Baby Making: Sassy Advice for When the “Trying” Gets Tough

Oh, conception! You’ve finally decided to kick the pill to the curb and now, all that stands between you and an adorable, cooing infant is relaxed, plentiful sex, nine months of eating ice cream and voila: BABY! (That’s exactly how it works, right?) So when the “trying” isn’t “working,” what’s a girl to do?

Some lessons learned during nine months of the-trying-isn’t-working:

1. Just relax!
(This is obviously a joke. This is something your doctor, who is literally nine months pregnant, and probably conceived all of her seven children naturally after her husband just looked at her, tells you as you sit in her office, fingernails bitten down to the elbows. This is something your friend tells you, the one who “ohmygod, got pregnant after one month of trying, isntthatcrazy?!” This is something your mother tells you, but then asks you on the regular whether or not you are yet pregnant. But seriously, whataboutnow? But you cannot relax. Because you had a plan for this whole pregnancy thing. You had a plan for actually having this baby in time for a summer marathon/learning how to knit a cute and possibly ironic fall sweater/trekking across Bhutan. Because you were totally going to do those things. With a ten-month-old. On your back. But now, you cannot. Because now, your sole focus is planning the days on which you and your husband will both be home at exactly the same, very romantic, time.)

2. Which brings us to number two. Have a lot of transactional sex because you are using the cycle beads and the stupid cycle beads say YOU MUST HAVE SEX EVERY DAY FOR TWELVE DAYS STARTING NOW, we don’t care if you’re tired and just ate a lot of cookies fun!

3. You are not alone!
(You are totally alone. Every single woman you know between the ages of eighteen to forty is currently pregnant or has recently given birth to the most beautiful-precious-porcelain-doll-of-a-gorgeous-baby, none of whom look all weird and grandpa-alien-ish, and there is literally no one, not a single other person in the entire god forsaken universe who has ever tried as long as you have to have a baby—which is really not that long at all. Also: Facebook. Honestly. You swing wildly back and forth between liking every single picture of a child under the age of three—even the only semi-cute, goblin looking children of some former intern who you have literally exchanged not seven words with—and feeling like, hey girl, I do not need this constant stream of adorable baby mugs and fawning social-media-o-sphere taunting me with every teeny-tiny baby mitten and teeny-tiny fuzzy baby chicken Halloween costume ever sold or made. So alas, you are going to have to leave Facebook. Because that is a totally rational, not impulsive decision and the only available option. Obviously.*)

4. The mommy blogs. Dear lord in heaven, the mommy blogs.
(The mommy blogs, collectively speaking, are a deep, dark, discombobulating vortex into which you will fall. Hard. You will become irrationally obsessed with mommy blogs as a way to numb your pain get excited about motherhood! But it’s okay! Because even though you do not have a child, and are neither breastfeeding nor pregnant, it is totally imperative that you form deep, nuanced opinions on cloth diapers, “keeping baby safe from scary electrical outlet thingy,” and some mystery verb called “Ferberizing.” Oh, you are ready for that baby and now that you suddenly discovered these feminist, progressive mom-ladies and their profound missives on the interwebs, the amount of time you spend reading this stuff is bordering on crazy town.)

5. The TV is a bunch of lying liars.
(Getting pregnant is totally not at all like they say it is in Teen Mom. You will know because after months of “trying”, you will convince your husband to pretend that you are both totally irresponsible sixteen-year-olds and you are like, you know, hooking up at his parents house, and he like totally doesn’t want to wear a condom, because you know, it like doesn’t feel good, and plus he’s “too big,” and you think you took your birth control but umm, you don’t really know because whateverrrr, so let’s just bang, hmm? Spoiler alert: you will not get pregnant this way despite your strong work impersonating the only-semi-literate stars of MTV’s hit series which is made for people much younger than you and which you totally do not watch while working out. Anyway, you’re still not pregnant.)

So where does that leave us besides still, totally, without a baby? Well, humor and wit intact, we forge on! For those playing at home, we’re now eleven expensive decadent months into this infertility adventure, where our cast of characters now involves a reproductive endocrinologist and an inordinate number of early morning doctor’s appointments. But it could be worse, right? We could be on Teen Mom.

*You do not leave Facebook because, duh, how would you remember birthdays? Also, the cute babies!

Photo by Gabriel Harber Photography

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  • Kristin

    Omg yes. You are in my brain. Thank you for this! When no one close to you has trouble conceiving, it’s nice to pretend your virtual APW “friends” get you.

    • I know, right? I keep telling DH that when we *finally* get pregnant, we are NOT blabbing it all over Facebook and making other people sad! Seriously, the status updates about “omg, I hate being pregnant, this sucks”…those just kill me.

      • Kristin

        For sure! Or the fact that there is literally a pregnancy announcement on the ‘book at least once a week….killer.

      • meg

        Though I will say, while I was having a legitimately completely awful pregnancy (the kind you would never write a FB update about) it was my friends struggling with infertility that really got it. There is something about living outside the cultural narrative that makes you understand other people living outside the narrative… even if it’s in a totally different way.

        And. All my good thoughts for the day that you get to complain about being pregnant. A right you will have TOTALLY earned ;)

        • Kristin

          Well said :).

        • “There is something about living outside the cultural narrative that makes you understand other people living outside the narrative… even if it’s in a totally different way.”

          YES. My LGBTQ friends have been the MOST understanding about how hard infertility is. I also feel like it’s given me more empathy for others as well.

      • It’s been watching all the pregnancy updates on facebook that has drastically reduced the number of people who show up on my feed there. Pregnancy update and you aren’t in my real life close circle of friends? Hidden. I’m still friends with those people, but I have no idea what is going on in their lives.

  • Shiri

    The mommy blogs. My god. The mommy blogs have turned into what Style Me Pretty was when I was worried about us getting engaged. Or, worrying about what worrying about us getting engaged would be like, since right now I’m only, apparently, worrying about what worrying about trying to get pregnant will be like.

    Also, my heart is with you.

  • Granola

    hahahahahahaha this was wonderful.

    I feel a little bad laughing because I’m sure this is/has been a really painful process. But what wit and grace, honestly.

    I’m certainly rooting for you both – best of luck and may all the other babies in your life know how lucky they are to have you around.

    • Can someone please explain to me what the “mommy blogs” are. They sound awful but now I am curious.

      • meg

        Well. I actually hate the term. I think it’s super sexist, since it tends to be applied to any blogger that has a kid and writes about it. It was sort of my nightmare, having the term applied to me, possibly one day.

        Some are… not great. Some are wonderful. Rebecca Wolf and Girls Gone Child is both a brillant writer and an amazing person. When I was on the fence, she was always the person who made me feel like OF COURSE you could have kids and do it your way and have it be awesome. Also: Fosterhood. Also: Mighty Girl (which, REALLY not a mommy blog, but Maggie does have an awesome kid).

        • YES to GGC. Rebecca Woolf and her brood are such great fun to read about!

        • Meg,

          Girls Gone Child is really gone. Thanks for the recommendation.

      • Kess

        To me, it seems that the defining characteristic of a ‘mommy blog’ is that they pretty much just write about having kids, and maybe housework. They seem to lose all identity otherwise.

        There are tons of people who are moms and do blog but they have a distinct identity that is separate from their children, and those are the people I wouldn’t consider to be a ‘mommy blogger’.

  • Yep. Feeling this. We’re not to this phase yet, but I feel like it will be similarly frustrating for us. You are not alone!

  • liblady

    Yes on the planning. I like to plan. I had plans for what happens if getting pregnant interfered with the other plans I had.

    Planning for something that’s not happening, however, is not so easy. The longer it doesn’t happen, the harder it gets.

    We’re in a weird in-between place, where we seem to be doing everything right and it’s not working, but it’s too early (according to insurance anyway) to start testing and specialists and what not. I keep thinking if we change something, do something different (what, how? Who knows) some form of magic will happen and get me out of this grey area.

    I have banned myself from the ‘ttc’ boards, and their acronyms and discussions of fluids and tenderness. I can’t sift through the pseudo-medical info and anecdotes with out panicky overreaction.

    • The fluid stuff is not pseudomedical, just saying. Maybe you could get a good science book to explain it (if and when you feel like going into that).

      • liblady

        I didn’t mean to say that it was. I had two separate thoughts there that I combined in an attempt to be brief, one that there is a lot of personal info about strangers that I don’t care to know; the other that some of what is discussed is unproven, second hand at best, and to often for me in the vein of ‘my cousin’s best friend’s sister did this, so you should too’ and I need to stay away from that for my own sanity.

        • Yeah, I totally get you I also stay away of those forums for my own sanity as well… Good luck though. I hope your journey will be short and that you won’t even have to go further, get tests and all of that.
          And I fully understand the “wanting to do something different or magic to get out of the grey area”. It feels like limbo, you are not here or there yet… just in between and life seems to be happening everywhere around you.

    • meg

      The ‘TTC boards’ are among the craziest places on the internet. And that’s saying something. I’ve landed there from google searches and OH MY GOD. Then I knew never to go there again, no matter what. Offbeat Family has some great posts in this vein, without the crazy acronyms and animated smiley faces…

      • meg

        (I should clarify: your average google search TTC board. There must be good ones somewhere, and if you know about them, you should totally post them as resources. But the bad ones are… yeahhhhh….)

        • Amanda

          I’m thinking the Reddit sub TTC might be decent. Certainly the sub Babybumps is. It’s (mostly) full of intelligent, smart ass (in a good way), realistic ladies (and men! there are papas there, too!) who give it to you straight. It’s been a great resource for me, navigating the somewhat unknown (to me) path of pregnancy. If anyone spends time on the TTC sub, let us know if it’s as good as I assume it would be!

          • ANON

            I did not know about this subreddit. amazeballs.

          • meg

            Reddit. TTC. WHAT. Excellent.

            Probably way less dancing happy faces, and perhaps no mentions at all of BD, AKA “Baby Dance” AKA sex.

          • Kathleen

            r/tryingforababy is pretty good – there’s some of the same nausea-inducing acronyms, but they’re a lot more willing to put up with snark and realism. They’re also very aware of infertility issues and IVF, and rather intolerant of the “oh if you just relax, it’ll happen!” mentality. Some of the women are a bit obsessed with cycle tracking and basal temps and so forth, but so far it’s the only TTC forum that hasn’t made me want to throw my computer out a window.

            Oh, and being Reddit, there are no dancing smilies or stupid trackers at the bottom of every. single. post. And I have yet to see a mention of “angel babies.”

        • thegeorgie

          The IVP (aka the Internet Vagina Posse) is the best TTC forum I’ve found – tons of ridiculously smart ladies and plenty of queers.

      • liblady

        Oh the animated smileys–shudder.

    • When you’re already going crazy trying not to think about trying to get pregnant all the time (because, let’s be honest, it’s hard not to) one of the best things is keeping away from the crazy places. And the TTC boards are crazy places. As much as it’s nice not to be alone in the journey, surrounding yourself by everyone else’s journey can be overwhelming.

    • My husband’s initials are BD, and it always makes me feel a little wonky at first to see women type they are going to go “BD” that night. Um, stop talking about my husband that way!

  • Contessa

    I love #2. I’m re-examining this crazy baby plan when we can’t even schedule enough time to be alone in the house to make the baby.

  • I’ve been off the pill for two weeks now, and although I have no reason to expect that we’ll have any complications, the fear of infertility paralyzes me. When we face tough times during the baby-making process (whether as a result of infertility, or the regular run of pregnancy and life shit) I hope to remember this approach: humor and wit in tact.

  • Oh man. I am SO THERE right now. We’ve been trying for awhile, and my periods are still super irregular (which they weren’t before using Mirena?!?!), and I tried temping every morning, but that just is NOT FUN, and gahhhhh! This is so stupid!! Everyone I know just stops using birth control, and WHAM! One month later, pregnant!!

    And then people are like, “Oh, you’re overweight, maybe you have PCOS.” And it’s like, NO. I do not have gross hair growing in weird places, or any of the other symptoms of PCOS, except fat, and THAT gets blamed on an excessive amount of tacos. Plus, I’ve been pregnant before.

    Seriously though, I’m considering using Vitex to help regulate my periods and (hopefully) help me ovulate. And I may try temping again, even though it’s a pain. I really want that baby.

    • Em

      I’m so sorry, Stephanie. I know some other women who’ve had unusual cycles after taking the Mirena out — hang in there!

    • lmba


      I have PCOS and I find it pretty insensitive for it to be characterized as having “gross hair growing in weird places.” It’s a VERY common condition; it’s not gross or weird. It’s also worth noting that the same types of hair growth associated with PCOS for women of some racial/ethnic backgrounds are also totally normal, healthy hair growth patterns in women from other racial/ethnic groups. So, once again, it’s not weird or gross.

      As a side note, PCOS is a pretty poorly-understood syndrome, which basically means it is a collection of symptoms. Most people who have it only show some of the symptoms (so you can have PCOS and you may not have hirsutism, or be overweight, or even have the cystic ovaries for which the syndrome is named… It’s a complicated beast).

      Anyway, I get that Stephanie’s comment was not really talking about PCOS, and I get that this is not an infertility or medical forum. I do think it’s worth watching for language like this that could be shaming for some of the women reading it.

      • Stephanie

        Can we talk about your comment made me cry? Because I was trying to be silly.

        Dude, if I had excessive hair growth, I’d be saying, “OMG, the hair. It is so WEIRD.”

        Anyway, I was really making more of a comment about how people think I have PCOS because I’m fat.

        • lmba


          I get that you were talking more about your own experience of people assuming you could have PCOS and not really about people who actually do have PCOS. It’s just – well, for people who actually have PCOS, it is a long-term chronic thing. It’s not something that suddenly pops up and we think, “Oh, that’s weird.” It’s not weird for us, because our bodies are just that way pretty much all the time. But having other people characterize it as weird or gross just piles on top of the already-dominant cultural narrative that women whose bodies don’t meet the airbrushed ideal should be ashamed of themselves. I’m sure that’s not what you were trying to say to people with PCOS (or those who are naturally a little on the hairy side). I’m just responding as someone who has had to come to terms with having a health situation that puts me at odds with how women’s bodies are ‘supposed to’ look.

          As an aside, when it comes to the “excessive hair growth,” (which is TOTALLY the term used in all the medical descriptions of PCOS symptoms, so I’m definitely not criticizing you for using it), I also kindof resent the way that the medical system pathologizes hair on women’s bodies. I think we need better ways of talking about this stuff in general, but maybe that is a conversation for another day!

          Anyway. Totally not trying to make you cry or invalidate your experience, as I know it is frustrating having other people ‘diagnose’ you based on their not-so-professional observations.

      • Rymenhild

        Thank you for this.

  • Courtney

    Yes. Absolutely yes. And can we talk about TTC sex for a moment? Is it just me or is it the worst?! Maybe it’s my hormones, but it is the absolute last thing I want to do at that time!

    • The WORST.

    • It’s a touchy subject in our house. I’m either furious or sobbing, and neither inspire me or my sweet husband to be enjoy sexy time. And the fury and sobbing do a number on him. It’s a terrible, vicious, catch-22.

    • Meaghan

      Yeah, TTC sex is the worst! Nothing like running out of the bathroom after peeing on the hundredth stick of the week and demanding sex several times over the next 24 – 28 hours. Not fun at all! Now that DH and I have moved on to high powered drugs and medical intervention we joke that we might be in different cities when he gets me pregnant. Oh the joys of infertility!

    • The worst. Hands down. If the word “baby” comes up while we’re looking at getting it on it’s a pretty brutal turn off to me, even though it’s what I want the end result to be. It’s hard to be focused on adult fun time when your mind is full of babies and turning it into work.

  • Keeping a sense of humor is a must… even if oh so difficult. We had difficulties conceiving our first, and now that we start trying for our second I sense more doctors ahead of us as I track my cycles. Have you done the tracking? I know it’s necessary (for me), but ugh…

  • Hmmm I don’t really know how to take this post. I know it’s meant to be funny… And sure: “not every talk about fertility needs to be a serious vortex of doom”. No, it doesn’t. In a way that’s why I for the most time avoid infertility blogs and forums. It can be depressing (as much as it’s good to know we are not alone in this).
    If there is something I am learning in this journey is that:
    1. I really enjoy life with my dear husband and that no matter what, we will be happy.
    2. we are able to choose how we react to unpredictable, uncontrollable situations. So, I choose to be happy. I choose not to wallow, not to let the sadness win. This whole journey has made me very aware of our blessings, and it has made me appreciate and find the magic in every single little thing, I am finding joy everywhere.
    Which does not mean… this whole stuff is to be taken as a joke…
    Or maybe I have no sense of humor.
    I laugh at the situation a lot. I laugh at how I’ve come to believe everything I read: take vitamin D, omega 3 acids, avoid the gluten…. and will give anything a shot if it’ll bring us closer to our baby. I laugh at me becoming a little crazy with all of it. Maybe it’s that we are not 11 months in, but 27 months in .
    The just relax or its alternative take a holiday suggestion makes me want to punch people in the face when they say it.
    Holidays… we’ve been to Mexico 3 times, to Istanbul, to Lille, to Paris, to London. Yes, we love to travel and we make it a priority. No, it is not getting us pregnant.
    The relaxing kind of implies you are stressed, and stress is not a cause of infertility. But dealing with this does and can make you stressed.
    Anyhow. I do hope no one would ever have to go through this and that this journey ends soon for everyone in this boat.
    Hope, love and choosing joy is all we have. I don’t know what the future will bring but I know I won’t let this put me down and take my life away.

    • alana

      Awww Amanda, hun… *hugs*…

      I am just hoping at the moment. We just started with fertility treatment because I have PCOS (not overweight, no hair, no acne, just NO PERIODS). I saw the doctor last week and took my first of the complicated pill program yesterday, so it’s all happening at blinding pace and I haven’t really been able to process it. We just thought, well, we want kids so we’d better get the ball rolling, but I feel kind of numb about it… No idea yet if the blinding pace will continue on (leaving me scrabbling to keep up emotionally) or if it will slow down into a war of attrition!

      At this point, however, I’m not desperate. I know I will have a wonderful life with my husband even if we don’t have kids (barring tragic acts of fate). We’ll see how I feel about that if I go two or three years without conceiving though…

      • Megan In NY

        I have PCOS as well, and though we haven’t started “tic” I am so afraid of the struggle that we will have.

      • My sister also has PCOS (without many symptoms). Because she already had the diagnosis before they started trying, it was a pretty straightforward process for them. I think in total, it took them about 10 months or so to get pregnant (counting the 6 months with no intervention). Their daughter just turned 1 on Saturday :)

      • @Alana, like Sara said, I hope it will work out quite fast. It is good to know what the problem is, and also that there is treatment.
        I am praying for you and Megan too.

        People get pregnant all the time (even people who struggle do). So let’s keep on hoping.

        And thanks :)

    • lmba


      It sounds like you have a fantastic attitude and are all about enjoying the life you have (even if it is not 100% the life you are hoping for). Kudos to you on that.

      And I will definitely second that “just relax” is the worst advice for trying to conceive! It might make sense for the first 6-12 months when even those without fertility issues may not have gotten pregnant yet, but as someone who had several conditions to overcome before getting pregnant, I know that if you “just relax” and let things happen “naturally” then the reality is they are not likely to happen at all.

      You are doing the best you can for your family by doing your research, trying out your options, and also enjoying your life as it is now with your partner. Good for you!

    • meg

      No, no. I wasn’t talking about *you*. I was making a joke about us. AKA, APW *does* talk about infertility a lot, and it tends to (for obvious reasons) be very serious in tone. This post is NOT, which is great, and part of why we ran it. Everyone deals with hard stuff differently, and there are some people who find humor a really solid way to get through it. This post was written by someone like that, and is for whoever it might help. We have run TONS of serious posts, for the people that helps.

      And I don’t think the poster finds any of this actually amusing, exactly. Those of us who use humor to cope use it on things that make us livid.

      • Thanks Meg. Humor really does help…. there is this song that goes ” Es preferible reir que llorar” (better to laugh than cry) and this mexican saying that goes: “ya ni llorar es bueno” (which is difficult to translate literally but is something like when crying does not even help…. then you laugh). I think on another thread someone commented how black, morbid humor made the difference when dealing with difficult stuff.

      • MDBethann

        We’re about 8 months into TTC and the whole “relax” “have fun” stuff really ticks me off. Just because I’m aware of my cycles and planning around them a bit doesn’t mean I’m not relaxed and that I’m not having “fun”. People telling me to relax is what actually stresses me out.

        I LOVED this post Meg – humor and sarcasm are definitely ways of diffusing stress and tension in frustrating situations like TTC, though it may not be so for everyone. I know I’m a few days late to reading this post, but as someone approaching her TTC week next week, this post was PERFECT for me today. Thank yous to you, APW, and to the OP for this post!

  • Katie

    This is a FANTASTIC post! It describes my situation perfectly, and made me laugh :) We’re about 9 months in and are highly anticipating the positive pregnancy test!!

  • Sarah

    I feel like this came right out of my brain! The entire TTC process has been a roller coaster of emotions. We’ve just started the hormonal nightmare that is Clomid and while it did force ovulation I’ve literally wept every day since I’ve been on it- pregnancy is just feeling like such distant concept. I know that one day we WILL be parents- one way or another- but the weight of fighting this private battle is SO overwhelming.

    • Emjay

      Eeeep, I am due to start Clomid today. Already totally freaking about the side effects.

      And damnit, now I feel guilty about all the mommy blogs I read!

      • Sarah

        Oh my gosh! Don’t let my experience contribute to your anxiety! I DID NOT get the “Clomid Rage” that many people describe- just a constant general weepiness and the need for many husband hugs and cuddles. I did have really bad ovulation pain and was pretty lethargic and nauseated for the week following ovulation, but I suspect that was from my body not being accustomed to the surge in progesterone. What was extra heartbreaking is that I had started to convince myself that the side effects were possibly early signs of pregnancy…my chart even looked triphasic and my temp remained elevated…but not so.

        Good luck with the Clomid! For me, it at least felt really good to start something “medical!”

      • The only unpleasant side effect I had from clomid was hot flashes, and even those weren’t that bad. Unfortunately, pregnancy wasn’t one of the side effects. On to bigger dragons!

  • Kelley

    I remember those times. Not pleasant. Just wanted to say, “hang in there”. One thing this journey has taught me (and in my case, it was a hard lesson to learn & I still have to revisit it every once in awhile) is that it will be Ok. If all things work out the way you want them to, it will be ok. But just as importantly, if they don’t, that can work out ok, too. Wishing you the best of luck…

  • Elisabeth

    Love the post, but wish there was even a mention of queer couples who, without ready access to the stuff you need, basically start out being treated as infertile. Not that anyone’s situation is worse than anyone else’s! Just think that APW is generally awesome about inclusion, and it would be great to see it here.

    • meg

      Every post on APW is specific, and we cover things from lots of different points of view. That way, we don’t try to get any one post to cover all bases (which never really works). We’ve covered queer couples and fertility before, and will again. This post is just about the writers particular experience.

  • Adi

    The second we decided to try, my period went missing. Like, OH HEY LOL BYEE. I am now three months with no sign of a period and my doctor’s advice is…….RELAX! Yes. I am getting a new doctor.

    • Adi

      Actually, four months. Four months yesterday. Yeah.

      • lmba

        ADI, I feel you. I once went 7 months with no sign of a period and eventually gave up and just ended the cycle with drug-induced bleeding (no ovulation). Not very reassuring when you are trying to conceive!

    • The people who should really know better and don’t just amaze me in a horrified way.

      • ItsyBitsy

        This. Exactly this. In so many situations.

      • Adi

        Best part: I have an anxiety disorder. Calling her for advice required a week of psyching myself up. Relaxing? The LAST thing I’m capable of. (Or maybe that’s having a normal reproductive system HAHAHAHAHA ughh.)

        • MDBethann

          If you’ve been that long without a period, then relaxing has NOTHING to do with it. After going off the pill and going for quite a stretch without her period (around what you’ve experienced), a close friend was put on Clomid by her doctor to get her ovulating and having regular cycles. It took a few months, but it worked for them.

          When my doctor refused to even see me until I’d been “trying for a year” I went to my friend’s doctor (apparently it used to be 2 years, but now they make you wait a year before testing because so many women are older now when they TTC). Since my periods are pretty regular, she’s not intervening now, but she ran tests to make sure that everything is what it should be. If we haven’t conceived by May, I’m supposed to go back. The most important thing was that she HEARD me and my concerns – I wasn’t brushed off by the receptionist and a blanket policy to “try for a year first.”

          Good luck finding a new doctor who will listen to you. And it doesn’t hurt to ask your friends who they go to – you might be surprised that some of their kids didn’t come very easily either.

  • BEST post on infertility that I have read! & I have read quite a few because we have been trying for 2 years. If I don’t laugh, I will cry! It’s been such a long, heartbreaking journey. After a miscarriage & infertility testing & ovarian cyst surgery, our doctor says we should be able to get pregnant. I hope & wish & pray he is right. For those of you struggling with infertility, I keep you in my thoughts & wish on the stars that your baby dreams come true!

  • Laura

    Oh, the “just relax” advice. How I hate it. First of all, it’s absolute nonsense. Total bunk. Really. There is ZERO scientific evidence that the basic stress we go through on a daily basis and while TTC has any effect on fertility. None. Women in war zones concieve! Starving women in war zones! It happens every day. That’s serious stress. Yet somehow we’re all supposed to believe that the daily stress of infertility is making the problem worse and if we “just relax”, our lonely uteri will just open up and babies will fall from the sky. Uh, no. That’s not how it works. The day my RE laughed and said “feel stressed out, it makes no difference at all, you can’t control this with your mind” was the day I knew I’d found the right doctor. I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant. At 39 years old. And I was stressed out when I concieved, I promise. :-)

    • This so much. When we began trying we got pregnant almost immediately, and then got not pregnant just as fast. People get pregnant and have babies in all sort of crazy situations and it took a lot of time not to feel like the miscarriage was my fault. What finally got me was realizing just that: women in war zones have babies, women in the craziest stressed out situations have babies, women with complicated health issues like HIV/AIDS have babies, and (this was the one that helped me) even women addicted to crack have babies.

      Getting pregnant and having a baby has a lot less to do with us and our own individual situations and choices and a lot more to do with whatever the world is throwing at us. Yes we can do things to help the situation, like make sure you’re engaging in the acts that cause babies to happen and tracking your cycles and doing fertility treatments, but that only goes so far. From that point it’s sheer grace.

    • Oh yes. Thanks for putting this out there. It was such a relief, to finally realize that. To stop blaming myself. To stop thinking I was broken. To stop thinking this was karma, for working on cows. To stop believing it was punishment for I don’t even know what.
      Sometimes life just sucks, nature is not perfect, and science does not know everything.
      We can do all we can (like Sheryl said, fertility treatments, proper timing, knowing our bodies) but from there on, it is just luck? Magic?
      If stress really played a card girls in difficult situations would not get pregnant. And they do all*the*time. And sure I am an anxious mess, but it can not be compared to the situations you mentioned…

  • Don’t forget to include blaming yourself for whatever measures you took to stay baby-free in the past because OMG WHAT IF THIS IS KARMA.

    • meg

      I think that’s the worst. AND that sort of self abusive line of thought shows up and is encouraged all the time in motherhood too, which. Yeah. Just bring a flask and drink every time someone says, “I’m a bad mom” for example.

      Just the culturally taught self blaming for women. Terrible. Needs to be discussed.

      • Ugh, yes. And it becomes so endemic that it’s so hard to divorce yourself from that way of thinking. And the more you feel it and say it, the more you live it.

        A few years ago, I adopted my own personal parenting goals: make sure my kid knows she is loved and make sure she doesn’t grow up to be a serial killer that eats human flesh. If I can do those two things, I made it as a parent.

      • I just submitted a post about what it felt like to get pregnant on accident with a sister with PCOS. I sat down to write it this morning after I read this post bc I’ve always felt weird about being a fertile myrtle around people who are… not. Because it isn’t fair that I shouldn’t have to struggle (it isn’t fair ANYONE has to struggle?). But when I told my sister I was pregnant, I just remember sobbing, apologizing and sobbing some more bc I felt like I was doing her wrong or deliberately hurting her somehow (I actually started crying just now from thinking about when I told her, and it’s already been 4 years). I was pretty much consumed by guilt for those 9-months, and it still comes back to haunt me sometimes (even though my sis has since been able to get pregnant with minimal medical assistance).

  • Wow, I went to work this morning with no idea whether this post would elicit any reaction and I’ve come home to find all of you wonderful people. I started blogging about this because no one talks about this stuff and infertility can be really socially isolating – in surprising ways, considering how very common it is. Thank you guys for sharing your experiences. I can’t respond to everyone, but just wanted to mention a few things:

    Amanda – I totally hear you, not all of this is funny or amusing. Believe me, there have been days where nothing is funny and I’ve shed many tears (most recently over an early miscarriage/chemical pregnancy). But I’m also entering my 12th month and realizing that this may go on quite a bit longer. For self preservation purposes, it helps me to find the humor, though I know it may not be comforting for everyone.

    Meg – Yes, I couldn’t agree more – mommy blogs is a terrible, heteronormative, under-inclusive term. But GGC is badass. Would love to get suggestions from folks on non-traditional infertility/parenting blogs?

    Sarah – Ah, Clomid. The ovulation pain in particular was something I had really not been prepared for…that and I became kind of a bitch. Ha.

    Elisabeth – you’re right, this post definitely doesn’t touch on how these issues affect the queer community or the innumerable hurdles queer couples confront – many friends of mine, included. I’ve touched on it briefly in my blog, but would love to hear others’ experiences.

    Meg and Erin – I couldn’t have said it better myself re: culturally taught self blaming. Even dear friends have asked whether there isn’t something I could be doing differently – the fault it implies and the cycle of self-blame isn’t pretty. But like you say, I think women in particular are groomed for this sort of self-criticism from a young age.

    Finally, for all of you who groaned and grimaced about the horrid acronyms and falling-star-smiley-face-emoticons on trying-to-conceive blogs and bulletin boards – I totally feel you. And even wrote about it here,

    • Adi

      Thank you for writing this. My friend just told me today she’s late and thinks this night be it, and knowing my struggles she wanted to make sure I was okay. Coming back and rereading this has helped, and I’m glad to say I AM okay, and if she’s right, in ecstatic for her. And if she’s wrong, well. I can show her this.

    • Sarah, thanks for this post. I reread it later, and I got it. (When I first read it I had just came back from a 4 hr. long test and was kind of brain dead tired, so I guess I was just extra sensitive).
      Of course humor is a blessing. Even dark, morbid humor. Sometimes all you can do is laugh, and I would take laughing a million times over crying.

      You asked about non-traditional infertility / parenting blogs. You probably know her already, but the super lovely, smart, funny, witty Cara from Peonies and Polaroids has all of that covered. She is the mom of 2 adorable (and equally funny twins, already at 2), and she had to go through some difficult stuff (endometriosis, + a drug induced menopause+ FIV) to get to where she is right now. Her writing is beautiful too. And her photographic work… remarkable.

      • Wonderful, thanks so much Amanda. Will definitely check it out – looks like a great (and pretty) blog!

  • Love it!

    The OB I went to solely so I could get a referral to an RE actually told me in all serious that we just needed to go on vacation and I’d get pregnant. Because I trip to Disneyland, New York, Europe, etc, totally cures medical issues.

    But oh how I love the looks on people’s faces when I tell them, with all seriousness, that we’ve got our kids in the freezer. Because we do. And after two years of all the procedures and appointments it really isn’t that strange to think of our kids on ice like that.

  • Julia

    Most well-said, totally sassy and honest post I’ve read here in a while. Thanks for sharing your story. Oh, and for writing the way I think!

  • Thank you for this! As serious a topic as infertility is, there are absolutely times when all my husband and I have been able to do was laugh. Like the time we had to go to his sister’s house during the peak ovulation days and there was no way out of it and we had to decide whether to try to bang in the cornfield outside away from tons of family, or in the guest room off the living room. At which point we just started laughing. “CORNFIELD OR BEDROOM?!” Shit gets funny and sometimes if you either have to laugh or sob, laughing feels better when your heart has felt like sobbing for so long.

  • Jill

    I REALLY needed this today. Was sure that I was pregnant, was planning on taking a test when my hubby is home from working out of town, but got my period today. We’ve been trying for over 8 months, and it sucks to see everyone around me getting pregnant. I also work with babies on a daily basis, which doesn’t help my baby fever!

    • MDBethann

      Agreed. It’s funny, babies don’t bother me, but pregnant women do – I’ve been getting incredibly jealous the last week or so every time I see a pregnant woman, wishing I was her.

      I have to remind myself that yes, she might be pregnant, but I have no idea how long she had to wait or what she had to go through to become pregnant.

  • I just wanted to say that based on a recommendation in a comment about infertility from a previous APW post a good while ago, I ordered the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It’s a great book, but what’s neat is that it’s not just for people who want to conceive. It’s also great for people who don’t want to. The book is about understanding your fertility through the Fertility Awareness Method. (This is not the bead-counting method.)

    Anyhow, I have loved learning the stuff I was never taught in school and wanted to share it, just in case anyone else hasn’t heard of this excellent resource yet. And I wish all the best to all who are trying to conceive…

  • Persie

    I know I’m late to the party but THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST. It is exactly what I needed to read today.

    I was very briefly pregnant in the fall but suffered an early miscarriage. It was difficult and I like to pretend that I’m over it but my coworker, who sits approximately 5 feet from me is pregnant and our original due dates would have been less than a week apart. So every day I get to sit here and see what should have been.

    It’s been hard and we’ve been seriously struggling to conceive since – I should say, we’ve been seriously struggling to TRY to conceive. The pressure we’ve put on ourselves is so great that sex when it matters is proving to be rather difficult. We’re working on it.

  • L

    Thank you. I needed this today.

  • We must overcome these psychological barriers of Dieting
    5 Days A Week. The brain requires dieting 5 days
    a week many nutrients in order to shed a few pounds. I did get
    hungry–often very hungry–in the evening 4 or 5 hours after my last meal.

    My point in this rant, is that, the tastants are of different

  • Emma

    My husband and I want to start trying to have a baby, but I’m scared I’m infertile. Is there any way to tell if I am infertile without going to a specialist? Any warning signs?