Let me cut to the chase, getting pregnant is not easy, not even a little. For some of you this may not be news. And as a reproductive justice activist, I am fairly knowledgeable about reproductive health. I knew in the abstract that conceiving can be difficult. But I am very in tune with my body so I figured, how hard could this be.
All those baby bumps and newborn photos on Facebook would lead anyone to believe that you decide to get pregnant and voila baby. I realized there is no way I am the only one struggling with this. These status updates could not be the whole story. But where are the stories? The journeys? All we ever see on social media is the end result. This is quite a juxtaposition from the road to marriage which is documented from engagement to the last dance or a to term pregnancy that we see from sonogram to birth photos. I wanted to hear stories, so I started asking questions.
Turns out it isn’t just me. The more people I spoke to, the more I heard similar struggles. Many more people in my social circle than I could’ve ever imagined experiencing difficulties, infertility, miscarriage and more. Often times I’ve found that folks are more willing to discuss their difficulty conceiving publicly only after a healthy pregnancy or birth. I understand this need to wait. Most people want to hear the happy ending. I may be in the minority but I want to hear it all. In case there are others out there who feel the same, this post is for you.
It’s been one year since my husband and I began trying to conceive. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions. It began as fun, what with all the “trying” and all. And a little exciting waiting to see if this month would be THE month. I decided to just go with the flow at first. Several months in, the frustration began. Be patient they said. Patience, my friends, is not one of my virtues. Nonetheless I pressed on. At about 6 months in I went into “TTC” mode (starting with learning what TTC meant). This included basal body temps, an ovulation app, teas, meeting with my doula friends, and acupuncture. It was exhausting. All consuming.
By month 7-9, I felt defeated. It was during this time that I really started talking to people outside my tight friend circle about my struggles and in return hearing stories back. It was such a relief to finally hear other people give voice to what I had been experiencing. For about a month after that I felt a boost of confidence. You can do this body! NADA. So I made my appointment to see an infertility specialist. As luck would have it , it was scheduled on my 1 year wedding anniversary. Almost a year to the day we started this process.
And then I took a break. A break from trying. A break from thinking about it. Spending the last few months enjoying our final moments as newlyweds. The appointment happened on Monday. Now I head into another stage in this journey; tests to figure out if there’s any medical basis for infertility or just more time needed. Or that maybe I need a bit of modern medicine boost. I’ll keep you posted. I just want everyone out there struggling to get pregnant, whether it’s been a few months or years, to know you’re not alone. It’s not just you. And yea, this is hard!
*Throughout this post I use mostly “I” instead of “we.” Although my husband and I are going through this together, this post is just about how I am feeling and I do not speak on behalf of us both. He has his own voice and experience of this process.
Good luck, Brenda! It took me 5 months to get pregnant with Elsie, and though this is nothing in the grand scheme of things, I remember how emotionally exhausting those 5 months were. I had spent my sexually active years trying to avoid pregnancy at all costs, and then, when I wanted to be pregnant, month after month I kept getting my period instead. It was such a letdown, and the uncertainty of the outcome fed the anxiety of the effort. It seems like such a silly complaint compared to some of my friends who have suffered much longer journeys, but I got a small taste of how hard it is.
A year is a long time to feel that way. I hope these next steps bring you a healthy pregnancy swiftly and as easily as possible. Wishing the best to you and your family.
David and I have also been trying, for 1.5 years and counting, and I only broke my silence about having troubles with my closest friends this past summer. It is so alienating and no one talks about it. Thank you for being open and sharing your story. May everything happen in the right time for it to happen – we’re thinking of you guys.
Thank you for sharing Rebecca. It seems so isolating but writing about it has made me feel less alone. Best wishes to you and David.
Brenda, my heart breaks daily for everyone (myself included) going through the anguish of infertility of any kind or length of time. As Kate writes, we spend so much time trying not to get pregnant, that I think I fooled myself into thinking as soon as I came off the pill – poof – a baby would appear. I remember even thinking I didn’t want to go off the pill too soon because I didn’t want to be pregnant at my wedding. I only wish I could have a sit-down with myself back then! I have tried pretty much everything, teas, (I drank some pretty nasty concoctions) acupuncture, ovulation calculators, IVF, meditation… I sadly had two miscarriages and 2 failed IVF and now have resigned (somewhat) to a future of no children. I tear up as I write those words because I am not sure if I will ever truly stop mourning that loss, the loss of “family”, the loss of a future I had dreamed. I don’t know if I will stop hoping that I will have a miracle baby appear in my womb. It is hard, I wish I could sugar coat it, but it is hard. So to not end on a dreary note – what I have found out on this journey, and unfortunately not all women are so lucky, is that I married “my guy”. We are sad together but stronger as a couple for it. This could have torn us apart – I actually said the words to him, “No hard feelings, if you want to leave me for a younger, fertile version, I would not blame you”, and he stuck with me. Our future is not as we planned but just different and we are trying to make it ours and as special as we can.
One of the difficult aspects of the process was friends/family that knew of my struggle would sometimes say “I know it will work out for you, you will make the best mother”. I know that I would have *wink*, but it was hard to hear that and then not internalize and feel like even more of a failure when my period came like clockwork each month. So to you, I will not say those words, only that you are in my thoughts, I am wishing you and Jake lots of love and happiness in whatever shape and form that may arrive. Lots of love.
Thank you Christine. I’m sorry it’s been so difficult. I love you.