Interview with Holistic Health & Fertility Writer, Jess Pedersen

Recently, Co-editor Sharon posed some questions to Jess Pedersen of Be Mama Be Well to learn more about her work and support of women.

Sharon: What services do you provide to women?

Jess: I am currently studying Holistic Health Coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). I recently received my pre-certification to provide nutrition and health counseling and will receive my final certification in December 2012 from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. With that being said, the focus of my health coaching practice is infertility and women’s health. I will be providing one-on-one health coaching services and group workshops in and around the Pittsburgh area starting in September. I am actively sharing my knowledge about nutrition and fertility by blogging about holistic health on my own website, www.BeMamaBeWell.com, as well as serving as a contributor to other fertility focused sites, such as www.WithoutChild.com.

Holistic Health & Fertility Writer, Jess Pedersen

 

Sharon: Why did you choose this as your work?

Jess: I rode the “infertility roller coaster” for several years in my mid-thirties and wore the Advanced Maternal Age label during my two pregnancies. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in my twenties.

When I married my husband at the age of 33 I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to conceive. I made my rounds through the local fertility specialists, injected fertility drug cocktails into my abdomen, and eventually gave up on traditional medicine just before going down the IVF route. I found a Naturopath in my neighborhood that specialized in infertility. 

With changes to my diet and several other holistic protocols, I was pregnant within five weeks. It was miraculous.

That pregnancy ended at ten weeks and within eight months I was pregnant again. Sadly, that pregnancy ended at 26 weeks due to a condition called Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM). I won’t go into detail about my history, but my story can be found on this blog.  Although my husband and I chose not to attempt to conceive again, I was amazed that my body responded so well to the natural fertility methods and treatments. 

The ability to change my fertility and improve my health through nutrition was something that I felt compelled to share with other women dealing with the heartbreak of infertility. That experience led me to find IIN and start a new career in my forties as a holistic health coach.


Sharon:  What percentage of the women you are helping are age 35+ and seeking to conceive their their first child?


Jess:
Although I am not actively practicing yet, I am connecting with a lot of women regarding the topic of fertility nutrition. The majority of these women are over 35 and either struggling to conceive their first child or are experiencing secondary infertility while attempting to have a second child.


Sharon: Are many experiencing secondary infertility after successfully conceiving at age 35+? How are their experiences and attitudes different, if at all?


Jess:
Yes, secondary infertility is often an issue with women over 35. I know from personal experience that infertility is emotionally and physically challenging no matter why or when you experience it. But I have seen that this population of women has a unique frustration in that they don’t understand why they are struggling when they conceived easily the first time. They typically ask, “What is different now? What am I doing wrong?” No one likes being labeled by their doctor as infertile. But having this label after easily conceiving in the past is shocking to most women. 

Secondary infertility can also cause a lot of emotional pain because people tend to be less sympathetic toward couples who already have a child. These women often suffer privately and seek support only from their closest friends, family, and health practitioners.

Sharon: What, if anything do you see as different about the older mothers? This could be about their health or attitudes toward health and pregnancy.


Jess:
Older mothers are excellent at taking charge of their health and their pregnancies. They seek out practitioners that will help them reach their fertility and pregnancy goals. From my own personal experience, I had a “whatever it takes” attitude regarding my hope to become pregnant and was willing to make sacrifices, eliminate allergens from my diet, and follow strict protocols to reduce the symptoms of my PCOS and improve my chances of conception. This type of persistence exists in this community of women as well.

 

Sharon: Thinking about the questions that they ask you in person (or by phone or e-mail), what if anything is unique or thoughtful about their questions? Is there any wisdom in advanced maternal age?

 

Jess: I believe that women of all ages possess wisdom. Quite often people who experience difficult personal situations often come out on the other side with a strong sense of self and wisdom. I do believe, however, that it is more common for women to arrive at a place of personal acceptance and love in their mid-thirties. It’s a time in a woman’s life when the pressures to conform are lifted and she can feel comfortable creating her own path. I believe this is why the 35+ population of women have an easier time taking control of their health and taking action to reach their motherhood goals. Their questions are thoughtful and direct. They’ve taken the time to fully understand their fertility issues and are often seeking natural alternatives to either replace or supplement their existing medical treatments.

 

Sharon: What else can you share about your observations and interactions with women of age 35 or better?

 

Jess: Women in this age group are confident and secure about themselves and their goals for motherhood. They are willing to honor their bodies and understand the benefits of also taking time to nurture their minds and spirits during their journey to motherhood. They are likely to do whatever it takes to fulfill their parenting dreams – whether they decide to move forward with traditional fertility methods, seek natural approaches, or explore alternatives to pregnancy, such as surrogacy and adoption. Because of my personal experiences of infertility, pregnancy loss, and adoption, I feel a very close bond with women over 35 who are working hard to start or add to their families.

Jess’ Choice


Sharon: On a more personal note, when did you adopt your child? 


Jess
: I turned 39 while my husband and I were in Ethiopia to meet our son and bring him home. We are currently in the waiting phase of adopting a second child from Ethiopia. I’m 42 years old now and don’t expect baby #2 to come home for a couple of years. Having children in your forties certainly keeps you young!

 

Image courtesy of SofaBean (c) 2012 http://www.sofabean.com/

Jess Pedersen is a health writer and will soon be a certified coach specializing in helping women with unexplained infertility, PCOS, and hormone imbalances discover a holistic approach to improving their fertility and ability to conceive. Through her personal struggles with infertility and pregnancy loss, Jess has discovered her life’s purpose and is compassionate toward women who face the same uncertainty regarding their ability to have a family. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son. Her website: www.bemamabewell.com  Follow her on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/BeMamaBeWell
and Twitter: @BeMamaBeWell

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