I live in a small town far away from friends and family. We’ve made new friends there and I keep them in the loop due to my open-book personality. My closest friends that I write to know about my struggle to conceive a child, but when we returned to the city for our summer school holiday, my struggle suddenly felt like a big secret.
I didn’t want to tell people we were struggling to conceive because a) I do not want advice, b) I do not want platitudes and c) I do not want anything except sympathy on this topic. Then talk to me about other things in life, I’m still me. I didn’t tell my Bible study group because I was afraid of hearing things like “God grants us the desires of our hearts,” “Just relax about it, it’ll happen in God’s timing,” etc.
I thought I was coping all well and good with not being pregnant, but the other day I spontaneously burst into tears without warning. I was a bit embarrassed about it. When do you tell people you’re having trouble conceiving? When is the natural time to bring that stuff up? I don’t know, and I’m sick of feeling like it’s a secret. So here it is: we’re having trouble conceiving.
My partner James and I have been trying to conceive for about nine months, unsuccessfully.
For those who don’t know, this is how a typical cycle for me looks like. I get my period, we wait for about a week then start trying, then we wait for about two weeks, then I get my period again. This is what it feels like. We start trying and that’s good and fun. Then we start waiting. I notice that something about my body is ever-so-slightly different and wonder if it’s because there’s now a baby in my uterus. But no! Don’t start hoping, self. It probably won’t happen. But it might! But it probably won’t. But it might!
For two weeks. Then my period is late by a day, or I’ve miscalculated when it’ll start and things are a little more hopeful/exciting. Then I get my period. I’m a little disappointed but hopeful for the next cycle.
But that slightly-sad-yet-hopeful conclusion changed one day about six weeks ago. A very awesome friend announced her pregnancy and my reaction was off the planet! I was weepy and depressed for about a week from it. I hated being intimate with James and it was affecting my job.
We decided to take a cycle off from trying, and that was good — really good. Then I got offered a classroom teaching position for next year and we’ve decided to stop trying until April to give me a break from trying to conceive and so I can finish out the school year.
The baby wave is starting amongst friends of mine. There have been four announcements in two months on Facebook. Each time I feel a little sad that it isn’t me. I am happy for them and I wish them all the best, but it is still hard for me. I don’t want to be the kind of person who hides friends on Facebook or blocks baby-related Pinterest boards to avoid triggers… yet, that is what I’m doing.
I love my friends, but I need to not cry all the time.
If anyone feels like they want to make life easier for someone they know is struggling to conceive a child, this is what I’d suggest: please tell them if you’re also trying to conceive. When they hear happy news from you, it won’t be a shock — and they will have already been emotionally on-board with your pregnancy.
For me personally, I feel much less isolated knowing someone else who is in this struggle. A friend’s sister has been trying for a while now, and even though I’m not close with her, I am hoping and praying and anticipating her one day, maybe, finally, falling pregnant. I feel like we’re in the same boat and I’m actually glad there’s one other person in the whole world struggling with this as I am.
I wrote about our struggle on my blog, and the reception was incredible. People shared that they’d been trying, personal struggles of their own, that they’d be thinking of me. No one gave me well-meaning but awful advice. Some people who now have tiny children shared that it took them years of trying to get to that point and they sympathised with my struggle. All up, it has been a positive experience and I’m glad I put myself out there.