Trying to conceive. I want to preface all of this with letting you all know that I am, by no means, writing this post with the intention of seeking sympathy, pity, or for anything from anyone really. I am writing this as a mechanism for coping with emotions that I'm not used to dealing with. I am writing this to reach out to others that have or are currently struggling to conceive. I am writing this as an invitation for you to share your success stories or your stories of struggle, and to help normalize the fact that there is no normal route to conception. Everyone's story is different, and that's ok. So please share your story to me, to your family, to your friends, and get some information out there. Information is powerful. Knowledge is empowering. So let's spread some.
Tomorrow marks the one year point for Shawn and I on our pregnancy journey. The picture above is from when we went on a cruise almost a year ago, SO SURE that it was going to be the month we would make a baby. I wish I could say this process has been all rainbows and butterflies, but it hasn't. I wish I could post cute photos and tell all my friends and family that it finally happened! That we are going to have a baby! But we're not. At least not yet.
Before I get into it deep, I want my pregnant friends to know that I am still ELATED for you. I never want someone to feel like their happiness or success drags me down or is a reminder of my failure. Rather, the opposite is true. Watching others' success reminds me that the end goal can and will be achieved. I love seeing my friends go through such a beautiful, difficult, miraculous thing, and I know that one day I will be there too. The telling of my struggles and my journey so far is meant to let my fellow #TTC club members know that there are plenty of us out there dealing with the same obstacles and emotions, and that there are ways to get through it. I'm praying for each of you to get through this with success. I'm sending out positive pregnancy vibes to everyone out there who has stared down at that negative pregnancy test and shed a tear (or many). And I am passing out virtual hugs to all my TTC sisters that just need one of those right now. You. Are. Not. Alone.
The past year has been tough. Last April, I was so excited, because we were finally ready. I kept picturing this small human that was equal parts me and equal parts Shawn, and I couldn't imagine my life without being able to experience that. Shawn and I like to prepare for everything. We felt financially comfortable enough to have a kid, we had a plan of how we were going to manage everything, we talked through all the pros and cons and ways that we would raise our kid and things we would get to experience with them, and we were truly ready to do this thing. We are both young and healthy and have no reproductive issues on either side of our family, so we figured we were golden! We're for sure going to get pregnant right away!
Nope. The first month went by and it was no big deal, it'll just take some time. Month two went by and I was a little down, because I was expecting (and hoping) it would just happen. Then month three and four and five passed by, and I started to wonder if I had done something wrong. Was I eating the wrong things? Was I exercising too much? Were my hormones out of whack? Was our timing off? Am I too stressed out? Then the questions from other people start. "Are you pregnant yet?" You can't help but wonder why some people get pregnant so easily and, many times, without even trying, and yet, you set everything in place to work the way it's supposed to, but it doesn't. "No, I'm not pregnant, yet." And the cracks in your heart start growing.
One of the most difficult parts of being a part of the #TTC club is the waiting game each month. You literally feel like you are waiting around for everything: the two week wait to see if your period will come, waiting for the next doctor appointment or test, waiting to get results on more tests, waiting for your next fertile window, even sitting there waiting the 3 minutes for the pregnancy test to register feels like a damn eternity. It's excruciating. Each month, you try something a little bit different, and you convince yourself that THAT was the game-changer. This is going to be the month. You imagine yourself holding that positive pregnancy and jumping up and down and crying tears of excitement and happiness and love. You start to plan how you'll tell this incredible news to your friends and family. You look at Pinterest for pregnancy reveal ideas. You think of ordering cute baby clothes and designing a nursery (by the way, I found that this was not a healthy thing for me anymore, so I cut that out after a while). Then, instead, your period comes or the pregnancy test registers with the words "Not Pregnant," and once again, you come up short, feel let down, ask yourself what went wrong, and start back at square one. And the cracks in your heart get a little bit bigger.
People really don't prepare you for that. For the most part, it's really just expected that when you go to get pregnant, it's just going to happen. Sorry if this is TMI, but anyone else grow up thinking that if you had unprotected sex you were FOR SURE getting pregnant? My Mom put the fear of death in me guys. Not to mention, my Mom and my sister both had zero issues getting pregnant, so they told me to "buckle up!" when I told them I was going to start trying. So I did. Then I realized that I definitely did not hop on that fast train, and shit got a bit more complicated than I would have preferred.
I'm honestly just tired. I'm tired of disappointment every month. I'm tired of praying and wishing and hoping that this time it's going to work. I'm tired of hearing "Relax! If you stop stressing so much about it, it will happen." That's the worst one. Please don't be the one to say that to me. In fact, I might bite your head off if you do. At this point, there's no more chance for surprise. There's not a chance in hell I'm just going to be going about my day and think, hm...wait, I think I might be late on my period. Nah guys. After a year of tracking and calculating and monitoring patterns and studying your body, there's no more guessing on timing anymore. I'm tired of hearing, "Everything will work out in the end." I'm tired of the "it will happen when it happens," or the "hang in there and keep trying!" I know people just want to be uplifting and encouraging, but instead it just reminds you of the repeated monthly failure that keeps showing up at the door.
This month, I couldn't even talk about it. I honestly ghosted most people for a few days, because I just didn't want to deal with it. We were on another one of those highs where we were trying something new, and this was definitely going to be it. And then it wasn't. And I felt like everything came crashing down...again. So I wallowed in that pain and sadness for a couple days before I could snap out of it. Shawn told me that when I'm in a bad mood and we go for a walk that I just keep walking until I can get it all out. I'm sure he must have been tired and a bit worried that we were going to get hit with a thunderstorm by the time we turned around on the mountain last weekend. That helps me though. Sometimes I don't want to talk, I just want to move, and be with someone. Maybe I'll say a few words when I feel like it. Thankfully, I have a partner that gets me, and just lets me do my thing, and is there when I need it. One of the best things that anyone has said to me during this time is to let yourself be sad. I'm honestly not one to get sad a lot. I would rather push that uncomfortable emotion away and distract myself with exercise or a task that I need to get done. However, this time, it's a little more complicated. Yes, I still try to distract myself with other things, but allowing myself to be sad for a day or two allows me to keep from getting overwhelmed with the emotion of all of it after a while. Don't let the shit bottle up until it bursts. Give yourself that day and then get back up on that horse.
Of all the coping strategies, the main thing that keeps me sane right now is having a plan of action. Knowing what step comes next gives me hope that if we try enough things, eventually something will work for us. The awesome thing is that we live in a time where there are SO many options for help when you can't do it on your own. We haven't even skimmed the surface on the wealth of options we have available to us, so that leaves me with a lot of hope. I don't want to go into detail yet about what methods we are using and plan to use in the future until I know what is actually helping, but I can promise to share it all on here one day. Hopefully, I will eventually have a success story to get out to you all. Hopefully, in a few months I will be typing out my pregnancy story, and it can serve as some encouragement for others out there struggling to conceive. But for now, I hope this story can show you that you're not alone. I've been seeing more and more stories like mine ever since I started my #TTC journey, and it's given me some comfort just knowing that others have been through and know that struggle too, and that there are many stories of eventual success as well.
I know it takes time, so please don't tell me that. I know everyone's body is different, so please don't tell me that. We are taking steps to figure out why things haven't worked out for us. I know what my next step is going to be, and what my options are from there. I have a plan A, B, C, and D, and am always looking ahead to where else we can go from there. What I would appreciate is hearing your conception stories. So please share! Comment here, shoot me an email or text, write your own blog post, whatever you feel comfortable doing! Share, because, again, knowledge is empowering. Best of luck out there to all my TTC sisters. I am here for you, can't wait to see your pregnancy announcement and your future baby, and I can't wait to share mine with all of you.