When Trying to Have a Baby Isn’t Going How You Expected

I’ve probably written 8 different drafts of this post. It’s hard to write about in any kind of level-headed way (and even harder to talk about).

If I’m looking for positives (I’ve been learning to gratitude journal), each version has gotten less indignant over time. When I wrote my first draft, I was freshly carrying so many big, difficult, conflicting emotions and I fumbled my way quite clumsily through how to be a person with so many hard things weighing on me. There were so many things I didn’t expect to come with trying to get pregnant. What follows are the things no one told me might happen that I wish I knew.

The Emotional & Mental Toll That Grows the Longer It Takes

There are so many people in this world who want to have a baby and struggle to do so. Logically, I know this. And yet, because of how complicated and heavy and hard it is to be struggling with something so personal, something you want so badly, it feels like you’re the only one going through it because people don’t talk about it. And I learned that there’s good reason for this: People don’t really know what to say.

There are a lot of (well-intentioned) platitudes that result in feeling even more invisible in your struggle than before. What I’ve wished for again and again is a community of women also going through the same thing that I could talk to about how hard it is, people who “get it.” But sharing is hard, and you never know who will handle your feelings with care.

I feel fortunate to have a fantastic husband and some amazing women in my life who recognized my pain, who sat with me in my suffering, who didn’t try to fix the hurt or attempt to quash my hard feelings with toxic positivity. Because of these wonderful humans, here are some suggested better ways to respond to someone who’s struggling:

You don’t have to fix it. Just acknowledge that what they’re going through is really hard. It doesn’t feel great to not be able to “do” something when someone is going through a hard time, but you can’t really fix this. What you can do is recognize that what they’re going through is real and that they’re not alone.

Ask how you can best support them. That may mean just sitting with them when they’re sad. Being asked this was such a salve to my soul.

Ask how they’re feeling instead of assuming. Instead of saying, “Don’t stress” or “don’t worry,” find out what emotions they are experiencing, and support accordingly.

How Hard It Can Actually Be to Get Pregnant

Okay, look, we’ve all seen Mean Girls. And I’m here to say: It’s not quite that easy for everyone. High School sex ed made it seem almost impossible NOT to get pregnant. Sure, fertility is higher in your late teens/early twenties, but man, so many women I’ve talked to have agreed: Getting pregnant can be a lot harder than what we were taught to believe, which is maddening when you’re doing everything within your control to increase your odds of success.

The Absolute Purgatory That is the “Two Week Wait”

Fuck those two weeks. No matter how much you try to coach yourself out of counting down the days to your predicted period, it’s impossible not to wonder if this will finally be the month you get to celebrate.

@me to me: Do less.

Couple this with the number of early pregnancy symptoms that overlap with your period (spoiler: its almost all of them), and you’ve got an unfun time. It was probably 5 months in to trying before I found this infographic, and I wish I had sooner. It may not have changed the symptom searching, but this context could have saved me from a lot of false hope. Speaking of hope…

Also light bleeding/spotting can be the start of your period, and frequent urination can come with over-hydrating. NOTHING IS A SIGN. YOU’RE WELCOME

How to Hold Hope Lightly

It’s hard not to be hopeful when you want something so desperately. After the first few months of no success, and being surprised by how much it hurt each time my period arrived, I started trying to game the system: If I can just tamp down my hope and tell myself to expect that I wont be pregnant, maybe this will be a little easier to bear. I tried to find ways to keep my expectations more realistic, and yet in spite of that, I found myself in a devastated sobbing heap every month when it didn’t happen yet again.

LOL I’m lying to myself

There was a 3-month stretch in particular that was really hard. The timing of finding out we weren’t pregnant (again and again and again) unfortunately aligned with days where I was celebrating other women’s success. The duality of emotions (something Brene Brown talks about a lot) is a complicated minefield to cross. To feel happy for someone else’s gain while feeling so heartbroken for your lack feels terrible. I took a couple of mental health days from work after the third month in a row to recoup.


The Hell Hole That is Social Media

It was around this time that I decided to take social media off my phone.

It had become a pattern: Every time I opened social media, the first thing I saw was a pregnancy announcement. So I decided it was probably best for my mental health to take a break, and I took the apps off my phone.

The problem with social media is that there’s often a lack of context. When there’s a pregnancy announcement every day, it starts to feel like everyone else is having easy luck while you’re struggling, though that’s likely not the case. You don’t always get insight into how long they’ve been trying, what struggles they’ve faced, or all of the emotion behind their journey. Saying TTFN to social has opened up free time to read more books, and I have no complaints about that.

If you’re in a trying season and you’re feeling alone in your struggle, I see you. Trying to have a baby can be really hard, physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. This is hard. Your feelings are valid. I hope you have a support system of good people in your life who can see you where you’re at and comfort you in the ways you need. Sending all the baby dust your way (and mine. LOL)


Bossey Boots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s