“Have a baby,” they said. “It’ll be easy,” they said.
So….guys. It turns out that making a baby is actually kind of difficult.
No, not the act of making a baby. That part isn’t difficult one bit. (Cue the awkward wink, wink and “bow chicka-wow-wow.”)
I’m talking about the part where all the stars align and you actually get pregnant.
I mean….I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to NOT get pregnant. I’ve basically gone 29 years never being pregnant or wanting to be pregnant… so when Jon and I decided we were ready to create tiny humans I was all like… “Oh yea, no sweat, how hard can this be?!”
Turns out I knew nothing about how my body actually operated in the baby sense. (Fair warning for the faint of heart here…were about to get into the nitty gritty.) Obviously (most) women get periods. I know that every month around a certain time, it’s going to come. And it’s going to suck, because… well, it just does. But, it’s just one of the many “joys” of being a woman, and when it happens at least I know I’m operating healthily, right?
But, what’s all this noise about there being this tiny little window that you can actually get pregnant in and you having to keep track of your ovulation every month by either taking your temp or peeing on a stick (eeww). And then if it doesn’t happen quickly… you start a spreadsheet or use an app so that you can observe patterns and start to look for different signs that it’s “that time.” And you can only get pregnant for a couple of days leading up to your actual ovulation/ when you ovulate. Don’t ask me all the details, I’m still figuring it out. But it’s most likely because of…science. And Jesus.
How in the world do all of these “oops” babies happen?! God bless them.
The hubs and I have been trying for a little bit now. Not a huge amount of time, but definitely longer than just a few months. No babe yet. It’s frustrating, for sure. You start to think… is there something wrong with me? And umm….are we doing this right?!!
I recently shared a bit of that disappointment in a little community of women I’m a part of called the Thrive | Positive Goodness group. These women are the bomb.com – and such a fun community of supporters. (Let me know if you’re interested in joining!)
Anyway, we were talking about our highs and lows for the week – and my low was that I found out the night before that there would be no Baby G on the way this month. Womp. Total downer. But from there, a few side conversations spurred with a couple of friends and I realized that most women, until they’ve actually had a baby or are a doctor or an incredibly curious person, don’t know the ins and outs of everything surrounding pregnancy.
For example: one of my younger early 20’s friends, who, upon reading my comment in our group, texted me and asked, “Wait, when you’re trying for a baby…. is there anything different that needs to happen in ‘the process’ of…ya know…?” I knew where she was going with that. But no, sweet girl, no there’s not. 🙂
Ok…so, that totally made me smile/chuckle – but honestly, it’s a legit question if you’ve never had to think about such things! And I was partially relieved that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know these things in the beginning.
It’s interesting. In conversations I’ve been having with people, there’s definitely a stigma around not being able to get pregnant, or having a hard time getting pregnant…or maybe not wanting to have children at all. I feel like there’s this sense of shame that people carry around with them. I’ve felt it myself, heard it in the voices of those who’ve been through it, and in some of the conversations I’ve had with people who’ve asked me about it. It’s like they feel shameful even asking me. Everyone is sort of… reluctant to talk about it, like it’s a bubble that may pop if touched. But why?
Let me unpack this a bit. I’m nowhere near on the level of some couples who have been trying for years and years. I can’t even imagine the pain and heartbreak it causes when all you want is a child that’s your own…that you’ve created and carried. I can totally understand how that would be incredibly hard to talk about, especially after years of trying.
Same with the couples who decide that they only want one child. Or for those who decide that having kids just isn’t for them.
We tend to feel shameful if we are these people… or if we know these people and want to ask them about it. But I think it’s so important to embrace these people wherever they’re at and make them feel ok with talking about it. It shouldn’t be a faux pas.
I have another set of friends who have been trying for some time – and after testing and tracking and shots and doctors appointments, etc etc…. they’ve decided to start the adoption process. The one thing they didn’t try? In vitro or IVF. And when they broke the news, people were questioning why they wouldn’t even try to go that route. Guys, they’ve just endured plenty of heartbreak over the past several years, and now you’re questioning their motive to adopt instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars to do IVF? Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.
I’d be lying if my first reaction to hearing that they weren’t going to try IVF but going straight to adoption was…. “But why??” But, it’s not for me to question. My mindset was completely wrong. Our first reaction should be to support and surround them with love and resources for their upcoming adoption process. They’re giving a child a chance at life! How incredible is that?
Right now, I’m wishing I could get a panel of women together to hear allllll their stories. I’d want to try and understand why there’s so much disdain or shame around talking about these struggles. I want to know what happened and when decided we had to keep these things “hush hush.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely every couple’s choice and option to keep their intentions and situation private. I 100% respect that! We don’t need people running around spilling every dirty detail.
But, I think it’s a vicious cycle of this:
Couples trying to get pregnant…but struggling to do so.
People wondering when said couple is going to start having babies. People ask in conversation if said couple is going to start a family. (Side note: is it ok to ask about wanting to have kids? I don’t know. I think it is. But I also feel like this is another question society has made a tough one.)
Couple who is currently trying says “Oh, maybe someday!”
So, people assume that said couple wants kids, but maybe just not right now. So, they jest with the couple sometimes when they see them, making jokes, saying “why don’t you just have kids already!”
Meanwhile, the couple is trying and is struggling, yet never says anything. They continue to get sad and slightly offended whenever someone asks….yet, no one knows what’s really going on. Their hurt keeps building up.
So now, here we are. As a result of this cycle, no one asks anyone anything anymore because it’s considered insensitive and none of their business. I get it.
But, this how we get disconnected. And I feel like this is how resentment, shame, sadness, etc. just keeps building.
It’s much easier for us to support each other, to empathize and love on each other if we feel ok to openly communicate about it. Again, not suggesting that we tell strangers or people we barely know about our lives.
But your people can help walk with you through it if you let them.
At first, I was that one that was like… “Oh yea, we’ll have kids someday!” when we first started trying. And then I realized… “That’s dumb, people know we want kids and are probably wondering what the heck we are waiting for.” ( I mean…Jon and I aren’t getting any younger, guys!!) So I changed my answer to “Yes! We’re actually trying right now… we’re super excited to be parents someday.”
End of convo. No massive details, just recognition of where we’re at. It’s incredible the “me too” stories and empathy and support I’ve received from people as a result of just saying those words. It made me feel not alone in my struggles…and honestly…I realized that it was actually pretty normal! Who would have thought – we aren’t social outcasts after all! 🙂
I’ve received some pretty solid advice on what to do/not to do while in this waiting game:
- Stop Googling everything!! (Thanks, Brit;) Seriously, you’ll go insane. Ok – so maybe still Google the things about how “ovulation” and “tracking” work…but stop Googling statistics about getting pregnant and “infertility” and other things like that that are only going to freak you out. Just go talk to your doc!
- Talk about what’s up. Chat up your closest friends, your parents, a support group…whatever. You’ll feel a sense of support and relief that you don’t have to carry the uncertainty on your own.
- Set a personal goal for yourself. For me, it’s been CrossFit. It gives me something to work towards, to focus on, to have fun with! Setting some personal goals for yourself will keep you moving forward and continue to make you the best version of yourself so that when the time DOES come, you’re in a good spot. Think: starting that business, joining a gym, finally learning how to cook, starting a book club, picking up a new hobby like hiking or photography. You get the idea. I used to think… “well…when I get pregnant I won’t have time to do that, or I’ll do this or that later on after babies…” Just do it now!
- Do something spontaneous. This last one is probably one of my favorites. My friend who suggested this has been trying for a couple of years to get pregnant. She and her husband have one of the strongest bonds I’ve ever seen. I think it has a lot to do with their friendship. It’s the foundation of their relationship. Whenever that time of the month comes and it doesn’t happen for them, they do something spontaneous that they otherwise may not have been able to do if they had a baby. For example, once they went kayaking at 11pm in Reeds Lake…another time they randomly went to 20 Monroe to a concert they otherwise would have never gone to. You get the idea. As she says, “a little adventure makes me appreciate my husband even more and trust that everything will work out.”
I love that.
These things have helped me…maybe they’ll help you too if you’re going through something similar. And don’t feel shameful or alone – there’s no reason. No, you’re not weird. Yes, you are doing it right. (Google if you have questions…just beware of what search results may appear…lol).
So hey, now that this is all out there guys, let me just say this: Yep, we’re trying…and we can’t wait to be parents someday. For now, we’ll just keep loving on our nieces and nephews and friends’ babies. And man, we feel blessed.
All the love.