2021 was the most difficult year of my life. Before we jump into my story, I want to emphasize that I am not looking for sympathy at all! I’m sharing my story in the hopes that someone out there listening feels less alone in their battle. I want shed some light on the struggle of TTC, and create a space for other women TTC to know all of their emotions are valid and they are not alone. In the fertility world, most doctors will not see you for any form of analysis until you’ve been TTC for 12 months. It took Joey and I close to a year to conceive, and these months were filled with anxiety, worry, frustration, depression, and wonder of if we would ever be parents. Here is a glimpse into our story & my mental health journey over the past year
From the moment I took my business full time in May of 2020, my #1 goal in mind behind every action I made in my business was to put myself and my business in the position to have a family. If you know me (which I know you all do), I am a planner, and boy was I naive to think I could “plan” when I wanted to get pregnant and have a baby. Months before we started trying I already began tracking, using ovulation strips, etc., to be sure I had a full understanding of my cycle to put myself in the best position for getting pregnant. We also starting cleansing our home of any and all toxins from kitchen products to our skincare, swapping for all natural and healthy products to reduce all fertility risks.
While I knew many women struggled with TTC I did not think I would be one of them. Joey and I are both extremely healthy, we eat well, live healthy lifestyles, I’ve never been on birth control, I’m very in tune with my body. We eat natural, organic whole foods, we use very clean products, exercise routinely, and overall live a very healthy lifestyle. As I mentioned, it took us close to a year to get pregnant and the emotional Roller coaster of TTC is like no other.
Now I am in NO WAY saying oh I used these systems for me and got pregnant so you should try them and it’ll work! Because that is probably the biggest trigger there is in my opinion when it comes to TTC. You can track your cycle perfectly every single month, do everything right, and still not get pregnant month after month after month (believe me because I’ve been there), but these are the apps I used for tracking:
Natural Cycles: basil body temperature & ovulation tests: I first started tracking using natural cycles, this is what I was using to prevent pregnancy before we started trying, so it was already synced up to my cycle and very easy for me to use. This system tracks using your temperature, and I used this along with ovulation strips.
Premom: ovulation tests: after a few months I decided to take a break from tracking my basil bod temperature because I found it would stress me out every morning to take my temperature. I started using the premom app because I love how you can scan in your ovulation strips and the app will compare them and let you know when your peak is so you do not have to determine it for yourself. I used premom for the rest of the time we tried to conceive.
Ava: I decided it was best for me to get back into tracking my basil body temperature, so I purchased and Ava bracelet (which tracks your temperature for you), and I used my Ava and premom app for ovulation tests together for my tracking the remainder of our TTC journey.
Mental HealthHow I would describe struggling to conceive:
“There’s a spark within you filled with hope, determination, and excitement for the future of all aspects of life – when that spark is put out after months of trying & tracking & defeat, there’s no more hope, we become conditioned to expect the worst and have no expectations for the future – this spills over in to all other aspects of life, work, relationships, etc. – the determination is gone, the hope is gone, the excitement for the future gone – all stopped at a stand still. That hopeful spark that was once inside of us has been crushed and when it comes to life again it just continues to be put out over and over again.”
We have to make a Mental shift to protect ourselves and how TTC effects all other aspects of life – if you know me you know I am by nature a very positive and bubbly person, I always see the good aim everything and the best in every situation and going through this past year completely stripped this from my personality. I unfortunately learned the hard way how incredibly crushed I was whenever I would get my hopes up, I would be extremely depressed every single month without fail to the point where I just became numb to the emotion, I would let myself get my hopes up, and this transferred into EVERY aspect of my life. There were days where I just cried all day even at the start of my cycles because I was so depressed and defeated. Struggling through TTC is an every single day battle – it truly does effect every single aspect of your life and this is something I don’t think many people realize until they are actually struggling through it. Unfortunately as different reminders pop up through life, they ignite feelings and anger, why me?, why am I still not pregnant?, is there something wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?
I will say I have never felt so much anger built inside of me than I feel when I see anything pregnancy related on social media – and I say see because these feelings are still so fresh and raw that I honestly am still triggered by a lot of pregnancy related content on social media even though I’m now pregnant. Of course once you begin trying and are not successful getting pregnant month after month, you become bitter to pregnancy, you become extremely hyper sensitive, extremely aware and social media is NOT a good place when you are experiencing these feelings. While I’m sure there are many women on social media who have silently struggled with TTC who you would never know, there are also unfortunately many women who are very outwardly spoken with how easy it was for them to get pregnant. And again I do not mean to offend anyone because of course no one can control how quick or not quick it takes for their body to get pregnant, but there is SO much ignorant content out on social media surrounding TTC & pregnancy and it really and truly does a number on your mental health.
When you see content like that when you are in such a dark place, it begins to ignite that nasty anger. Why is it so easy for them and not for me? I’m doing everything right, in fact I’m doing so much more for myself and my body than they are doing why why why why is this not happening for me? Why can everyone around me seem to get pregnant but I just can’t? Why are they joking that they are living such an unhealthy lifestyle and magically got pregnant so quickly and I’m doing EVERYTHING in my power to be the healthiest and best version of myself and I still can’t? The comparison game can go on and on and on and it is a terrible and nasty place to be.
I’m reiterating so much of this because I want to be clear that these thoughts are CONSTANT and haunting throughout TTC, and especially with social media there really was not a day that went by where I didn’t have at least one of these thoughts in my mind.
Now again I am NOT saying any of this to make ANY mom who didn’t struggle feel guilty at ALL! I have many people in my life who were blessed to get pregnant super easily and I am so happy they did not have to struggle, I am sharing this part of my mental health because I know there are so many other women out there who are struggling and comparing themselves to moms who didn’t have to wait and I just want you to know that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling.
Alrighty now onto some positive stuff! After hitting a metal rock bottom, I knew I had to make some serious changes in my mental health in any way I possibly could. I started journaling my thoughts and emotions, reading, and going to acupuncture twice a week. If you follow me on social media you’ll know I absolutely fell in love with reading. It truly became such an escape for me and something I can immerse my mind in that was completely and totally detached from my reality. Along with reading, I began diving more into devotional. Now I’m in no way at all trying to shove religion upon anyone, I just want to share the experience i had that really helped me during this time. I typically do a devotional each morning and spend some time in prayer. I decided to look for some devotionals specifically geared towards seasons of waiting and found a few really great ones. These books REALLY helped shift and shape my mindset when it came to waiting. They were more so novel workbooks rather than little one page devotionals. But there were so many inspiring take aways from the books that truly changed my perspective on the struggle of TTC. Now did this magically cure me of all of my depression and sadness? No absolutely not, but it definitely helped me stop myself from going to really dark places and find light, peace, and hope in my situation. If you are currently struggling, and you are religious, I really really recommend these books for helping to shift your perspective during a time of waiting.
I started going to acupuncture twice a week. I was SO nervous at first, but it really is not bad at all! My acupuncturist is an angel and she was such a light throughout my journey of TTC. Acupuncture became something in my schedule i could look forward to where I know I could go and truly unwind and relax. I am still going to acupuncture now and will continue to go throughout my entire pregnancy!
The final thing that helped me during this time that I save for last is community. I know every single person’s story when it comes to TTC, but for me, I needed the support of my friends around me to know the struggles I was facing. I truly would not have made it through this past year if it weren’t for the incredible friends that I had around me (and Joey of course but that goes without saying). I had friends all along the spectrum from single friends, friends who got pregnant super easily, to friends who miscarried, to friends struggling to get pregnant alongside of me and even longer. I do think it is important to try and find one person you can talk to who is going through, or has gone through a similar experience. Like I’ve mentioned there are SO many emotions tied to TTC it really is impossible to understand unless you’ve gone through it. I would say all the time to the people in my life also struggling through TTC that I’m so sad we are both going through this, but so happy we have each other. If you do not have a friend who has experienced struggling to conceive, I truly hope this episode has been helpful for you to feel less alone and my DMs are ALWAYS open and I mean that. Now I could cry just thinking about the support my friends have shown me this past year. These times are difficult, you want to pull away from friendships, you want to isolate yourself, and often times friends don’t know what to say to someone who’s struggling. So if you are struggling, I really recommend opening up to even just one person in your life so you are not struggling in silence.
Wait and See (Finding Peace In God’s Pauses & Plans)
In The Wait Book
Gift for someone struggling through infertility or miscarriage