How can we deal with not conceiving month after month?
If it’s taking you longer to get pregnant than you expected, feeling disappointed is natural. Building a family and becoming parents are, for most people, fundamental parts of life, so when they don’t come easily, it’s common to feel as if something is wrong with you. But don’t blame yourself, or each other. Accept that you and your partner will have some ups and downs as you work towards getting pregnant.
Trying to conceive can be very stressful and can lead on to feelings of anxiety and depression, as the months pass by without a positive pregnancy test. Take the time to talk to each other and seek out the advice of other couples who are still trying. Finding a support group is recommended by fertility experts as a way of preventing the situation from getting too distressing and there is some evidence that doing so could actually improve your chances of conception. See our expert question on stress for more information.
If your life revolves around a strict routine of basal body temperature monitoring and scheduled sex, consider taking a break. Fertility experts agree that charting or using ovulation predictor kits to time intercourse can make the whole process of trying to conceive even more stressful and there is no evidence that these methods improve your chances of conceiving naturally anyway. Make an effort to revive the love and fun that brought you together in the first place. Anecdotal stories abound of couples who conceived whilst on holiday or when they simply stopped trying so hard.
If certain gatherings or celebrations are painful for you (perhaps you’re always being invited to your young relatives’ birthday parties, or your friends have started having babies and inviting you to christenings) give yourself permission to give them a miss occasionally. To avoid hurting anybody’s feelings, send a gift that you can order online, to save yourself a potentially upsetting trip to the toy shop or baby store.
Remember to keep up with your interests, and look for new ones. If you’ve always wanted to learn the guitar, then there’s no time like the present. If walking is your thing, why not give it a try? Or take up an evening class, such as painting, dancing, or something else that has always appealed to you. Don’t forget, laughter is one of the best healers, so treat yourself to tickets to a good comedy show, or hire some comic films from your video store.
At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes having a good cry has a therapeutic effect, so if you need to, have a weep. It often makes you feel better to let your feelings out.
Finally, if you’ve been trying for more than a year, consider seeking help from a fertility specialist. Your first step will be to visit your GP. Make an appointment with your GP even sooner if you are over 35 years of age, or have had a history of chronic illness or gynaecological problems, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease which could make conception more difficult for you. Many fertility problems are quite easy to treat, so you could end up sparing yourself a lot of further disappointment by identifying any problem quickly.
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