Trying to get pregnant can be an emotional rollercoaster. With each new cycle comes a renewed sense of hope, only to be followed by disappointment when your period arrives yet again. Making things harder, you watch as others around you – friends, family members, coworkers – seamlessly get pregnant and transition into this next phase. Their bump photos and baby announcements are a constant reminder that you’re still stuck in the same place, fruitlessly trying month after month.
It’s normal to feel frustrated, jealous even, but this challenging season doesn’t have to overshadow your whole life. Here are some tips on how to cope when everyone else is expecting, but your own journey to motherhood is still unfolding.
Get The Facts On Fertility
Before assuming something must be wrong, understand what’s considered “normal.” Within one year of regular sexual intercourse without contraception, 85% of couples will get pregnant. For women over 35, it’s recommended to seek medical advice after 6 months of actively trying. There are so many variables when it comes to fertility – lifestyle, medical history, age – so get personalized guidance from your doctor.
Acknowledge The Emotions
You don’t have to put on a brave face or pretend to be thrilled for everyone else. Allow yourself to fully feel whatever comes up, whether that’s jealousy, sadness or anger. Trying to conceive is challenging, and your feelings are valid. Suppressing natural emotions only leads to more inner turmoil.
While this journey brings inevitable pain, you can still carve out pockets of joy. Do more of what makes you feel good – simple pleasures like buying flowers, having pizza night or splurging on that item you’ve been eyeing. Pour energy into hobbies, friends, your relationship. Move your body in ways that feel nourishing. Self-care looks different for everyone, so figure out what lights you up.
Let Go Of Judgements
It’s easy to have inner dialogues full of “I should…” – I should be happy for her, I shouldn’t feel irritated – yet those perceived obligations often clash with reality. Let go of judgments about what you “should” feel or do. Your emotions simply exist, neither right nor wrong. Trying to force yourself into thinking or acting differently only causes more distress.
Limit Social Media
Curate your social media feed to avoid pregnancy announcements and photos of bumps that trigger envy. Mute accounts or unfollow if needed. While support groups can provide solidarity, they can also fuel obsession and anxiety. Check in with yourself periodically about what feels helpful versus harmful.
Make Couple Time A Priority
If you have a partner, nurture that foundation. Plan regular date nights, take up a shared hobby, reminisce about why you embarked on this journey together. Your relationship is a source of strength amidst the uncertainty.
Seek Out A Counselor
Having professional support provides an outlet to process this myriad of emotions. Therapists listen without judgment and can offer coping mechanisms tailored to your unique situation. If anxiety or depression start impacting daily functioning, counseling gives the tools to regain balance.
Take Time For Yourself
When you’re intensely focused on trying to conceive month after month, it’s easy to lose perspective. Suddenly your whole world revolves around ovulation sticks, timing of intercourse, pregnancy tests. While having a baby is an important goal, it shouldn’t subsume your entire identity.
Carve out pockets of time for activities or hobbies you enjoy, especially those that have nothing to do with TTC. Read an engrossing novel, get absorbed in an art project, meet up with old friends who know nothing of your fertility struggles. This provides a much-needed mental break and reminds you that you are more than just your reproductive parts.
Supporting Someone Else On The TTC Rollercoaster
If you have a close friend or family member trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, be sensitive in how you share your own pregnancy news. Have an open conversation about what would be most helpful and respectful, then tailor your updates accordingly.
Perhaps she wants space when it all feels like too much. Or maybe she finds solidarity in hearing details, despite the twinges of envy it elicits. There will likely be good days when she eagerly listens and hard days when even a simple bump photo plunges her into grief. Adjust how much you share based on where she’s at emotionally.
The most meaningful support provides understanding without judgment. Don’t take it personally if she needs to skip your baby shower or can’t muster up quite as much enthusiasm. Reassure her you still value the friendship outside of fertility. Also be aware of limiting advice and toxic positivity as this dismisses her very real pain. Instead be a listening ear amid the silence of unfulfilled longing.
While those around you certainly mean well with their questions and suggestions, sometimes it simply feels like too much. If coworkers constantly ask if you’re pregnant yet or friends offer unsolicited tips, don’t hesitate establishing boundaries.
Politely tell them you don’t wish to discuss the topic right now. If they persist, say “I understand you care, but I’d rather not talk about my fertility journey at the moment.” Only share what information makes you comfortable. Those crossing that line repeatedly may need stronger boundaries, potentially limiting contact altogether.
Surround yourself with people who support you unconditionally, meet you where you’re at emotionally, and don’t offer input unless explicitly asked. Their steady presence amid the chaos makes all the difference.