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Is it OK to take a break while TTC?

Taking a break while trying to conceiveSince we started trying to conceive (TTC) this has been the year where we have technically ‘tried’ the least.

Now that there is literally no chance we can get pregnant naturally, the time between IVF cycles is officially ‘time off’ from this crazy ride.

The old me would have gotten incredibly stressed by this. We were wasting time. She would have raced into another cycle STAT.

But I learned the hard way that all that achieved was more exhaustion.

I think it can be really easy to play the ‘what if’ game when facing fertility challenges. In the past it’s been a big reason for me pushing forward as quickly as I could.

Every month that possibility was renewed! Your ‘What Ifs’ can whisper to you when a decision involving time comes up:

  • WHAT IF we get pregnant this month and it will all be over?
  • WHAT IF we book a holiday and it clashes with an IVF cycle and we have to either wait or cancel the holiday?
  • WHAT IF we take some time off and it takes even longer to get pregnant?

If you’re anything like me once the momentum of TTC has started it’s easy to get fixated on it. How are we ever going to get this done if we take time off?

The longer TTC is taking the more likely it is that you will reach a point where you decide that TTC is your highest priority. It doesn’t mean it’s your only priority but when it’s something that is so desired it certainly can take a hold and drive all your other decisions and activities.

It’s so hard to explain to other people, so it can lead to withdrawal from social engagements – you exist in this TTC time bubble. You can’t wait for it to pop, so you can emerge out the other side with your baby in tow.

Financially it can suck up a lot of resources and leave less to spend on more enjoyable activities, like dinners out and holidays … or even shopping (lucky for me I hate shopping)!

Plodding forward without a break can also takes its toll both physically and emotionally. I don’t think I realised how much it was impacting me until I stopped and regrouped!

Taking a break from TTC can be something you do by choice or it can be something that is forced on you.

You might need to regroup financially between IVF rounds. You might be like me with an infertility factor that makes it impossible to conceive without IVF. You might have recently suffered a loss or reached an emotional or physical threshold that has made you press the pause button.

However it eventuates, taking a break from something you have invested so much physical and emotional energy in can be a strange, scary and uneasy feeling. I know I felt this way when first faced with it.

But some unexpected benefits of taking a break from TTC were:

For the first time in 3 years I forgot what cycle day I was on!

Yep – no idea when I ovulated, only a rough idea of which phase I was in! A strangely liberating feeling – I’d forgotten what it was like to live my life without a microscope on every day of every month!

I felt rested, strong and prepared

The break gave my mind and body time to heal from what had come before. It got me off the treadmill of the ‘doing’ of TTC and reconnected me with WHY having a baby was so important to us. When we faced our next cycle I felt prepared, ready and like my body was more able to handle what I was asking of it. When the cycle wasn’t successful I felt less devastated by the news. I knew I had the space to regroup again and that I could handle it.

I was more accepting of myself

I stopped watching every little thing I was doing or eating. I had a glass of wine with my friends and did physical activities I’d been missing. I started running. I realised I’d been so caught up in doing everything perfectly that I was actually creating more stress and more potential for disappointing myself. My breaks gave me time to reconnect with the person I was before all this began and to find ways to bring that back into TTC.

I didn’t notice how much time was passing!

I thought I’d be counting down the days and weeks, but found when a month past I was surprised! This taught me it’s not always a step back to take a break – sometimes the benefits of resting and healing might outweigh pushing forward without taking a breath!


Have you had to take a break while TTC? What are some of the bonuses you found from doing so?

Image credit: evgenyatamanenko/123RF Stock Photo

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