Anyone who has ever struggled to get pregnant knows how much of a mindf*ck it can be. You start your cycle positive and excited, certain that this will be the month you conceive and, sadly, if it doesn’t work out, you end the month cursing your period and wondering what the h*ll went wrong.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and I have gone through it, twice. What I learned the second time around is that I made the situation worse by obsessing over certain things. At the time, I felt like so much was out of my control, but looking back, I realize that a lot of what I was anxious about was totally up to me.
If you are trying to get pregnant, give yourself a break and stop obsessing over the following:
How long does it take to get pregnant? 1. Timing
Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or are going through fertility treatments, it is easy to obsess over exactly where you are in your cycle. My temperature is going up! The ovulation kit says it’s time! According to this book/chart/nurse, this is our window of opportunity to conceive! We. Have. To. Do. It. Now. Sure, timing matters, but be mindful that obsessing over the absolute best timing can add extra pressure to you and your partner and can quickly take the sizzle out of sex and make it feel clinical, not fun.
2. All the things you should or shouldn’t do
Just google “how to get pregnant faster” or “what you shouldn’t do when trying to get pregnant” and you will see endless lists of things for women to worry about. These lists, while meant to be helpful, can add oodles of extra pressure and make women second-guess everything they are or aren’t doing, which can quickly lead to high levels of anxiety, stress and guilt. Not helpful.
3. When your due date might be
Surely I am not the only one who has jumped ahead and used one of those online pregnancy tools to determine when my potential due date would be based on the first day of my last period. I would get so excited (March 23! September 24!) However, time and time again, the pregnancy test was negative and it hurt that much more when those dates came and went with no positive pregnancy test and no baby. As tempting as it is to look ahead, let your doctor tell you when your anticipated due date is—once you are actually pregnant. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
4. Whether you should cancel plans during your two-week wait
“Well, I can’t go to the party—they will notice if I am not drinking” and “I shouldn’t commit to that weekend away with the girls just in case” are things I used to say to myself. Sure, drinking might off limits, but don’t put your life on hold because you might be pregnant. Honestly, social gatherings and fun outings may be just what you need right now. Cancelling plans over a possible pregnancy is unnecessary, and if months go by and you are still trying to get pregnant, you will look back and realize how much you missed out on. #HaveNoRegrets
5. Possible pregnancy symptoms
Hmmm, my breasts feel tender. Ugh, I feel nauseous this morning. These could be signs of pregnancy, or they could be signs your period is arriving shortly or you’re car sick. Many possibly pregnant women have spent hours online late at night searching pregnancy symptoms in hopes that those twinges indicate they are expecting. It’s easy to become obsessed over every little physical symptom. The best way to know for sure is at the end of the two-week wait when your period arrives or doesn’t, you take a pregnancy test or get confirmation from a doctor.
6. What all the books say
When I was trying to get pregnant the second time around, I must have read more than 20 books on fertility in hopes of finding the cause (and possible fix) for my unexplained secondary infertility. I read about other women’s experiences, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, fertility treatments, diets that might help, and so much more. While I learned a lot, at times the advice was overwhelming, confusing and left me feeling mentally exhausted. The books also gave me more things to obsess over. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the advice, put away the books and listen to your body.
7. Other people’s results
“Did you see Lila’s adorable baby announcement on Instagram?” Nowadays, it is easier than ever to keep up with what everyone one is doing — and how their families are growing. Don’t compare your experience to others. Try to be optimistic for yourself and supportive of others. And if you find the online gender reveals and pregnancy photo shoots on Facebook are making you green with envy, perhaps embrace a digital detox for a while.