Friday, June 16, 2017

To the Woman Trying to Conceive

Making the decision to try for a child is huge and once you've made that decision, you may learn that just because you're ready, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen for you according to your timeline. You just might get pregnant that first month of trying but you also might have a long road ahead and perhaps even experience some major heartbreak along the way.

There aren't many things that make the up and downs of trying to conceive any easier, but I know through our journey, I appreciated having people I could relate to, people I could open up to without hearing the usual advice or judgment, people who could provide the kind of support I needed.

I have a few women in my life going through or have recently been through this and as I've spoken with them, I've really tried to stray away from saying the things that frustrated me when we were trying to conceive. The truth is, I don't have any helpful advice for any woman trying to get pregnant, no matter what they've experienced or how long they've been trying because I've been there. No advice in the world makes it easier to wait patiently for something you are so incredibly ready for.

With that being said, here's what I will say to the woman who is trying:

It's okay to not be okay. There is this weird pressure from society that comes with trying to get pregnant. Sharing any disappointment, impatience, frustration seems to be immediately shut down by anyone you're talking to about it. You get the usual responses basically telling you to stop stressing about it, to not overthink it, to stay positive and my least favorite, "Relax! You've only been trying for a few months." Just because today I'm feeling disappointed and frustrated, doesn't mean I'm stressing out or whining about it and I hated feeling like I wasn't allowed to just be sad some days. I started to feel like I was better off either not sharing at all, or saying something fake and overly positive to avoid the whole situation. The thing is, through our whole journey I never lost faith. I knew it would happen for us and I truly trusted God's timing, but that doesn't mean I didn't have days where I just felt sad, disappointed, frustrated. Don't feel like you can't have a bad day every now and then. Don't lose hope, but don't feel like you have to be okay all the time.

On that note, feel what you're feeling and don't apologize for it. I've been there. One day you're feeling at peace, hopeful, optimistic and the next you're discouraged, anxious and fearful that this is not going to happen for you. It's unrealistic to expect yourself to be positive all the time especially when you've just taken another pregnancy test only for it to be negative, again.

Stop comparing your journey. Maybe you've only been trying for 6 months and you feel discouraged but you talk yourself out of feeling sad because some women try for years or some women aren't able to get pregnant at all. Stop it. It's good to keep things in perspective because there is always someone who has it worse. Everyone's journey is different and yes, there is usually someone going through something worse than you but that doesn't make your current feelings any less valid. Break the habit of comparison now because there is no peace to be found there.

Be sad if you need to be sad, but find a way to be happy for others. I deleted this one, then added it back in because even typing it, I remember how much, much easier said than done this is. Especially these days with social media, it seems the same day you've had another negative pregnancy test is the same day all of your Facebook friends are announcing they're pregnant or posting photos of their adorable newborn baby. I'd be telling a big fat lie if I said that when we were trying, seeing these things didn't make my heart hurt a little bit. At the end of the day, though, being bitter toward someone else doesn't make your pain any less of a reality. Try to remove your personal pain from the situation and find a way to be happy for others and remember that these people have also tried, waited, prayed for this child and may have faced their own challenges along the way.

The last thing I would tell you is certainly the toughest truth to accept, in my opinion, but even if you feel like you are in control, just keep reminding yourself of this: you are not. This is a harsh reality and it was for us, too! Jonathan and I are planners by nature and when we decided we were ready for a baby, we expected it to happen easily because we were ready for it. I can't imagine many people go into TTC thinking it will be a difficult or long journey. With the apps and tools available to us these days, it's easy to feel like we've done everything correctly to make it happen and when it doesn't, we are confused, angry, frustrated. I constantly had to remind myself that God was in control and what was harder, was that I had to remind myself that it wasn't my job to understand His plan. I just had to trust Him. I failed at this a lot and I still do in some aspects, but I do think if you keep this in mind, it will give you strength and peace when you need it most.

Like I said, I don't have any groundbreaking advice to share with you and I know all too well that another piece of advice is the last thing you want to hear. I guess I just want you to know that you're not alone. You're not alone for feeling disappointed, frustrated, confused or impatient at any point on this journey. I want you to know you don't have to live up to anyone's expectations of how you should deal with whatever comes throughout the process. I also want you to know that as hard as it might seem to believe at times, God is faithful and you are stronger than you think you are. I also want to tell you that your day is coming and whatever you went through to get to that day will have prepared you for what's next.

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