June signified the official 1 year mark of trying to conceive. It’s been a full year of charting monthly cycles, peeing on ovulation strips, and trying to preserve romance as we timed intercourse accordingly. Over the past year we became a well oiled machine — and not just because we were using fertility friendly lubricant. With every passing month, I discovered just how lonely, heartbreaking and agonizing the trying to conceive journey can be. Even though secondary infertility has become a deep source of insecurity, I am here to share to prove you are not alone.
When we conceived our son Kai, it was effortless. The more I think about it, the more I believe my husband and I just looked at each other and got pregnant. There was no way around it — Kai was coming into our life no matter what.
But the truth is, I was 27 and newly married with far less responsibilities. I embodied an optimistic carefree attitude and felt completely at ease. My mindset was, if it happens it happens and if it doesn’t that’s fine too. I had youthful ovaries, a pep in my step and my entire life to get pregnant. Everything was simple, but most importantly I was relaxed.
When Kai was 15 months old I went back to work. Returning to my old life felt like a weight was lifted and I started to feel myself again. Work turned out to be the vacation from home I needed — the coffee was always hot and lunch breaks were uninterrupted.
This was around the time my husband and I started to consider expanding our family. We always knew we wanted at least two kids, and finally reached a point where we could handle losing sleep again. So, we began loosely tracking cycles and had sex as often as we could. We assumed we would get pregnant quickly, but also weren’t in a rush since we were so distracted with our new found freedom.
But with each passing month, and every period that proved I wasn’t pregnant, my outlook and attitude on trying to conceive shifted. I was frustrated, disappointed, angry, sad and insecure. I began to internalize my fears about infertility, and these emotions quickly manifested into stress. As I impatiently waited each month to receive a positive test, I felt wedged in a space of limbo. I started to live life as if I was already pregnant. I held off on enjoying a glass of wine, raw sushi or a cup of hibiscus tea each time I entered the “Two Week Wait”.
Month after month of negative pregnancy tests started to wear me down.
Each month I suppressed my disappointment and shame...deeper and deeper. It felt like the natural way to conceal what was really going on. I didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable, and certainly didn’t want to feel this pain myself.
Throughout this process, my husband has been the real MVP. His attitude and outlook has never wavered — he knows it will happen. Every month he was quick to comfort me, “We will get it next month...Don’t worry sweetie.” I wanted to have the same positive outlook and patience he did, but deep down I knew I didn’t embody the same level of certainty.
Remember the childhood game Snakes and Ladders —That rush of excitement when you think you almost won the game but you roll the dice only to find yourself back at square one? Each month I convinced myself I wasn’t attached to the outcome. That I didn’t care if the test was positive or negative [yeah right]. So when I faced yet another negative test, I slid down my optimistic ladder only to return to my self-defeating mindset —a place I often returned to.
Not being able to conceive when you want a baby is tough shit. Being kind to yourself throughout this process is so important. It took a year of failure for me to realize there is a lot of growth here. Instead of allowing myself to think, why me?, I began to ask myself, what can I learn from this?
What I know for sure if that self-defeating thoughts will always surface. Our ego thrives in this negative self-worth environment. It is up to you to separate from these thoughts, and become an observer of your emotions instead of letting them control you.
After unsuccessfully trying to conceive for 1 year, I’ve finally reached a point of self-love and forgiveness. I am not responsible for my infertility, but I am also not a victim. I’ve come to realize, if I ever wanted to conceive naturally, I would have to shift my focus and nurture the most important relationship of all –the one with myself.
Alas, here I am – enjoying a second cup of coffee while writing this post – still very much not pregnant. But it’s okay. I have an amazing son who lights up our world and has gifted us with an incredibly rich family life.
But — I am still allowed to feel hopeful, and honour whatever emotions I encounter along this journey.
Thankfully, I’ve finally reached a point where I feel content with where I am. Accepting I may only ever have one child, and knowing the only way to move forward is to be open to all possibilities and trust the plan is even better than the one I had imagined.
Be kind to yourself, ladies. Remember your narrative will either lift you up or it will drag you down. It’s up to you to consciously choose. But please know, you are not alone and are so incredibly worthy.
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