Trying to conceive is exhausting and a rollercoaster of emotions; you’re happy and excited one moment, and feeling your lowest just hours later. It may not be like that every day, but for me, it certainly felt like it sometimes.
There were various things I struggled with throughout our journey of trying to conceive which sometimes you can feel like you’re the only one – especially when I compare myself to those I know who fell pregnant after their first rodeo or within the first couple months. So, let’s discuss the struggles you face when trying to conceive, based on my experience.
Normally I’d leave the main point till last, but it’s important to point this out right away. We’re human, we stress, but when trying for a baby I found myself stressing over minor, trivial things like:
- Forgetting to take my temperature before getting out of bed
- Not taking my supplements on the dot due to being in a meeting
- Whether I’m using ovulation tests correctly
- Whether that 2-second cramp-like feeling down below was a sign of ovulation
- Is that one sip of my husband’s beer going to destroy my entire chance of conceiving this month?
Stress related to trying to conceive literally consumes you. But the more you read into “best practices” and “how to conceive faster”, one key thing all articles point out is, DON’T STRESS – much easier said than done.
On top of general stress that trying to conceive brings on, I also suffer with health anxiety. Since we started trying, my anxiety worsened and led me to believe I was infertile and unable to carry. To help push those negative thoughts aside, I booked us a private fertility assessment to reassure me everything is fine and I’m not infertile. Did that work? Of course it bloody didn’t.
It’s like the clinic handed me a reverse Uno card and instead of saying, “Kayleigh, you’re perfectly healthy and nothing alarming is going on”, they diagnose me with adenomyosis and imply that there’s a chance I may struggle to conceive naturally, with very little information thereafter. After talking through everything with my own doctor however, I felt more at ease and that we had a plan.
Understanding your cycle
I thought I had a good understanding of my cycle and the reproductive system before ttc, but once I started reading into the best ways to track your cycle, so much new information was thrown our way. Tracking my basal body temperature (BBT), doing OPKs and symptom spotting, ensuring you’re eating the right foods etc. What also doesn’t help is that all the articles, books, websites, podcasts, videos and so on, all share information based on a normal 28-day cycle where you ovulate bang on cycle day 14. Hardly any resources touch on the different cycles that can still be perfectly normal and fertile, such as a 32+ day cycle and experiencing late ovulation.
This brings me back to the health anxiety issue. Not being able to find my scenario in these ‘textbook’ examples made me worry more that it’s because my cycle was something of concern and needed medical help. It seems ridiculous looking back to think I genuinely believed I was infertile at one point, but it’s a difficult journey that plays on your mind a lot.
The insane emotions when Aunt Flo arrives
This hit me harder than I thought it would, to the point where I was reduced to tears each time my period arrived. My husband had the laid-back mentality of, “It’s fine, it’ll happen, this just wasn’t our month” which I will always appreciate the optimistic approach. But when you’re the one battling PMS, hormones and anxiety, it’s very difficult to have the same positive outlook.
The first couple months I wasn’t emotional, I was just frustrated and panicked that it was another failed cycle. After that, I just let my emotions get the better of me and I’d cry all day long on the day of my period: in between meetings, in the bathroom and even when trying to eat dinner. That’s when I knew it started to impact my husband too, as I knew seeing me react this way made the torment of another failed cycle far more upsetting than when we first began.
Taking too many pregnancy tests for the “just in case”
I would be testing from around 7 days post ovulation (dpo) and even when my period arrived, just in case it was actually an implantation bleed. It was becoming expensive, but also adding to my increased anxiety. In the end I made my husband hide all pregnancy tests and only he could hand me one the day before or the day my period was due.
Mentioning “baby” in every conversation with my husband
In the early months, we didn’t tell anyone we were trying. Even when I was diagnosed with adenomyosis and we were referred to a fertility specialist, we still kept it under wraps. With the fact that I was struggling mentally, I didn’t want that added pressure.
I knew we made the right decision not to tell anyone else at the time, but because of that I felt like all I ever spoke about was baby stuff to my husband. He was never frustrated with the constant topic of conversation, he just didn’t know how to help distract me and stop me from fretting. So, in the end I confided in my twin sister and two close friends. This was a huge help for me – we wouldn’t speak often about it, but knowing there’s someone else there who I could go to other than my husband, felt like a weight off my shoulders.
Dealing with others asking, “when are you having a baby?”
I wrote a post on why you should never ask when someone is having a baby. Once you’ve been trying to conceive, whether it’s been one month or one year, it’s bloody tough to cope with this question.
This is the downside to not telling friends and family you’re trying for a baby. If you were to tell everyone, you could lay down the rules and ask that no one bring up baby talk, and leave it to you to bring up when you feel comfortable. Instead, by keeping it quiet it’s difficult to ask without implying that it’s because you’re trying. I’m normally pretty good at hiding my emotions, but this was one question I really found a struggle – sometimes it felt like a stab in the back when it got asked and I’d feel myself tense up and instantly want to go home and cry.
What did you struggle with most when trying to conceive?