forgot to mention something that happened last December

Christmas 2015

Christmas Day last year my brother calls to let me know that they are expecting their second child! It’s been just over one year since their first child was born (her birthday is December 6th) and this one was a SURPRISE. Apparently my sweet sister in law did not think she could get pregnant while she was still breast feeding… Oops! Apparently she had suspected for a while she was pregnant, but didn’t tell my brother right away. She put a pregnancy test in his stocking for Christmas. Cute.

It’s difficult for me to explain my feeling about this. On one hand, I was happy for them. A baby is always exciting news. On the other, I was having my own struggles to get pregnant and to hear that someone got pregnant ‘accidentally’ was tough. On yet another hand (I had to grow a few extra hands for this scenario), aside from my own struggles with it, my brother was not exactly expecting to have another child so fast, and while he wasn’t upset, he was definitely stressed-out about finances and so I felt bad for him and this sudden unplanned pregnancy. On an additional hand, I thought my SIL was a bit of an idiot for believing that she couldn’t get pregnant, and I blamed her home-school education for her ignorance (though public school education is also severely lacking in sex-ed in a lot of places too). Also, part of  me was a bit suspicious that she wanted to get pregnant again so soon but knew my brother wouldn’t go for it, so perhaps this was a sneaky plot on her part more than a total accident. I also found it suspicious that when she told my brother on Christmas, she said that she had expected she might be pregnant for a while but wasn’t sure (turns out she was about 4 months in by then!!!!!). Wouldn’t you tell your husband if you thought you were pregnant for the last 4 months?? And wouldn’t you take a test immediately? It just didn’t totally make sense to me that this was a complete surprise.

So needless to say I had a lot of weird feelings floating around about the whole thing. I really did want the best for them. It was just hard for me to not compare myself to my sister in law. For one, she is quite a bit younger than me. She was 25 and I was 31 at the time. Not a huge difference, but she still seemed pretty young while I felt like the clock was ticking. Also, she’s not a terribly healthy person. She is thin, but she never exercises. I don’t know what kind of diet she follows but I think she pretty much eats what she wants (though definitely not in excess). I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person. I exercise regularly and definitely pay attention to my eating (sometimes better than others, of course). So again, it wasn’t adding up to me that she should be able to get pregnant so easily and me not.

In fact, this was a thing that would bother me ever so often. I wasn’t always upset when I’d see that other people were pregnant. Seeing most other people pregnant did not bother me at all, and I seemed to be seeing them everywhere. What did sometimes bother me was when I’d see a visibly unhealthy person pregnant or with their newborn baby. I am sure you’ve seen them too: very overweight, baby in one arm and giant soda in the other. When I’d see those moms I would get a bit agitated. Why do unhealthy people get to have a child and I don’t! In some ways, it still doesn’t totally make sense to me. But I guess our evolution hasn’t caught up with modern day unhealthy lifestyles to prevent the ability to procreate in unhealthy individuals (not that I would wish infertility on anyone!). In fact, having extra body fat and a sedentary life was probably at one point in our evolution as humans considered to be more ideal for carrying a child.

My sister in law does not have extra body fat, she’s quite thin. But she definitely leads a sedentary life of little activity. So I didn’t know what to think as I was gaining weight from my lack of activity (with my foot injury) and worried that gaining too much would decrease my fertility. So what I learned is that things sometimes just don’t make any sense, and the more we try to control every little aspect of our lives, the less control we actually have.

I would definitely not recommend giving up exercise and activity as a means of boosting fertility. I am convinced that there is very little we can do to change our personal fertility. There are no magic supplements, or levels of activity, or lifestyles that have much effect on our fertility at all. If you are struggling with fertility, it is not your fault. There is not something more or less you need to be doing to change your circumstances. I tried all of them, and felt no change. My only advice would be to seek answers from professionals. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us and we just need the proper tools to find it. Not everyone who meets with a fertility specialist will get answers, but it’s probably more effective than trying to figure everything out and control it on your own.

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