Bump Squad mama Courtney shares her journey towards safer products while trying to conceive.
I'll never forget the feeling of wanting a baby so badly and feeling like it was never going to happen for me again. I know it sounds dramatic, but for any woman who has desperately yearned for her womb to carry a baby, it's one of the most empty, hopeless feelings a person can experience. That's why I decided to make the switch. The switch, you say? I'll get to that in a moment, but first let me give you a little background to my story.
About 5.5 years ago, I struggled with something called Secondary Infertility. It's the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby. I never even knew this was a thing until it became my reality. When my husband and I got married, we knew that we wanted to start trying to grow our family right away. We never suspected we would have any issues in that department, given I had my daughter many years prior, even though she had a different father.
We initially tried for about 10 months before I brought it up to my OBGYN that we weren't having luck. I had been keeping track of my cycle, following the rules, so-to-speak, of actively trying for a baby. She informed me that most of the time they didn't refer patients to a fertility specialist until they've been actively trying for at least 12 months, but given that I had already had a child, she suggested we have my husband's sperm checked. He went through the process and we found out his sperm could be a little better, but it wasn't enough to cause fertility issues. He decided to begin taking a fertility blend supplement to see if that improved his sperm for his next checkup and within a few months, everything looked perfect on his end. However, we still were not pregnant. I couldn't help but begin to question everything. Why was my body failing me? Am I not worthy enough to have more children? I became pretty depressed. Everyone around me was seemingly getting pregnant without any issues, and while I was so happy for each and every one of them, it brought me further down.
At that point, I began to see a fertility specialist to get all the diagnostic tests done to see why I wasn't getting pregnant. Test after test, everything was coming back normal, but yet, no baby. We moved onto the next step of starting Clomid, a medication used to stimulate ovulation. I was responding really well to the Clomid, but unfortunately formed a large cyst on my ovary and had to back off the medication. The doctor I was seeing wanted to do another round of the Clomid, once the cyst had resolved, and then to an IUI (Intrauterine insemination). While I wanted a baby in the worst way, I was not convinced this was the only way to end up at our goal. We decided that we wanted to see a different doctor for a second opinion, but unfortunately she had a very long waiting list to get in. It was at that point we decided to stop trying and look into other natural options that could help with our fertility issues.
During that time, a close friend of mine had recommended I watch a documentary called The Human Experiment, which explores the chemicals found in everyday household products. I was completely horrified to hear about how everything around me could be having such a harmful impact on my body and the way it functions. They even touched on that fact that infertility issues in healthy young couples has increased dramatically over the years. It was then that I began researching the personal care products (such as my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, etc.) I was using through the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep data base.
Literally, everything I was using contained so many chemicals and ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors, cause organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), cancer, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity, etc. These products were wreaking havoc on my body, including my reproductive organs. I knew I needed to make a change, immediately. I began replacing all my personal care products, switching out the laundry products and cleaning products.
See EWG’s Skin Deep Database scores for Dove brand deodorant here.
Wondering how Caress Body Wash scores on EWG? Click here.
Bath and Body Works has not voluntarily submitted their products to EWG’s Skin Deep Database at this time.
I even began making some of my own products as safer alternatives. Within a month of "making the switch", we discovered we were PREGNANT! I never even had to see the new fertility doctor. The following year, after my son was born I began looking into safe baby products. This was when I discovered Earth Mama Organics (formerly Earth Mama Angel Baby)! And, even better it was the best rated product on the EWG website! There was no doubt about which products I'd be using for my little bundle of joy (and future babes).
We firmly believe that by removing the harmful products from our home and replacing them with safe and natural products that it played a huge part in our fertility journey. We've been blessed with two other children, plus one on the way since making the switch, and never experienced any issues conceiving since. I know this isn't a magical cure for all that are experiencing fertility issues, but I truly believe it helped my body to be a healthy home for our long awaited baby. My heart goes out to all the women who are still waiting for the baby they've dreamed about their whole lives. It is such a hard and often lonely journey to be on. Please do not lose hope. Sending all the love and baby dust your way!