Now reaching my fourth year of trying to conceive and still no child to show for it. This has been an incredibly heart-breaking journey, one which I am starting to feel that we will never reach the destination we had hoped for. I look around and many of my friends and family now have toddlers, even school-age children, and I still wait for Mother Nature to give us just the one break in good fortune.
Many times I have been asked for advice to others starting their conception journey. The problem is that everyone is so very different, and we each handle our circumstances differently. Nonetheless, there are some things I would gladly tell myself, had I been given my time over.
There is no right time. We had thought that we planned everything so perfectly. There were so many things we had considered before we started trying to conceive; our careers, our finances and various household renovations, for example. What I have learned is that nature does not plan for anything and neither should we. Had we fallen pregnant earlier, had it been at an ‘inconvenient’ time in our lives, we still would have made it work, and we would have wholeheartedly rejoiced in the arrival of our child.
Don’t be defined by your cycle. I realise that this is much harder than it sounds. Every month when trying to conceive, our cycles depict our moods, they define the anticipation and disappointment as we ride that rollercoaster which feels as though it will never stop. I truly wish I could just reverse time, forget about everything I had learned about ovulation, cycle days and implantation periods. There were times that it felt that it was all I could think about, swimming around my consciousness from the moment I wake until I finally close my eyes at night; even then it would be in my dreams. It never stopped!
Don’t Google it. I had an obsession with what the internet told me. I endlessly scoured the advice and experience of others, spending hours on different forums hoping to find people I could relate to at a certain time and place. My iPad became my night-time solace when I could not sleep. I would search on the same topics over and over, hoping for that one article, blog or forum that would give me the right answer, promising that everything would be okay.
Sometimes it is good to talk about it. There is a discomfort in talking about trying to conceive and miscarriage. It is as though you have fallen over in a crowded place. You quickly get back on your feet, brush yourself off and look around to make sure no one saw you flounder. But you did fall, and you’re hurt, bruised and in pain; sometimes you need to show it, let others help. We are only human after all, and those around you who let you cry on their shoulder, they are the true friends you want to keep forever.
Plan life around the now, not what could be. Everything I did for over two years was executed in such a precise fashion. I would schedule any plans deliberately, taking into account when I could be ‘testing’ or even thinking forward around possible pregnancy stages. What I have learned is that anything can be cancelled, changed or postponed. I put myself on hold for almost three years; I let my plans to have a baby define my entire lifestyle. Alas there is still no baby, and maybe there never will be. People understand when things go astray, yet in the meantime I have learned that it is more important to live, have fun and enjoy today.
Whilst I advocate this advice, I realise that the next time will be harder still, and perhaps habit and fear will send my paranoia even higher. It has been over twelve months since we have ‘tried to conceive’ allowing time for reflection and perspective. I just hope that I am able to listen to my advice when and if my time comes again.
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