pregnancy

"Trying for a baby turns me into a crazed creature I don't recognise."

Recently my husband and I have started dancing around the idea of having a third baby. It’s one of those thoughts that’s tinkering around in there, building momentum and at some point will explode into a moment of “let’s do it, right now” which is both figurative and literal in our case.

It’s a beautiful time for us filled with possibility, hope and fairy dust. All our children have come into our minds like this, a conversation that starts infrequently and filters through to all our conversations. It then happens seemingly spur of the moment as if an impulsive decision. This part of trying for a baby is my favourite part, it’s the part that reminds me of a fairy-tale, it’s the part before reality kicks in.

Laura in a fairy-tale moment. Image supplied.

Reality for my husband and I looks like this; a miscarriage at 14 weeks, 8 cycles of trying for our first before being told we'd need IVF to have a baby (and falling pregnant that month), 11 cycles for our daughter (before being told we had secondary infertility and that I'd need surgery to further investigate, found out about my daughter a couple of days before I was due to go under).

Trying for a baby turns me into a crazed creature I don't recognise. Day one of my cycle is a mixture of sadness and optimism; sadness that we aren't pregnant but optimistic that "this is our month, I can feel it". Day seven through to 17 it's time to get frisky. There is a lot of sex. Sex I pretend I'm not scheduling "to keep it fun", but that I know there is a purpose and that purpose is a baby.

I then get a week where I can tune out (somewhat) but the week before my period is due hits and this is when the true madness and insanity starts. This is where first response pregnancy tests make their money out of me. Testing well before I would get a true positive anyway, staring at urine on a stick, wishing, dreaming, begging for a second line to appear. Dismembering tests because "I'm sure I see the faintest second line" and then taking photos and editing them to be unrecognisable and posting them in trying to conceive forums where a bunch of other crazies squint and look and decipher if there may be a second line. It's a week of madness where test after test is done until eventually your period arrives and we are back at day one.

One of my pregnancy tests. Image supplied.

I have performed this maddening, soul crushing ritual too many times and each month I vow that I won't test early, that I won't go nuts and that I won't invest so heavily. It hasn't happened to date.

At some point being the open book that I am, it becomes known that we are trying for a baby and that we aren't pregnant. At this point the advice flies thick and fast. Similar to the words that came from my miscarriage, words that are meant with the kindest of intentions that come from the deepest of love cause the most frustration and despair. I decided to compile a list of the most common things we are told when on our mission to grow an offspring in the hope that it may help the support networks of fertility challenged couples to avoid saying things that may offend (aka piss off a little) and perhaps encourage some more supportive dialogue.


"Relax and it will happen."

Can I get a collective groan from every single woman who is struggling to fall pregnant! This is by far the most used and irritating line said to women struggling to conceive. It is normally from women who only have to open their legs to get a baby. If only being relaxed was all I had to do.  Let's just imagine for a moment that infertility is actually caused by not being relaxed and imagine how hard it is to relax when you want something with all your heart and can't seem to get it. Telling someone to relax is counterproductive and unhelpful.

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"It will happen when it is meant to happen."

How philosophical.  Some women it doesn't happen without extensive medical intervention and even then it isn't a given. Sometimes babies just don't happen and to the parents who are desperate for it the heartbreak from this line is immeasurable.

"Try herb X,Y,X/natural therapy x,y,x, my friend did and fell pregnant straight away".

Not terrible compared to other pearls of wisdom but if someone has been trying for a baby for a while you can guarantee that they have tried everything under the sun and are probably working with a medical team to achieve their dream of parenthood.  A bit of an added sting mentioning how your friend fell pregnant straight away too.

"Kids aren't that great, you are lucky you can't have them. You can sleep, eat in peace, have money."

Ok this one is the hugest slap in the face, people who are desperate for kids would never sleep again if it meant having a baby of their own that they could love forever. And if you are telling the fertility challenged person in your life this you need to have a good, hard look at your children and have some gratitude you could have them in the first place.

"But you already have a baby." Image supplied. 

If you are struggling to fall pregnant after already having a child/children: "But you already have a baby, you know you can get pregnant, surely more is just a bonus anyway". In part, there is some mild truth to this when comparing to someone who is infertile and has zero babies. If however we aren't comparing to that then here is a fact; any child that is wanted that isn't being conceived is still a loss and a struggle. Sometimes the parents with the most to give struggle the most to fall pregnant and there is a real shame in that. No one can judge when someone's family is complete and if it isn't then the pain is still real. Secondary infertility is more common than you think too. One pregnancy doesn't guarantee you a free ticket to unlimited pregnancies.

Before you all think that I'm a negative Nancy and that we can't say anything these days that doesn't offend here is some common sense things that you can say to the fertility challenged people in your life.
"That sucks, I'm so sorry." "I wish there was something I could do to help." "Do you want to talk about it?"

If you have fallen pregnant show some kindness, see them in person or privately tell them so they don't find out via Facebook announcement or group text (that one really stings and can ruin friendships). Most of all put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if it were you and then act accordingly.

Oh and while we're here, wish me luck for when we do make that plunge into craziness again. I don't mind if you wish me luck for getting pregnant quick or for some sanity while doing it, either would be good.

For more from Laura, please visit her Facebook page.

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