10 things that help when you’re trying for a baby

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for two and a half years now, and have lost three along the way. During this time there have been massive highs and even bigger lows, which we’ve managed to deal with, but I find sometimes the hardest thing to deal with is day to day – just getting out of bed, plodding along, waiting for the next part of the cycle. So i’ve put together a list of things which help me out, day to day. These are in no particular order, but I hope that some of them help:

1 – Accept the bad days

One thing which still shocks me is how one minute I’m ok – getting on with life, making plans, at work etc – then the next minute I’m an emotional mess, in floods of tears. Sometimes there’s a reason for this (baby/miscarriage related) and sometimes there isn’t – it just hits me and no amount of rational thinking/talking can help me – I just go to pieces. Some of this is down to my medication I expect, but you know what – it’s ok. I accept that some days I’m going to feel like shit and that’s just how it is. I’ve been trying for bloody years to have a baby, and have gone through three miscarriages, so you know what – its ok to feel like this sometimes. So if you feel like this at times, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do something nice for yourself, whether that’s a bath and a good cry, a walk outside or an early night, just do whatever you can to get through it and know that tomorrow will hopefully be a bit better.

2 – Remember that it’s not all about you

I’ve been guilty of doing this a lot in the last couple of years, and am really trying to be better. Even though you are struggling, your partner is too, so remember that. I’ve found trying for a baby and losing babies to be quite an isolating and very personal experience – maybe because its my body that it happened to, or because it’s my body which is the problem (my husband’s sperm is exceptional, apparently!), but I feel the whole situation very personally, and react by going into my shell (I’m a Cancerian too, go figure) and shutting people out, including my husband. Part of this is probably guilt too, because I haven’t been able to give him the baby which he wants as badly as I do.

But – your partner is upset too. They want a baby, they hate seeing you upset, and they probably get far less support than you do, because its not directly happening to their body. So when you’re feeling down – try and think about them, and think what would be a nice thing to do for them maybe. Whether its a day out for them with their friends, or a date night, or just making them their favourite meal for dinner – just try and think of them and do something nice. And you’ll probably find that when you think about them and their feelings, you’ll feel less upset about yourself, which can only be a good thing all round.

3 – Get outside

This is a simple one, but it always works for me. It’s the hardest thing to do sometimes, but just getting outside for a walk will always lift my spirits. It doesn’t have to be anywhere amazing, just a walk round the block can help, but I try and look at all the lovely things around me – the birds, the trees, the feel of the wind on my face – and try to be thankful for them. It’s bloody hard to be thankful when you’re on this journey, but I have my health, a loving husband and family, and a good life overall, so I remind myself of these things and how lucky I am to have them. It might sound like a cliché, but life is short, so try and be thankful for what you have, even though you’re wishing for that bit more.

4 – Plan ahead and tempt fate

One thing which has been a nightmare throughout this journey is knowing what you can and can’t plan, ahead of time. Whether it’s holidays, days out, trips to see friends, I’ve found myself checking my fertility timings first and more often than not, putting things off ‘just in case’. This is especially true nowadays, as I have monthly ovulation scans, then the ‘will I or won’t I sleep’ joys of 10 days on steroids, then the early pregnancy test fun from 10 days past ovulation until I get my period. Great. But you know what – if you want to do something, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen – you fall pregnant and can’t go? It’s a win-win situation! So book that holiday, go see your friend, having lovely things to look forward to will always help, and it saves your diary being full of only scans, tests and medications.

5 – Find a BFF (Best Fertility Friend)

Unfortunately, there are lots of us walking this road together. But the beauty of the internet is that it brings us together, even people with very specific stories/experiences. Through my blog I have found a woman with an almost identical story to mine, and she is also seeing the same specialist as me for treatment. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up! We have been lucky enough to meet up and become firm friends who can share our worries, journey and excitement, all the time knowing that we understand exactly how the other feels, as we’ve been through the same experiences. I’m so grateful for her and for the bond that we share.

In my experience, most regular friends will try their best to be supportive and compassionate, but they just don’t understand the complexities of my situation and can often say the wrong thing/be scared and instead say nothing at all. I don’t get angry with them for this, I wouldn’t know what the hell to say if I hadn’t been through all of this, so I don’t try and explain, I just get on with being their friend and keep the baby talk to a minimum.

Even if you cant find a BFF near you to meet up with, see if you can find a blog from someone with a similar story to yours and make contact with them. Even a text, email or phone call from someone who totally understands can make the world of difference if you’re struggling, and knowing that you can be there for someone else too is a wonderful feeling.

6 – Be nice to your body

This is an obvious one, but one which can be easily forgotten. There are absolutely some days when all you can manage to eat is a pizza, chips and then a family size bar of chocolate – that’s ok. But it’s a sad fact that if you eat loads of crap, you’ll feel like crap, so definitely allow yourself these days, but for your mental state as well as your body, try and put good food into your body whenever you can.

7 – Don’t torture yourself unnecessarily

There’s a show on British TV called ‘One Born Every Minute’ which shows babies being born in hospital, with a bit about the parents and their journey to parenthood as well. I LOVE this show, but watching it always makes me cry, as it reminds me of what we’ve been through and makes me wonder if we’ll ever have our own baby. I record it when it’s on, then watch it on my own (I wouldn’t subject my poor husband to graphic birth scenes!), and inevitably bawl my eyes out, but recently I’ve wondered – what the hell am I doing?! Yes, it’s a lovely show, but why watch something which I know will upset me? So now I don’t watch it, I just stick to things which make me feel better instead.

It might sound obvious, but we all have our triggers – TV shows, christenings, baby showers, facebook – so think about what yours are, then do your best to minimise the pain. It might be blocking pregnant friends on facebook so you’re not bombarded with scans, updates and pregnancy complaints (I’ve certainly done this and it definitely helps), or politely declining an invite to a baby shower if you don’t feel up to it. But the bottom line is that self-preservation is so important on this journey, so be polite in how you do this, remembering that not everyone understands what you’re going through, and save yourself the upset wherever you can.

8 – Stand up for yourself

You know your own body, feelings and needs better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to push for what you need. Sadly, time is never really on our side on this journey, so make that appointment with the doctor, research your situation and ask for what you need to help your situation improve. Don’t be baffled by science, or rushed out of the doctor’s office without the help you need – ask your questions, however silly you feel, and keep asking until you get what you need. I’ve had to learn so much about things that I had no clue about, but all of it has helped me to get what I hope is the right treatment for my body, and even though it has been frustrating that doctors haven’t helped me much, I feel better that I educated myself and wasn’t afraid to keep going until I got the help that I needed.

9 – Try alternative therapies

I have reflexology every couple of weeks or so and find it so helpful. I have no idea if it actually does anything for my situation, but it’s my time for myself to get in tune with myself, relax and think positive thoughts about my body and what it’s trying to do.

A lot of these treatments can be expensive, but many local colleges offer massages, reflexology and other therapies for a fraction of the price. Or have a look online to see if there are any offers near you. Just having that time for yourself to focus on your body and what you are trying to do really is lovely.

10 – Remember who you are

This is probably one of the most important points for me.

Before our miscarriages, I was fun, carefree, healthy and excited for the future with my new husband. Nowadays I look in the mirror and sometimes I hardly recognise the person looking back at me. My skin is pale and slightly gaunt, my face hairy from PCOS and steroids, and I have a sadness in my eyes and my tone which I can’t ever really seem to shake. It pains me to see how much I’ve aged and changed with the losses, drugs, waiting and sadness of the last few years.

But you know what – FUCK THAT. I am not just a woman who is struggling to have a baby, I am a friend, a daughter, a wife and a pretty decent human being. So despite all that I’ve been through, I make time to put on my make up, get dressed and get out there and enjoy my life. It’s not about masking my feelings, if I’m sad I’m sad and I let myself feel like that for a while, but I try and remember the fun things that I enjoy – girly days out with my friends, holidays with my husband and the comfort of spending time with my family – and do them whenever I can.

So remember this about yourself too – you are alive and loved and there is so much more to you than all the crap of this journey. Do what you love and what makes you happy.

X

26 thoughts on “10 things that help when you’re trying for a baby

  1. This is an absolutely wonderful list. Looking back, I wish I were kinder to myself and I wish I had a Best Fertility Friend to go through it all with. I so wish I had taken the time to meet people earlier in our struggles, not after our 4th loss. I think it would have made such a big difference to helping reduce the sense of loneliness.
    I am sure that your wise words will help someone else going through this! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks very much 🙂 I know that it can be hard to deal with the big issues, but the day to day-ness of it all can be the most stifling I think, so I thought this might help someone. I’m sorry that you didn’t find people who understood until later in your journey, but we are all here for you now. Lots of love xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t find anyone sooner in large part because I didn’t look. I’ve learned that looking is pretty important considering how secretive people are about miscarriage and infertility. Love to you as well my friend. 🙂

        Like

  2. So much wisdom here! I was nodding my head along with every point you made. 🙂 Along the lines of “Plan ahead and tempt fate,” this is something I’ve just started to be able to do the last couple of months. Is there something I want to do that I couldn’t do if I was pregnant? Forget it, I’m going to plan to do it! The worst that’ll happen is I’ll have to cancel, and then I’ll be pregnant, so I won’t care!

    I’ve been volunteering at the therapeutic riding center near my house for the past couple of months, which has really been lifting my spirits. A couple of weeks ago they asked if I’d be interested in schooling the horses (i.e., riding them on my own to keep them sensitive to commands and work on things they can’t work on with the therapy riders). My immediate answer was YES — I spent a decade riding like crazy before I went off to college (which was a long time ago now, but I haven’t forgotten most of my skills), and I’d love to get back into riding regularly, and if I can do it to support this program that I love, so much the better! Then I thought “wait, if I get pregnant again, I’ll probably have to stop riding” (because of the risk of falls — some women do it anyway, but if I get pregnant again I’m taking no risks, especially since I’ll be on blood thinners). But ultimately I decided, forget it — I can’t live my life like I might be pregnant at any moment. Now I’m making plans to start riding again, and if I have to cancel them because I get pregnant, I will gladly do so. It’s really helped my mood. When I get a low BBT reading and think “I must not be pregnant this month,” I can immediately think, “but that means I can start riding again!” It’s not an even trade by any stretch of the imagination, but it makes the whole thing feel a little more win-win, instead of lose-lose all the time.

    And YES on standing up for yourself. It makes me sad that my lifelong blind trust in doctors has been eroded by this experience, but at the same time, I’ve realized that ultimately nobody can be responsible for my health but me. We’re all entitled to ask questions, investigate and discuss treatment options, and ask for second opinions — and I have felt really, really good when I’ve found my way to a less invasive or risky option through my own research. It’s also led me to form relationships with new doctors whom I’m starting to trust again, which makes me more optimistic for future pregnancies. Becoming a proactive patient has been one of the most constructive ways I’ve found of dealing with my daughter’s death.

    Anyway, thanks so much for this list — it’s really inspiring me today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words – and its fantastic what you’re doing with the riding volunteering! Its so easy to let your life and fun just ebb away ‘just in case’, so its brilliant that you’ve signed up for something which makes you so happy 🙂 And absolutely on the doctor point – its so easy to be fobbed off and get lost in the system. Its painful to have to educate yourself and battle through everything with the doctors, but you have to take action and make yourself heard, as no-one else will do it for you! Glad you liked the list and thanks as always for your lovely feedback xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally resonate with the “Remember Who You Are” bit. It was a slow and insidious process, but after 2 years of infertility I hardly recognized who I was. The act of rebuilding a sense of self– beyond your infertility– is so hard, but so necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true – you look in the mirror sometimes and just don’t recognise yourself. Its such a strange feeling. Thanks for commenting, we all need to remember that we’re more than just people who are trying for babies! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great list. Thank you for posting this. Generally I am thought of as a pretty positive person and I am… at work and in public. When I get home and have time to think about it all is when I have problems and the positively glides off me like water off a ducks back.
    It is really hard to stay positive when you feel as though my body is not doing something is was literally born to do. It is supposed to be natural.
    I have watched that show too… I cried 🙂

    Like

  5. It is great that you have put this list together and even better that you have found a bff : ) I wish I could connect with someone in the same type of situation as me. It’s always great to have someone you can open up to that will understand exactly where you are coming from!

    Like

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