Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Hi, Carolyn: I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year, with many doctor visits along the way. We are finally heading in the right direction but this has really taken a toll on me, both physically and mentally.
Do you have any suggestions for getting through each “hurry up then wait for weeks” cycle, and for dealing with feelings of failure and frustration when many of my closest friends are getting pregnant very quickly? My husband is very supportive but I just don’t think he really understands. I’m looking into therapy, but any other tips and tricks would be really welcome.
Pre-Pregnancy Baby Blues?
I’m sorry for your struggle. Frustration is normal when your hormones are getting tweaked, your ideas of yourself and your future are in flux, and you have constant visual reminders that fairness has no bearing on the outcome.
Resolve, a national infertility association, puts support within reach 24-7 through the waiting cycle.
I’m also reminded by your letter of a long-ago conversation that really stuck with me. The topic was completely different — she owned my favorite breakfast joint — but she had an attitude that I’ve applied often in my life in completely unrelated ways. She was opening a second restaurant and facing huge and expensive delays, serious enough to bankrupt her. I expressed sympathy of some “Oh, no” variety and she smiled and said it would either happen or it wouldn’t and she’d manage from there.
It’s in my nature to wake up in cold terror at 3 a.m. over suspenseful situations that could end painfully for me or people I love. I found it inspiring and useful that she could look at getting financially wiped out as merely one of several possible outcomes.
A friend of mine also was able to bring that kind of worst-case equanimity to my mother’s coming death — it all passes, he pointed out, even life itself.
Human resiliency is a mighty thing to behold, if you step back a moment to consider it.
There’s no “failure” in your situation. There’s just stuff that’s beyond your control — something we all face eventually.
I hope you have some good news coming to you soon.
Re: Infertility: All sympathies. Living as pre-pregnant, with the diet and lifestyle restrictions attached, is both controllable and crazymaking. Sometimes stepping back from all that control will be what gets you through.
I’ve been there, with recurrent miscarriages. Distraction distraction distraction. Good, long, complicated, epic books were really the only way I could escape the swirling thoughts. Even thinking positively or philosophically about the possibility (or not) of pregnancy is still thinking about it, and can be stressful.
Rooting for You!
What kept us sane was to live life without the hope of, “What if we are expecting by then?” Making plans to live my life also gave me something to look forward to, as there are things you can do without the much-desired baby that you can’t do with her in tow.
So we took the trip to Patagonia and did some hardcore backpacking. We booked a trip to Alaska. And I camped in Denali while four months pregnant, because by then I WAS expecting. It was awesome. I felt powerful and strong.
Live Your Life
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