Struggling to conceive when you finally feel ready to have a child is an incredibly difficult thing to go through, and can be difficult for anyone.
From feelings of personal failure to worries that things will never get to work out for you, it can be an incredible source of pain. That two week wait feels harsher each time you go through it, and it may feel like there is never an end in sight.
Fear not however, because temporary struggles do not mean that parenthood is out of reach. And while it may take some time, there are some things you can do to ease the pain and stay sane until that happens.
In this article, we’re going to go over our top 6 tips to keep in mind while trying to conceive, which have helped us personally as we strive to become parents too.
1. Stay Logical, And Remember The Statistics
It turns out, conceiving a child isn’t quite as easy as your high school Sex Ed class might have made it seem – and that is true for everyone.
Just because you’ve been trying for 3, 5, 6 months without results doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you or your body, and it doesn’t mean you won’t conceive soon.
This is true even if you’re actively tracking your ovulation, and having sex on the days that you’re most likely to conceive.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40% of women actively trying to conceive still were not able to do so after 3 cycles. However, this number shrinks down to only 15% after 12 cycles.
While there are numerous factors that affect fertility, it is usually not recommended to visit a fertility specialist until after a year of trying, and failing to get pregnant.
Always keep in mind that difficulties with conception are not your fault. It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with you, that your body is unfit for pregnancy, or that you will struggle to conceive additional children in the future.
2. Work Through These Feelings Together
If you’re actively trying for a baby, it can be devastating to both partners when it takes longer than expected.
As stress, worry and doubt set in, this can quickly lead to hostility and bitterness between couples. We’ve also heard stories about jealousy and resentment creeping in in situations where one of the partners is a stepparent to the other partner’s biological children. You may also feel negativity towards other couples that were able to conceive more quickly.
These feelings are natural, but unpleasant to experience.
Always remember that the two of you are a team, and this is a challenge that the two of you must work through together. Nobody is to blame, and you should maintain open communication and vocalize everything that you’re feeling – even if you are embarrassed or ashamed to admit it.
Suppressing emotions will only lead to more problems. Allow yourself to feel and experience all of your emotions, without allowing them to become overbearing.
3. Keep Focused On Your Other Goals
When you’re ready to have a baby, it certainly feels like the most important thing in life. Therefore, it’s easy to become obsessive about it.
However, no amount of thinking about it will make it happen any faster. This will only stress you out even more, and lead to even greater disappointment if another pregnancy test comes back negative.
Make sure that you’re setting and pursuing all of your other goals in life, and that the other areas of our life that you enjoy and value aren’t neglected.
Continue going out on dates with your husband or wife. Partake in all of your favorite hobbies. Meet up with friends.
These aren’t things that you should pause when you finally do get pregnant, so why put them on hold right now?
If you have nothing else going on except waiting to conceive, it’s going to feel like it’s taking forever. Keep busy with things that bring you inner fulfillment, and you’re sure to feel much better.
4. Stop Obsessing Over Symptoms
This one will drive you crazy.
Just like it doesn’t really do you any good to take pregnancy tests obsessively, it doesn’t really make much sense to obsess over early pregnancy symptoms either.
The two-week wait where you aren’t sure whether or not you’re pregnant can cause a lot of anxiety. And one thing anxiety is really good at, is heightening your sense of awareness. You’ll begin to notice every little thing going in your body that you otherwise may have ignored – and perhaps attribute a little bit too much significance to it.
Most early signs of pregnancy such as cramping, sore breasts and nausea could mean that you’re pregnant. Or, it could mean nothing at all. If you start giving too much importance to these – or actively looking out for things that aren’t actually there, it’s going to drive you insane.
Now obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore everything that’s going on in your body. Just a keep a light-hearted mindset towards every symptom that you do – or do not, feel.
5. Find Fun Ways To Prepare For Your Baby
This one is one of my personal favorites, though you need to balance it with #3 (and make sure your entire life isn’t consumed by the idea of parenthood.)
I like to find ways to feel like I’m still preparing for the baby’s arrival. This helps me almost feel like it’s not a problem that our baby hasn’t been conceived yet, because now things will be even better for them once they arrive.
Some examples include building shopping wish lists, reading parenting books, and taking on small DIY projects for the nursery.
Another thing we’ve been trying to do is really live life to the fullest while it’s just the two of us. I like to tell myself that I’m spending this time gathering more stories to tell them, while I wait for their arrival.
It’s a purely psychological thing and some might think it’s a little silly, but it’s helped me cope, and take some positives out of this challenging situation.
Though, feeling like you’re preparing in some way can help you feel as if you were still making progress, even if it’s taking longer to conceive than expected.
6. Find Outside Support
Finally, never be afraid to seek out some sort of outside support.
This could be through online parenting forums, friends and family that have gone through this, or even dedicated support groups available in your area.
It can feel comforting to talk with other people who have been in the same exact situation you’re in now, and those that truly understand the unique struggles that you’re going through as you prepare to become a mother or father.
Therapy and one-on-one programs are also available should you need them, and can be a good option for couples or individuals who are struggling and could use some professional guidance.
As you can see, support comes in all sorts of different channels, and with virtual meetings becoming more and more popular, you no longer need to be located in a big city to find others that can help you with these exact struggles.
As a couple going through this as we write this article, we know how challenging this can be.
Hang in there, and stay strong. Parenthood is not out of reach, just because you are struggling and things will work out for you as long as you remain patient.
I hope that these tips have given you some ideas – and as long as you are diligent about putting them into practice, they should help make things at least a little bit easier.
Of course, we’d love to hear your own tips as well. Feel free to share your story through the comments form below, as your advice and experiences will surely help us as well!
– James and Amara McAllister