“TTC? I am very fertile.” She said. “If I wanted, I could get pregnant today.”

That was a friend of mine, before I got married, before I was even thinking of babies. I was impressed. I had never thought of having babies (yes, it happens) so I figured everyone was like that. I didn’t even think twice about it, when I got engaged, I started planning about how not to fall pregnant (in my mind I was also very fertile).

A few months before the wedding I started taking the pill. When you are about to get married, you get all sorts of advice from everyone. So I had been advised to start taking the pill early so that my body gets used to it and so that I don’t get any ‘oopsie’ honeymoon babies. So naive me did just that.

A year later I decided I was ready for a baby and I stopped the pill. Imagine my shock when 20 days after my period I was still spotting. The dr’s solution? Go back on the pill. I smiled and left his office and never went back. He wasn’t being helpful. I decided I would do it on my own. One thing I learnt, hormonal family planning methods mess up your own hormones and when you stop taking them, they are still in your body. People are different and some people will not struggle to get rid of the excess hormones while most of us need to work at getting our bodies hormone free.

I honestly did not know what to do. I thought a prayer would work so that is exactly what I did. I also realised that I had gained weight (the horror!). I weighed close to 20kg more than I did when I got married, this was only a year and a bit later! 20kg! How do you get rid of that? In my body’s defense, I was not eating well. I was eating very rich and fatty food all the time. Well, I did what I could, started walking and eating well. I lost a bit but not as much as I wanted so I upped the pace. I did not think I could run so I just started walking further. It worked, I lost 10 kg and started feeling better.

I also developed a very thick skin for dealing with people who though mean well, stress you with questions like “When are you going to have a baby?”. When you are TTC, you do not want the extra stress.

I was still spotting non stop (4 months later) so I decided to go to a gynae. If you can avoid it, don’t go to a general doctor for ‘women’ issues. Gynae was very helpful and I fell inlove with him immediately. He did tests and gave me something to stop the bleeding and promised me I would be pregnant in 3 months or less. If not, I should call him :-). Optimistic neh? Well, the bleeding stopped for 3 months and then came back. It wasn’t as much as before, but it was still there. I was tired of hormones and I decided I would try the natural route.

Always remember, different things work for different people. Side effects are very real so when you start new medication, especially when you are self diagnosing look out for side effects. After reading a bit online and looking at my budget, I decided to start small, plus, most of the things I was reading about I could not find locally.

I still did not understand half the things I was reading, I bought EPO, Evening Primrose Oil and flaxseed oil. I did not know how it would work and I was very skeptical but if anything I wanted the spotting to stop. The month I started taking the two, I had a real period, after 9 months. It was horrible and so painful but when it was done, I was relieved that the spotting had stopped. I was impressed and started taking the two. 7 months later I started feeling tired and sluggish, I took a test and guess what? Over a year of TTC, I was pregnant.

EPO and flaxseed oil worked for me, but it may not work for you. You may not need them. Remember to get a gynae to look at you before you start trying to conceive and let him know if you are taking any herbal supplements. And remember that the journey may be short or long when you are TTC.

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