I am a part of a group of women, that are often referred to as TTC (trying to conceive). In my opinion it should be called STC, struggling to conceive, because after all this time, the trying has become exhausting. From the moment my partner and I decided that we wanted to have children, I was so excited by the possibility of motherhood. As months passed, it seemed to me that everyone was getting pregnant and having babies except me. It didn’t help that every time I logged onto Facebook, there was another friend posting pictures of her growing belly, or colleagues posting monthly milestones of their young children. While the visits to the fertility doctor increased, my anger, frustration and sadness did as well. I spent so much of my life trying not to get pregnant that I never anticipated just how hard it would be to get pregnant. All my life I have set goals for myself and worked my butt off to achieve them. To date, there have been surgeries and miscarriages but no baby. This, by far, feels like my biggest failure and each month it becomes harder to even try.
So why do I keep trying? I ask myself every 28 days and the answer is always hope. I am hopeful that I will be a mother. Every month is a new chance for a miracle to happen and don’t miracles happen every day?
Aside from hope, I have found that the following strategies have helped me continue on this journey:
1. Stop taking advice. I do believe that people offer me advice with the best intentions, but if one more person tells me “it will happen once you stop trying” … It’s hard not to think about ‘trying’ since you can’t hide from your cycle. Each month you get that friendly reminder that you are not pregnant. I restrict my advice taking to my fertility doctor. I did the research and found the best doctor for me and I trust him. He knows more about this topic than any of my well intentioned friends and family.
2. Check in on your partner. Remember you are not alone in this process. As a woman, you experience the physical aspects of trying to conceive but your partner experiences the loss and frustration too. I try to make the effort to nourish my relationship with my husband. Having and being a supportive partner definitely helps with the difficult periods.
3. It’s okay to say no. I have started to say no to baby showers and kids’ birthdays and not feel guilty about it. A friend will understand that these situations can be very painful for you. You can still support your friends from a distance, while protecting your own feelings.
4. Take time to grieve. Whether it was the onset of my period after trying the previous month or the signs of a miscarriage, I have learned the importance of taking my time to grieve the situation. My journal has been a blessing in letting me release whatever feeling it is I need to release. I do recommend however, not letting this consume you. Give yourself a time limit and move on. I don’t want the negative feelings to affect the rest of my life. I still have to go to work and be good at my job. I still have to be a good wife, sister, daughter and friend.
5. Find Support. I honestly have mixed feelings about this. Firstly, I am a private person. Sharing what I consider repeated failures with others is very hard for me. There is still so much stigma and shame associated with miscarriages and infertility. Many people in my inner circle don’t know about my miscarriages. On the other hand, I have visited various blogs and websites dedicated to infertility and I’ve anonymously shared thoughts and feelings with other women, and found it very helpful. I suppose like everything else discussed you have to do what you think is best for you.
At the end of the day, my hope and my faith allow me to believe that in some fashion I will be a mother one day. For other women in a similar situation, I pray that you find your own hope and faith to guide you through this journey.