Maybe I haven’t know the details of “how” all this stuff works all my life. But once I hit adulthood I figured that the mechanics were enough. Turns out not so much.
For many couples the struggle to conceive is just that, a struggle. It’s stressful, and painful, emotionally, mentally and physically. I count ourselves lucky, Hubs is a pretty solid reliable guy who doesn’t really let this kind of stuff phase him. But for me, when we were trying for our first I was freaking out left right and centre.
I had waited all my life to be a Mom, I was ready. I read the books, the websites, the details on everything from what to expect in pregnancy, and childbirth to postpartum recovery and knew all things parenting and how to be that “relaxed Mom”.
Trouble was my body hadn’t clued in.
Now if you are dealing with a fertility issue I feel for you, I do. I seriously wish you a short wait and a happy healthy baby in quick order. But you likely know what your chances are of that so I’m not going to give you some blase advice
What I will say is find your support system to help you through this. Someone that will stand with you and listen instead of advise, and be there for you.
The Mental Impact of Trying to Conceive
When all is well the mental impact of trying to conceive is rather exciting. At some point in the month as a woman you may start to feel the symptoms that you are no longer alone in your body. New sensations and feelings can crop up and if your emotions are out of whack it can be a sign that things are awesome in the baby department. And blessedly you get these 2 little lines (or what ever your test says is positive) and off you go into the world of parenthood.
But how many months do you wait hoping that this time there will be a positive? That this time there will be baby in development and the joys of parenthood are there for the taking?
I waited most of my life for that moment.
I knew when I was a kid that I was meant to be a Mom. That little ones would crowd around me asking for things and looking to me to help them grow up. If you had asked me how many I had 9 kids picked out by the time I was 6, and no that didn’t change as I got older (though I didn’t always tell people that number when they asked)
By the time I was in my 20’s I knew I had to find the right guy to be their father. By 30 I had found him, and at 31 we were married and had decided to try.
Nothing prepared me for the next 2 years of waiting, mentally calculating where I was in my cycle, timing intimacy to try and catch the egg at the right point. The stress of taking test after test in order to see if we were finally expecting our little one.
It’s amazing how something like this will weigh on you mentally
At one point I stoped eating, stopped going out with friends. I got so obsessed with our journey to conception that I could talk about nothing else.
My hair started to fall out
I was constantly cranky and angry, after all you hear so often about other people who got pregnant when they did everything possible to avoid it.
And there I was doing all the things any suggested I could do to try and get pregnant and nothing was working.
The stress and anguish took over my mind and would not let me go.
The things I learned while Trying to Conceive
I belive that every experience is a learning experience. And while in the middle of it I was not so grateful looking back I can see much personal growth and wether you’re in the middle of it right now, or it’s in your rear view mirror. If you struggle for months, years or even just weeks there is so much we fight for in these moments.
Looking back on my own journey these are the things I learned about infertilty and the struggle many couples go through.
It feels lonely, even when it’s not.
Remember that awesome hubs I told you about? Yeah, mine was with me all the way through the whole process. But I still felt alone for most of it. It’s lonely when you sneak a pregnancy test with hope in your heart and hide the result when it comes back negative yet again.
It’s lonely in our heads where we beat ourselves up over all the things we think we “should” be doing but aren’t. And if you’re like me and know that it is actually your body that has stopped functioning even if only in a way that prevents regular cycles, it gets lonely when you feel broken in a way you don’t know how to fix.
But most of the time when we are on this journey we have partners with us, we have loved ones rooting for us, and their hearts break for us each month along side ours. And depending on where in your journey you are, you may have Doctors and nurses that live and breathe for our success too.
The relationships that matter will get stronger
Fertility struggles change a person, some times temporarily, some times long term. It can make you jealous, and selfish, and even irritated when someone complains to you about their kids, or pregnancy.
It can make you a recluse as you find it hard to enjoy other people’s happieness in their children/babies. Solid relationships will forgive you for this. Weak ones will break.
It will test your strength
Long term trying to conceive will test you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. There will be bad days when you rant and rave at anything, everything and everyone including yourself and God.
There were days where I laughed and joked about infertility, others where I hid under the blankets and bawled my eyes out certian that I would never get to feel the joy of carying my own baby.
And lets be honest the medication doesn’t always help your mental or emotional state either… lets just say I’m sure Mr. B. was more then happy when I finally got off certian medication because the mood swings settled down.
Trying to Conceive is All Consuming
Even in our relatively short journey of 2 years and using medication to force ovulation taught me a heck of a lot of medical jargon.
Not to mention, all the details about the exact way that babies are made, I’m not talking about the sex-ed version either. You will know the names of parts of your anatomy that you’ve never really thought about before.
How long certain cells can survive and what the “optimal conditions” are for a variety of things you’ve likely never thought to consider before.
You will get to know more about your body in particular then you’ve ever expected. You’ll be amazed at what it can do, and could freak out over what it isn’t doing that you wish it would.
You will chart your cycles, temperatures, blood flows, vitmain intakes, water, callories consumed you name it. If it’s trackable and may link back to helping you conceive you’ll have a chart for it. And you’ll check it constantly to see where you are in your rythms.
Make sure you hang out with people who are ok with this topic poping up in your conversations. Because it will, you want ones who won’t roll their eyes at you for turning down alcohol, wether it’s your first or fifth glass of wine. And keep people who tell you to “relax” about your conception fears to a minimum. Because right now, jumping this hurdle feels like, and some times is, more that a full-time job.
You’ll do pretty much ANYTHING to Conceive
It’s like a Mamma Bear protecting her cubs, no task is off limits if it keeps that baby safe. You will jump the highest building, race the fastest car, swim the deepest ocean.
There is nothing you won’t do to get to your child.
Eat Pineapply daily even though it makes you throw up? – yep
Wear socks to bed in the middle of summer?
Try acupuncture, medication, yoga, pilaties? Or just diet to loose as much weight as you can?
Track your body temperature, and mucous out put?
Take Birth Control? Wait isn’t that supposed to STOP you from getting pregnant?
And if you had told me to lock myself in a room full to bursting with the most scratchy, itchy fabric in the world and roll around in it until I was black and blue from a reaction, I would have done that too.
Anything just to pass that test.
In the end we each have our own journey in trying to conceive, it doesn’t matter how long or what you are doing at this time. It’s your journey. There is help out there. And I hope you take the comfort where you can, and find the support you need.
Because Mamma, you deserve it. You are fighting for your child, even if they are not here right now. You are a Mamma, and you have the heart of a Mamma Bear.
And I’ll tell you a secret. It’s tottaly worth the anguish, the exhaustion, and the heart ache. I know, because we are doing it all again, and the stuggle is just as challenging now as it was the first time.