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My New Normal

My health story, from PCOS, infertility & stomach problems... to 4 kids and feeling great.

Curious to know how I got onto this road of pursuing more healthy, natural living? This is my story:

Hi friends,

You know, back when I first started Keeper of the Home (seven years ago… can you believe it?), I shared a lot of my personal story. But our readership has changed and grown so much over the years that I got to thinking… how many of our current readers really know where I’m coming from and how our lifestyle changes have truly changed my own life?

12 years ago, I was sitting in a doctor’s office. My cycle had become incredibly irregular, skipping up to six months at the longest stretch. I knew it wasn’t normal, so there I sat, waiting for the results from the myriad of tests I’d been through.

The moment that changed everything

The diagnosis? The doctor flatly told me I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, a hormonal disorder that would likely render me infertile and could lead to a number of other serious complications down the road. Her solution was to stick me on birth control pills, and have me come in for fertility drugs when I wanted to attempt to get pregnant (even though it was unlikely that I actually could get pregnant if I tried).

“Couldn’t I do something about it?” I asked in desperation. “Can’t I change how I eat, exercise more, get healthier?” Unsympathetically, she told me no, this was how my body worked and I would have to deal with it.

At the tender age of 21, those words came as a suckerpunch. I was totally unprepared for that. And, as I left her office in shock, unwilling to agree with her conclusions, I determined to prove her wrong. That was the day that my quest to take charge of my health became real and vivid and urgent.

Baby stepping my way to better health

The next year or two were spent making small changes, taking baby steps. I gradually learned a little more about nutrition, and realized that my highly processed, refined, nutrient-deficient, and sugar-filled diet was seriously hurting me.

I realized the debilitating stomach pains of Irritable Bowel Syndrome that I experienced on a weekly and sometimes daily basis were also diet related. I began to gradually cut out the bad foods, add more of the good ones, change my picky taste buds, and continue to learn more as I went along.

Success came slowly, but surely. I lost weight. My skin cleared up a lot. I began to have more energy. My cycles began to return, not completely regular, but a far cry from how bad things had been. The awful stomach pains went away as I took a two year hiatus from dairy to let my gut heal.

Eventually, after marrying the man of my dreams, I got the biggest shock of all. I was pregnant. Without resorting to fertilty drugs. It was the most beautiful miracle I could have hoped for, and worth every moment of pushing past my comfort zone as I intentionally made changes to what I ate and how I lived.

smaller steph with kepler on top of bat mountain

How I got from there to here

The moral of the story is that those first years where I stumbled and fumbled around, moving generally in the direction of better health, somehow turned into 12 years, where my convictions and skills and habits have gotten increasingly stronger, as has my body.

Today I know so much better how to care for myself, and for the health of my family, with our precious little tribe of five (that’s right, doctor, count em’ — I’ve got five babies now!).

I know what it is to hate vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other wholesome foods. I know what it is to be completely addicted to sugar and caffeine. I know what it is to have meals that flop and turn out to be disgusting messes. I know what it looks like and feels like to travel down the unknown road towards taking back your health, and wanting it so badly that you’ll embrace the mistakes and failures and inedible meals if it means you keep traveling in the right direction.

What’s your story?

Can you relate to my story? What healthy struggles and challenges have you faced in your life, and do you continue to face to this day? What diagnosis has devastated you or your family, as you wonder how you will ever overcome something so daunting?

I want to hear your stories. I want you to share them. And I want us to talk together, boldly, honestly, realistically, about what it means to grasp hope by the hand and move forward towards the promise of better health, for you and your loved ones.

Thanks for listening to my story. I can’t wait to learn more about yours.

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One Comment

  1. I have PCOS too, I miss carried my baby right after getting married, then went 2 years before finally finding out my disagnosis. I am learning how to eat, how to exercise, and to control my body. Thank you for sharing your story, it gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to have a baby.

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