From this week on, I’ll be posting every Tuesday under the tag ‘TTC Tuesday’. I felt a little hesitant at first when I decided to start this series of posts. Why? Because only a few people are aware of the situation, and because it’s a very sensitive subject to me. Then again, I may eventually help, or inspire other women in similar situations.
Only a few people know that we’ve been trying for a baby for quite some time now. Some people think we’ve only just started, but admitting we’ve been ‘failing’ so far, was too difficult. The fact is, that this is our 13th month of our TTC (trying to conceive) journey. Apparently, this places us under the category ‘couples with fertility problems’. I wish we weren’t part of this label, but here we are – still trying.
I don’t even really know where to begin. This journey has been a rollercoaster, I can tell you that much. It started all very exciting: researching pregnancy related information, downloading apps to track down my cycles, buying OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) and even an ovulation thermometer.
The first few months, I felt very optimistic. After all, how many couples do actually get pregnant from the first time, right? There have been a few moments that I was really close to giving up. Especially one cycle, a few months ago. Seriously, I had all the symptoms of a pregnancy and… I was 3 days late. I am never late, ever! So I really believed that that was our month. Even hubby was super positive about it as he had been witnessing all these symptoms too. I did several tests, one each day I was late – all negative. For a few months after that, I didn’t test anything – no OPKs and no temping. At this stage, I kinda knew how my cycles were going anyway, and I felt a lot less stressed.
Now I’m seeing a kinesiologist to re-balance my hormones, and we’ve booked an appointment with a gp for some tests and/or a referral to the gynaecologists or fertility clinic. And although it’s sometimes challenging, I am trying to remain as positive as possible and have faith that everything will work out.
If you’re in a similar situation, and you feel overwhelmed and stressed out about it all, here’s some tips that may hopefully help you:
* Express your feelings and understand they are normal – talk to your partner/husband about your feelings, or a good friend/relative. If you feel this is not an option, keep a journal. I don’t mean a journal in which you record all your possible pregnancy symptoms, as this will just stress you out even more. Instead, write down everything you’re feeling. Your journal won’t judge you, so express all emotions and thoughts. They’re better out on paper than piling up in your head.
* Be kind to yourself – especially when (again) someone announces she’s expecting and you feel torn between feeling happy or jealous, excited or angry. Of course, you are happy for them! You just wish you could reply with: ‘Hey, I’m pregnant too!’. It’s all normal to feel this way. And again, your journal may be a really good outlet. If you feel angry, try hitting the pillows on your bed. Sounds silly, I know, but it feels so much better afterwards.
* Let go of symptom spotting – I know, this one is really challenging! If only time would go by in a normal pace during those last 14 days of your cycle, but no… they creep by! I find now that I’m working almost full time, I can ‘forget’ about it more, but the days that I’m sitting at home are more challenging. Try to go out and do some fun stuff (and don’t focus too much on all the pregnant women out there), read a book, or find something creative to do. The beach always seems to be a good distraction for me. Find something you love that is not ttc related.
* Get reassurance – if you’ve been trying for quite some time now, you may start thinking that your body is just not capable of conceiving, and you may begin to blame yourself (or your partner/husband). If this is the case, talk to an expert and have some tests done. You may be stressing for absolutely nothing. If those tests reveal there are indeed problems, remember there may be several options available for you to still conceive.
* Regain your faith – whenever a cycle turns out to be unsuccessful, you may feel as if you’ve lost a baby you never had in the first place. It may sound funny to everybody else, but when you’re in the ttc-journey, it is very common to feel sad and to grieve. Go through these emotions, acknowledge they are there, and whenever you’re ready (which I find is usually around cycle day 3) remind yourself of the new chance you are being given. You’re allowed to stumble, just remember to get up again.
I know, it’s easy to write this list down, but it’s harder to actually live it and follow these guidelines. They’re tips that I found have helped me get this far, but now and again, I do have to remind myself as well (yes, I too can get carried away). Mostly, whenever I’m down, I turn to my hubby. If there’s one person out there who wants this as much as I do, it’s him, so I know he understands.
Does anybody else have some more tips on how to deal with long ttc-journeys? You’re more than welcome to share them.
Or if you have some questions you’d like me to answer, feel free to write them in the comments below.