Secrets to Getting Through Trying to Conceive
Let yourself obsess—but just a little
“Once couples decide it’s time to have a baby, having to wait is quite frustrating,” says Connie Shapiro, a therapist and author of When You’re Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide. And that can cause major anxiety—whether you’ve been trying for a year or for a month and you’re still not pregnant yet.
The thing is, focusing too much on what you don’t have (yet!) can become an obsession, and the more you dwell on the negative, the more you open yourself up to the possibility of depression. Don’t ignore the feelings you’re having; allot yourself a little bit of time to think about it—and then force yourself to move on. “Allow yourself to think about what’s worrying you for 10 minutes and then stop,” says Jean Twenge, psychology professor and author of The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. “That’s easier said than done, so you’ll probably want to distract yourself—make it something you really love like a movie you’ve really wanted to see or a book you’ve always wanted to read.”
Use the right tools
Give yourself the best odds: Head to the OB now for a preconception checkup. Read up on ways to get pregnant faster and use tools that can help take some of the guesswork out of the whole process, such as an ovulation predictor kit and a fertility chart.
Find a de-stressing strategy
Okay, so relaxing may not magically get you pregnant (despite what just about everyone will tell you), but finding good ways to de-stress will help you deal with all the tough parts of TTC. And some studies suggest that doing so might help you get pregnant faster. “There’s recent research on women diagnosed with infertility, and if they take part in stress and relaxation methods—like mindfulness, some forms of yoga and other mind-body exercises—those have actually made a difference in the time it takes them to conceive,” says Shapiro.
Do your best to enjoy the moment
Make sure you’re both actually enjoying the sex—and not just doing it (halfheartedly) because the timer on your phone went off. “Put on lingerie and drop subtle hints,” says Twenge. “Yes, your partner knows how important timing is, but the more times you can entice him without explicitly announcing that you’re ovulating, the better.” (Keep in mind: Love notes and naughty text messages are great, but don’t include any information about your cervical mucus in them.)
And quit talking about conception while you’re doing the deed! “Keep the bed and bedroom for sleeping and sex only,” says Shapiro. “Talk about anxieties or anything else should be done in another room of the house.”
Remember: Your partner does care
You got a big fat negative pregnancy test result, and your partner shrugs and says, “That’s okay—we’ll try again next month,” and goes back to reading the newspaper. Does that mean they don’t care? No! Just because they’re not as visibly upset as you doesn’t mean they don’t understand what you’re feeling. Your partner is just dealing with it in a different way. Find a support group of other women who are going through the same thing as you (like The Bump’s Trying to Get Pregnant board). They’re likely to be feeling the same things and articulate them similarly to you. Having another sounding board can help take some of the pressure off your relationship.
Let yourself be jealous of a pregnant friend
If you have a friend who’s pregnant (and maybe wasn’t even trying!), it’s almost impossible not to be jealous. So give yourself permission to be. And then give your friendship a little check—how close are you two? How comfortable will you be telling her that you’re trying to get pregnant? If you are, go for it. That might give her the knowledge she needs to be compassionate toward you about how much she’s going to share about details like doctor’s visits, sonograms and crib shopping. If you don’t tell her at all, then expect conversation points that might make you uncomfortable and decide in advance how you’ll respond to them (so you don’t blurt out something you might regret later).
And remember—don’t torture yourself. “Don’t go to a baby shower that’s going to make you cry,” says Twenge. “Send a gift and simply say, ‘Sorry, I can’t make it.’ No one has to know why if you don’t want them to.”
Remind yourself that there is a next step
One of the hardest parts of TTC is knowing that if it doesn’t work in the short run, there’s the long-run possibility of an infertility diagnosis. And that’s super-scary. But you can make it through by thinking positively. “Tell yourself there’s always a next step—trying the next month, using a fertility monitor, seeing a doctor,” says Twenge. “Sometimes the next step is frightening, but every step brings you closer to your goal. You will get through this.”
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