Trying to Conceive...
This is something I’ve wanted to blog about for a while but felt a bit nervous about it as it’s a personal one, all about my experience of trying to conceive.
I've made videos and attempted many blog posts on this topic but not quite managed to hit 'publish' on any of them, until now. I suppose the apprehension comes from the fact that trying to conceive isn't really spoken about that much and it's for that reason that it can be a really isolating experience for many couples.
I've always liked to talk quite openly to my friends and family about a vast range of things and this chapter in my life is no different so here I am blogging about it in the hope that maybe someone who is going through the same, and not talking about it or seeking support, finds some comfort in this post. I'm a firm believer that talking about stuff and breaking down barriers of what is 'the done thing' to talk about can only be positive.
We've been trying to conceive now for about 18 months and I'm now on fertility medication which hasn't been too bad side effect wise, aside from some headaches and horrific period pains, just because getting your period when trying to conceive isn't hard enough!
Early on in the 'journey' I realised that this whole thing had the potential to be all-consuming and totally devastating and I simply couldn't live that way so I made a conscious decision to really work hard to dig deep and approach it in the most positive way possible. I'm not saying it's been a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination but I have developed some approaches that have worked for me so here we go...
Symptom spot' with caution
On month one I became slightly obsessed with looking online at all the forums - reading about other people's early pregnancy symptoms etc. To be honest it was quite fun at first but it made me get really hung up on noticing every little symptom. Unfortunately it would seem that PMT symptoms are very similar to early pregnancy symptoms and now that I am well into the groove of all this I take the opinion that there isn't an awful lot of point in torturing myself by reading all this stuff and getting hung up on zoning into every little feeling, and instead try to distract myself with other things.
I have come to accept that I am only going to truly know I'm pregnant when I get a positive result on a pregnancy test so there is little point in too much speculation. I say this, but also fully accept that it is hard to wait it out in a chilled out fashion and am only just getting better at this now.
If you know me you'll know I love a bit of a mindfulness (see a previous blog post on it here.) I do my best to practise it in my daily life to avoid getting too swept up in worries about the past or future. Learning to be present is a great way to find peace and happiness in the everyday. However, applying this to trying to conceive is hard! I've had months where I've really not been present at all. Whilst going about my daily life I've had so much going on in my head. So many thoughts, hopes, worries, anxieties and many day dreams of getting that positive result on a pregnancy test. In these times I was constantly living in my own head and not actually living life.
Meditation helps me so much and it's time out of every day to be truly present. I've blogged about meditation here so I won't go into it too much. What I would recommend if you are are trying to conceive at the moment is coming up with a little mantra to say over and over whilst meditating (or when your internal chatter getting too overwhelming). Your mantra has to work for you. I have one at the moment that is based on inviting peace and balance into my life and trusting my body to do its thing. There are also some good guided meditations/hypnotherapy videos on YouTube. I came across this one a while back which I enjoyed.
Loving life as it is right now
When trying to make a baby it is so easy to give huge amounts of focus to what we don't have. We don't have a little bundle of joy and, of course, it is hard not to focus on that hole in our lives so I made the conscious effort to really focus on what is good in my life and throw tonnes of energy into those things. I am so incredibly blessed in so many ways, as most of us are when we really think about it. I'm all for practising gratitude as I've chatted about in this YouTube video. Being grateful is so important and one of the key ways I dig myself out of the doom and gloom when the going gets tough.
I really pay attention to the little moments of joy in my life, such as right now typing away in bed with my coffee on a leisurely Saturday morning. I know that wouldn't happen so easily (or at all) if I had a baby so it's important to relish the freedom we have now and enjoy the time as just 'us' because as soon as the I fall pregnant it will no longer just be the two of us and things will change forever. Making plans, having date nights, and being grateful for what we have right here and now is vitally important, now more than ever.
Surrendering to the Universe may sound a bit 'out there' but reserve judgement and read Gabrielle Bernstein's book, The Universe Has Your Back
Having faith that things will pan out and not getting too hung up on the detail and timelines is an approach that's really helped me. I have never been 'religious' per se and, for me, that's not what surrendering is all about. What I believe is that there is a plan for us and it will all play out when it is supposed to.
Taking this approach works well for someone like me who likes to have control over things and gets uneasy when it comes to uncertainty. As humans we like instant gratification and we want everything now. This process is a really good learning curve for me and I actually feel like it's showed up for me as a little assignment to really work harder to tackle some of my mindset challenges around control and uncertainty. If you've got this far in this long ol' post it could be because you're in the same boat. If you are, watch this video of Gabrielle Bernstein speaking about surrendering to the Universe and her own experience of trying to conceive. I have watched this countless times and it's a huge comfort.
It would be great for people to speak more about this process as, although it feels like at times, I know we're not the only couple going through this. Like anything, human connection and conversation can make a huge difference so don't be afraid to speak about it. I, for one, am always ready to listen.