Things I've Learned While TTC
I've been on the TTC ( trying to conceive) journey for almost 2 years. What I know from all of my frantic google searches is that I am what doctors would officially call, infertile. It's a roller coaster of emotion; hope, and then disappointment. Everything is a symptom, or could be a symptom, or it's your head tricking you into thinking, this month I am pregnant. It gets even more emotional when you get a positive, and then soon after miscarry. TTC is truly not something I would wish on my worst enemy, but maybe on my worst days, I secretly do. That being said, I have recently had a breakthrough. Not because I got the little plus sign, but because I finally had a heart to heart with someone very close to me. And they did not sugar coat anything. Anything. Here are the things learned
1. You are not alone.
1 in 8 women struggle with infertility. That is more than I ever imagined when I first encountered challenges conceiving, and for a good reason. NO ONE likes to talk about it. Not that I blame anyone for choosing not to share. It has felt embarrassing at times, like my womanhood card has been revoked, living in a sea of pregnant women and babies. Not being able to identify with motherhood, pregnancy or labor, has been kind of akward especially considering my job as a doula. But I will find out every so often someone who has gone though infertility, or is going through it now, and it reminds me I am in good company. So say it again for the girls in the back! You are not alone, and not bearing children does not make you any less of a woman.
2. People are actually well meaning.
You know those conversations at church, a baby shower, a holiday get together. Those who have no idea that you are trying your absolute best to get pregnant, asking when you will get pregnant. It feels maddening to have to give an answer, the same answer every time. But it truly is unfair to expect someone to know your story, unless you share it. And if you share it to every Martha, Maud, and Mary, who asks, you might be there forever. Then there are people who might know your struggle and give you unsolicited advice. Again, remember they are well meaning. And phrases like "Oh it will happen" and "Just have patience" are well meaning words from someone who might not know what else to say. People want you to be happy, to be pregnant, and grow your family if you want to. No one is actively trying to keep that from happening.
3. Don't try so hard.
Yes I know, I am telling you to relax, but hear me out. If you, like me, have been trying for a while, you probably have an app to track you cycle, your BBT (basal body temperature), symptoms, your cervical mucous ( all that fun stuff). It's taxing and it's stressful to plan out sex, based on your calendar. And if you are doing this the traditional route, it's also stressful on your partner. To get out of your own head, that may mean (eek!) deleting the app, putting the thermometer away, and stop scheduling time for baby making. Maybe it will start being fun again. Stress has been my number one enemy on this journey, and I'm about to give it up. Wanna join me?
4. Life is miraculous.
Chances are that many of your friends have started their families while you have been trying unsuccessfully. Now that could cause you despair, but it could cause you to rejoice instead. You know by now that timing is really important when TTC. All things considered, getting pregnant is hard. At any given time in your cycle you have about 20% chance of getting pregnant. That increases around time of ovulation, but with the fertile window only being about 2-4 days, that's not much time to uh capitalize on the opportunity. When someone does beat the odds, it's really nothing short of a miracle. For some people it happens quickly, and for others to reach that secret recipe, it takes quite a while. However it happens, whenever it does, it's special. And our sadness, and bitterness, does not negate that.
5. Enjoy the now.
There is so much about my childless life that is so good, so simple, and so blissful, because I have yet to feel the pressures of parenthood. I have been able to be as committed as I want to work, to my husband, to friends, and anything else I want to do without guilt. I have pretty much full control of my time, which is something parents no longer have. I have control of my budget, and how I spend my money, because no one is begging for a new toy, or shoes, or needing to go for a checkup. And as much as I long for the added responsibility of a child, I have no idea how upside down my world can become. So now I will enjoy my husband, sleeping in as much as I want, having full (almost full) control of the remote, and knowing that no one is needing me to feed them. I know one day I will miss this, the simpler time in life, despite how much I love my future babies.
So dear friend trying to conceive, with all the tears you have shed, with all the heart aches, breaks, and all of the rage that may have crept into your soul, I want you to know, you are not alone. There are many of us, too weary to share our journey, but we are out there. I want to enjoy time with my husband, rather than making it a chore. And you know what? I still want children, and you probably still want them too, but the TTC game is one I have found I have very little control over, so I am going to enjoy the ride, while I can.