I was one of those people who wasn’t going to let trying to conceive (TTC) overtake my whole life.
LOL!!!!!!!!! I know my fellow fertility-challenged friends out there are laughing with me at that statement.
Fact is, it’s easier than you think to let TTC overtake your life. For me it happened in stealth mode, bit-by-bit.
The first thing to change was our sex life. Goodbye to the days of spontaneous, crazy, hey-maybe-we-just-made-a-baby sex. Hello to the days (and days) of peeing on an ovulation predictor (OPK) stick until it’s time to go right now.
No more uninterrupted sleep-ins – that basal body temperature (BBT) needs to be taken at the same time each day!
Your years become months, making it hard to plan things like holidays in advance so they go by the wayside …
Your months become fortnights – two weeks focused on the lead up to ovulation followed by two weeks of hope, desperation, excitement, nerves, possibilities. Even when you think you are not thinking about it, somewhere deep down you are.
Then the lifestyle changes kick in — less sugar, no alcohol, no intense exercise, no dairy, no gluten, everything organic … and so on and so on.
In come the IVF or IUI cycles — appointments, needles, retrievals, transfers, blood tests, hope, disappointments. The social life gets hard. The workday is impacted.
And – the emotional aspects. Juggling two worlds – your old life and this strange universe of fertility struggles. Blame, frustration, anger, disappointment.
It’s easy to feel disconnected from every aspect of your life.
I admit I do look back over the past few years and wonder if I’ve missed out on too much? Is TTC that complicated, or did I just let it be?
I’m the first to say that some lifestyle changes my fertility struggles have initiated are wonderful — and will stay a part of my life when this roller-coaster is completed.
However with hindsight I thought I would share what I have learned about living with TTC …
3 things I learned while TTC
Find time to enjoy the non-TTC aspects of your life
Like any significant experience in life long-term TTC changes you.
Expect it to. Pretending it won’t will only lead to it imploding. If you acknowledge this you can be pro-active and manage the way the change unfolds.
You need to build in time for TTC activities, but if this becomes all you have time for then it’s a fast track to feeling pretty miserable. It is important to find ways to guard, encourage and still enjoy the aspects of your life that help you to have fun and feel good about life!
Don’t expect others to understand what it is like
My BFF experienced difficulties TTC long before I did. I was in such a different place in my life to her at the time — I thought I was being really supportive (and I am sure in some ways I was). I really truly didn’t get it until now, and I look back and think of all the things I could have said and done had I understood.
We can’t expect that from loved ones — infertility is a very misunderstood experience to those who don’t suffer it. If we set that bar too high for people they will only fail and we will only feel more alone — or withdraw from social situations to make it “easier”.
We can expect love, encouragement, help with lifestyle changes — and also a good distraction and link back into the “old you”! All highly important things in the battle of TTC vs Normal Life!
For everything else I strongly recommend you connect with the fertility community and build a support network with those who do completely get it.
Know you are doing the best you can
Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all want that silver bullet, and can be really tough on ourselves when we can’t find it.
There are many prompts in TTC to clean up your life. I’m an avid believer that these things help – even if for nothing other than to make you feel better and stronger.
However, I think eating a piece of chocolate, or not meditating for a few days, or drinking the occasional glass of wine is not likely to be the reason you’re not getting pregnant!!
Remember you are doing the best you can! If you decide to let your hair down on something, ENJOY doing it! Don’t punish yourself for it!
What are your tips for stopping TTC overtaking your life?