How do you manage the monthly highs and lows of trying to conceive?

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My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for about seven months now. I know the only way to get pregnant is to have sex, and I love boffing my husband, but making a baby is always in the back of my mind.

It’s hard to hit the end of the month (begining of my cycle) without a week of hoping I’m pregnant followed by depression because I’m not. If my period is late then we both get so hopeful, and when I’m not… it hurts all the more. Here’s my question: how have others coped with the depression that comes with not being pregnant (or not having a child) when you really want to be parents? — Courtney

What helps pick you up after finding out that you’re not pregnant or presently unable to fulfill your family expanding dreams?

Comments on How do you manage the monthly highs and lows of trying to conceive?

  1. I think trying is the hardest thing in the world because of how emotional making the choice to start a family is and how hopeful it starts out and how hopeless one can feel when their own body denies the process. My advice is change everything; get healthy; focus on working out, eating right, and stop stressing (I mean really) Go to yoga and center yourself. It will happen when it is meant to and all that worrying does nothing but, take an emotional toll and if you get pooped out of the gate-when you do finally achieve conception the pregnancy will just be as taxing and you will not have the steam to stay positive. Cheers and good luck on your journey’s.

    After 10 years of PCOS diagnosis and worrying when I finally changed everything I accidentally became pregnant and couldn’t be happier! Due Oct 2011

  2. I’m right there with you. It has been 10 months and the stick still won’t turn blue.

    I deal by writing to my future spawn. I keep a journal and fill it with all the things I want to teach him/her, goals as a parent, qualities that I adore about my spouse that I hope our kiddo will share, memories and experiences I hope to build together. I leave out the gooey stuff (cervical mucus outlook is cloudy, etc) and focus on the life and love to come.

    I hope to be able to give this journal to the future spawn. I love the one my mom kept through her pregnancy for me.

  3. Last December i went to my doctor for a check-up with the plan to start making a baby, it didn’t even occur to me that something would be wrong. I found out i have Graves Disease which makes your thyroid overactive. I had no idea your thyroid had anything to do with pregnancy but it turns out it’s very important! So now i have been on medication ever since with regular blood tests to see how it’s going. One doctor told me i’d have to wait 18 months to start trying but yesterday i got the good news that i should be good to go 12 weeks from now which means it was an eleven month wait from when i wanted to start trying. It has been so hard to wait and i’ve been depressed all year. My husband has been great to put up with my many tears. So many people keep saying to me “you’re only 30, you’ve got plenty of time” which doesn’t help at all!
    I’ve found going to regular yoga classes has been my biggest saviour.

  4. I stressed to the point of charting everything, I couldn’t visit the restroom without checking my cervix. I stressed my (now ex) husband out so much that we fought. I was up and down and one night broke down, snot dripping off my face, curled up in a ball on the floor. I couldn’t handle it after 18 months of ttc-ing being my life. I gave up, I threw in the towel, if it happened fine, if not then fine too.

    And you know what happened? That very night we conceived. Do I think it was my melt down? I don’t know. I think the release of stress (and mucus that wasn’t cervical) helped. I put ttc in the back of my mind, didn’t test 10 dpo

  5. I got my last Depo-Provera (birth control) shot in January and every month since April I’ve been frustrated with myself for not getting pregnant. I’d been avoiding researching the relationship between the shot and trouble conceiving because I was so scared that I fucked up royally by *trying not to* have a baby for years. Reading this post gave me the courage to become more educated. For anyone else with the same issue, it can take as long as 18 months after going off the shot, or as little as 3-6. Don’t panic! Keep being yourself and doing what makes you happy. People love you and support you. Smile.

  6. We haven’t started trying yet for a number of practical reasons – it makes much more sense for us to wait about 6 months – but I am dying to have a baby and the anxiety of not knowing if I’ll be able to get pregnant is tough, especially since turning 30 a few weeks ago.

    What I’ve done in the mean time, is made a list of everything I want to do before getting pregnant. I want to lose 7 kilos, get a better home filing system going, pay off at least one student loan.

    I’ve also started buying books on nutrition, started researching birthing options, basically doing all my homework so I feel super prepared when the time does come.

    And lastly my partner and I are taking advantage of our alone time. We’re going out a lot, cuddling in bed all morning, taking impromptu weekend trips – all the things that’ll be harder once we have a baby. Enjoy the opportunity to go out with friends, and travel.

    Which is not to say I also go through days of drinking lots of red wine and crying… but you know… it does help feeling like even if you’re not there yet, you’re taking steps towards this important goal.

    • Hi Sharon!

      It’s funny how reading a comment from someone in a similar situation to you makes you feel connected somehow. I have this sense of ‘I’m not the only one’ (though I knew this rationally already) after reading what you’ve written, and just wanted to say hi.

      I turned 30 earlier this year. We are waiting about six months (actually we’re down to 5 now!) to start trying (for financial and personal reasons). To keep myself from going stir crazy, I am focusing my efforts on getting fit and healthy (I have about 7 kilos to lose!) and spending time with my partner.

      Interested in an online buddy? 🙂

      • Hi Nat, so sorry for not replying sooner. We had some bad news last week – a close friend was killed in a car accident. The event has shaken us all up quite a bit, and though we’re still emotional we think we might start trying to get pregnant next month. I guess we’re seizing the day and all that. But still happy to have an online buddy 🙂

        • Hi Sharon,

          That’s so awful to hear. My thoughts are with you.

          I wonder how you’re feeling about the decision to bring the trying to conceive phase forward then? Mixed emotions? I hope it all goes well. It will be an amazing journey for you.

          There’s no private message feature here, is there? How can we stay in touch? 🙂

  7. My fiancee and I just started trying to conceive..although, I had these feelings even when we WEREN’T trying (which was pretty ridiculous, if you ask me) BUT that is how I knew I wanted to be a mother more than anything. Now that we are trying, I’m really scared that I won’t get pregnant right away and that it will drive me INSANE. I can definitely relate and all I can say is doing yoga is definitely the way to go. Very relaxing and helps keep you in awesome shape so when the baby DOES arrive, you’ll be super healthy and happy! I hope the day comes soon for you.

  8. Some months are harder than others, that’s for damn sure. We’ve been “not preventing” for fifteen months now, and while there are plenty of months where I’m like, “Eh, whatever. It would be inconvenient now, anyway,” there are also months where I just feel so… lost. Did I ruin my chances by being on hormonal birth control for ten years? Did I just wait too damn long (into my 30s)? I deal with those months by allowing myself an hour or two to be depressed, and then… I get over it. Because it’s not doing me any good to obsess. Acknowledge your feelings of sadness- and then move on. And sure, maybe it’s easy for me to say this because I don’t seem to have the same MUST HAVE BABY NOW! drive that some of people have (“Maybe I’m not pregnant because I don’t want it badly enough” says Sadness), but I can’t define my life by my ability (or lack thereof) to conceive. I have to look at what I have (a kick-ass husband and an amazing network of family and friends) and be grateful for it. Those are the emotions I choose to focus on, because I couldn’t handle the person I’d become if I dwelt on what Sadness has to say…

  9. Two losses in six months for us. Main way I cope is keeping busy, but still trying to remember to let the emotions happen as they come. It ain’t easy, though.

  10. Talk about it!

    It took us 17 month to conceive, I found between 6 months and a year the hardest so I know exactly what you’re going through.

    After 12 months we went to see our doctor (that’s the procedure here in the UK) and she sent us off for all kinds of tests. Nothing was wrong. But we started talking, instead of being sad we told our parents that we’d been trying for a long time, we told a couple of friends. And it simply helped us to relax.

    You can’t force yourself to relax, which is why that advice is such rubbish. But you do eventually start to, well I don’t think ‘accepting’ is the word, but you start to get on with your life again. I don’t know why this worked for us, even if it was just a coincidence. But, bam, month 17 – pregnant. I’m actually only 7 weeks along now, so early days. But believe me, the wait is absolutely worth it!

  11. We’ve been trying for 16 months. We’ve had 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarriages (the first at 12.5 and then at 6 weeks). Every month that I get my period is ROUGH. I have to let myself be sad about it in the moment, talk with my husband and take some time to grieve a little. Having a support system of people I love who know that we’re trying and at times struggling is unbelievably helpful. Can’t recommend enough being gentle with yourself!

  12. I’m so glad to read all of this. My husband and I have been trying for a few months now. I know logically that it can take time, and not to really start worrying until the year mark, but I’ve also been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and due to multiple surgeries to remove tumors and cysts I only have half of an ovary left. So I’m anxious each month, and even though I don’t feel quite depressed yet (I look at each negative test as another month that I can indulge in my caffeine cravings or go do something dangerously fun, like swinging off of a rope into the creek) I worry that I will feel it eventually. I do feel kind of sad every time my period starts, and I feel wistful whenever I hear new stories about my sister-in-law’s new baby girl, but I’m not yet experiencing out and out depression.

    Hopefully with all of the good advice that I’ve read here I can stave it off and stay positive!

  13. It took us 10 months to conceive. I have PCOS and an irregular cycle, so, after a few months, I stopped charting. It was depressing to see when I didn’t ovulate (it didn’t seem to happen every cycle), and confusing when my period came at random times.

    The first few months, I stopped drinking after two weeks in my cycle in case I’d ovulated and was pregnant. It ended up being way, way too stressful. Cancelling scotch tasting meetings and not relaxing with a beer after concerts, all for nothing? I couldn’t do it. I decided to behave like a non-pregnant person until I was for sure pregnant. Yes, this means that I did drink during the first week of my pregnancy, before I knew I was pregnant. You can all judge me, but I needed to do it to cope.

    6 months into our trying, my husband’s younger brother’s wife got pregnant with the first grandchild of the family. They had gotten pregnant on the first try. We were happy for them, but it was hard for us.

    I started to try to focus on something else equally engrossing. My husband and I have an open relationship, so I took a new lover. This did the trick, as it occupied my brain and ramped up my hormones. To avoid paternity confusion, my husband and I used birth control for a few months so that I wouldn’t get pregnant during this time. It made sex something else other than baby-making, and it was good to take this break. I stopped having sex with the lover before my husband and I began trying again, just to be safe. Oddly enough, I had a few regular cycles in a row and conceived pretty soon after.

    So basically I am saying: have sex with other people! It worked for me.

  14. So helpful, all of this. We’ve been trying since January, and while it’s really not that long, it has been exhausting. When my cycles began stretching to 55 days, I made an infertility appointment (though I prefer ‘pre-fertility appointment). To my pleasant surprise, the doctor did not laugh at me, tell me to come back after it had been a year, or tell me to relax. Instead she gave me hope and a gameplan, and being the hyperplanner I am, this has been a lifesaver. The plan is to start Femara, though the doc told me there are many options so not to lose hope. Calling the doctor before the regular year long waiting period really helped me.

    For myself, I began explaining my situation, instead of biting heads off when asked when I was going to have a baby. I began focusing on my body and health. I try to plan trips, parties, wine tasting. It’s not in my nature to not think the ‘what if I’m pregnant’. But I’m trying very hard to tell myself, ‘If I am pregnant, so what. It will still be fun.’

  15. Well, I do not cope well at all. For several reasons, one of them being that in order to conceive, I had to lower the level of my substitute thyroid hormones (I got my thyroid removed due to cancer almost 3 years ago). Since they are lower, I feel exhausted, gain weight without eating anything and am quite depressed. But if I want to conceive and avoid miscarriage, I am supposed to lower those hormones, so I was told. The result is that I am exhausted, depressed and put on 15 kg but “you know if you want to conceive it is the only way. Of course it increases as well the risks of the comeback of the cancer”.
    But I got pregnant, the first month we tried, and lost it… So as everyone feels obliged to tell, “at least I know this is working”. It is no consolation.
    Every month I have this highs and lows, I feel less alone. I try to work out in order to be in shape when the baby come but well it is not easy. What drives me crazy is that now that I am 33 i am told that there is nothing to worry about but at 35 I will be told that it is too late…. Speak about coherence….

  16. I hit the baby bingo with my first child- getting pregnant on the first try. We’ve been trying for a second since February with no luck so far. I’ve been surprised by how well I’m dealing with the wait.

    Part of it is probably having my daughter around to keep me ‘entertained’ and another part of it is that I’ve been focusing on the things I can do since I’m not pregnant.

    For instance- eating soft serve ice cream. It’s a no no for pregnant women and I chose to abstain the summer I was pregnant. Not so this summer! Shakes- yes! Vanilla and chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles- absolutely!

    The other big one was a family wedding planned for Costa Rica in March. I REALLY, REALLY want to go, and a small part of me debated delaying getting pregnant so we could go. We kept trying, but since I didn’t get pregnant this month, we can go (even if I were to get pregnant next month, I’d still be able to travel in March).

    So I guess what has been working for me is having that wedding to look forward to. Now that that milestone has past, perhaps it will get harder.

    Wish there was better advice to give/get.

    Wishing everyone well in their family building endeavors.

    • I just want to say that I have never heard of soft serve being off limits to pregnant women before. I was told ice cream of all kinds is usually craved because the dairy/sugar sometimes settles the stomach and is a comfort food. My medical providers told me it was fine in moderation, and the craving usually has to do with a need for protein instead. I only needed to cut back after 36 weeks to avoid putting on too much baby “fluff” or extra weight. Of course this might be different if you have diabetes or other health issues.

      I was also told numerous times to stop eating honey during conception & pregnancy, which I use quite often in teas and recipes. Most people didn’t know that it’s only the infant’s stomach that does not have proper enzymes for digestion; my stomach is just fine! There are plenty of things you might hear from others – advice, tips, wives’ tales – but all in all I agree with the majority of women on here that you just need to live your life and not act like you might be pregnant all the time, or you will drive yourself crazy.

      I wish you good luck, and enjoy yourself fully on that trip!

      • I think some people are concerned about listeria risk in soft serve ice cream. It’s the same deal as cold cuts.

  17. I’m just waiting for the results of blood test to find out if I’ve had a chemical pregnancy, which I’m sure I have, and the idea of going back to ttc just makes me sad, especially as I have long cycles due to late ovulation.

    There is some great advice here, I am definetly going to go back to hitting the gym hard, and drinking wine. I have literally spent my life since June as if I ‘might’ be pregnant and its just stupid. I will continue to chart, but I’ve got to stop focusing on it. Otherwise I know ill loose my mind. I’m also going to avoid ttc forums.

    Thanks for the good advice 🙂

    • Yes! Go back to exercising and wine! I could only keep up acting like I “might” be pregnant for a few months. It’s exhausting.

  18. We just hit the 1 year mark of trying. I thought I was coming to terms, but this month hurts even more than I thought it would. The only advice I have is exercise and counseling. Talking to family and friends was hard. After learning our children will, well, never be accidental – we found comfort in counseling. Additionally, exercise has been huge for me. I’m so angry at my body, so pushing it and working with it has been very therapeutic. I sort of see my exercise classes as time to reconcile my relationship with my body. Best of luck to you!

  19. I’ve read this post and all the comments more times than I care to admit, during the last week.
    My fiance and I have also been trying to get pregnant for 7 months. The past two months seem to have been particularly hard on me. I haven’t really let on too much to my honey or friends and family about how am feeling until this week. I’m feeling so overwhelmed with sadness that this baby thing has just not happened. It doesn’t help that it seems my entire world of friends is either having a baby or already does. Two facebook announcements of impending babies have sent me over the edge this week. It’s not that I’m not happy for these people – they will all be amazing parents, it just I feel sad because I want to be a mom so bad and guilty for not feeling all sunshine and lollipops for everyone else. I’m emotional anyway as I have my lovely period to mark again that my body has failed. Add to this that my lady of honor, who already has a toddler, has recently decided to try for baby #2. She has every right to add to her family, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time, knowing where I’m at, it feels insensitive for her to be going on about it with me right now.
    I will try to heed the exercise and have fun advice another day. Today I will wallow, and try to move on tomorrow.

    • Allow yourself to cry and be angry with the injustice – that’s what I did when EVERYONE on FB seemed to post pics of ultrasounds and announce how happy they were to be having their umpteenth child.

      Letting these feelings out is just as important as being sensitive to their needs.
      In the end I actually had to remove some people from my social feeds – it just became too much to see when I had been trying for so long.
      Don’t feel guilty about your feelings. Also, sharing with your partner and family is important. When I finally caved under and phoned my mother crying like a child down the line, she told me that it was common in my family to struggle with conception, and it helped to know that I wasn’t the only one.

  20. We’ve just hit the year mark. I’ve only had one person who said Just relax and it will happen. I admittedly overreacted (I’m on Clomid!) when I said Well when do you start to worry, because its been almost a year and we’re not pregnant yet, is it alright with you if I get a little worried now?? Thankfully it was the husband of a close friend, he apologized, as did I- but I don’t think I know how to react to a comment like that without being rude, but also get the point across.

  21. I am in my first cycle off birth control, and I am also starting to chart for the first time. I was on the pill for over 7 years, so I hope I can remain patient and laid back about everything if getting pregnant doesn’t happen right away. Next week will mark 6 months that I have worked out at least 3x a week- exercise is such an important stress release for me.

    My biggest concern about the monthly highs and lows is that our parents know we are trying now, and the most stressful part I imagine is the questions surrounding “Are you pregnant yet?”

    We shall see. We are definitely jumping in to previously uncharted territory (quite literally), so I have no idea what a normal non-pill cycle will be like for me.

  22. I am going through this too. We’ve been birth-control free for a year but “trying” for about four months. Every month it’s the same thing; that gut-sinking disapointment as those cramps I was fooling myself into thinking weren’t menstral manifest into not-pregnant. How I deal is to remind myself that this is one more month in which I won’t have to be a pregnant zoo keeper, one more month to save more money or get even more in shape. My partner is sometimes more upset than I am, and that makes it better and worse. He wants to be a dad so bad which I find sexy as hell, but I sometimes need him to be the one to say “don’t worry, it will happen!” Seeing these stories on this forum make me feel better that it will happen eventually.

  23. My fiance and I have been trying since the end of September. We knew early on that we were going to get married and have kids, it was just a question of timing and when should we fit it in. I had him come with me to my annual exam / maybe take my IUD out exam. After listening to the doctor, we were both on the same page. Don’t wait – start trying. I’m almost 33 and he’s almost 37. It’s been hard having each month go by since then with no positive results at all. I’m not surprised, because he was married before and he and his ex wife had to resort to IVF treatments before getting pregnant once which they ended up losing at 12 or 13 weeks or so. As a result of that, he had to be tested and so we knew that he already was working with a low sperm count (but still within normal limits as of a few years ago)and I imagine less than ideal morphology and motility of his “swimmers”.

    So – for me – my natural pessimism is the only thing keeping me going. I’ve got it in my head that it won’t happen for a long time and that we will need help. I’ve had 3 successful pregnancies that happened with no issues whatsoever, so this is a new thing for me. I’m buoyed up by his natural instincts and his amazing “gut feelings” that tend to be right. He’s sure it will happen for us but not till after the wedding, which is a few months away. I’m not surprised by the constant negative pregnancy tests, and while I’m sad each month a bit, I’m more settled and I won’t really freak out until after the wedding. When it will be close to a year for us of actual “trying”.

    I also stay away from the baby forums as those tend to make me obsess and over analyze EVERYTHING. Every PMS symptom, everything. Just stay away!

  24. After trying to conceive for 9 cycles now, I’ve realized how long I’ve been holding on to “carrots” for each month of failure to conceive. Like, “I’ll treat myself to a massage if it doesn’t take this month” or “this could be my last glass of wine so let’s make it a good one!”. These are, in a way, negative reinforcements that never let me truly enjoy the reward. I’ve realized I should just do what I want to do, when I want to do it. Make plans. Don’t wait for a negative before you do something nice for yourself. It’s really made the last two months so much more fruitful. My life is centered around doing what makes me happy, not rewarding myself for “failure” and it feels great!

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