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By Peak Resilience Team

Still Not Pregnant

Trying to conceive can be hard. One counsellor shares their (ongoing) story.

Still Not Pregnant
Have sex every day when you’re ovulating, or even twice a day.
You should only have sex every 2-3 days in your ovulatory window.
You just have to live your life and it will happen.
Have sex every other day of the month if your cycle is irregular.
Losing around 10 pounds can make a significant improvement in fertility.
You can’t worry about it.
Carrying a bit of extra weight is actually helpful when you’re trying to conceive. 
I know someone that __________.
You got your period? That’s great! It shows that something is happening.
You need to do headstands after sex. 
You haven’t been trying that long.
You should avoid high intensity exercise.
Ya but it takes a few months to get your body regulated after being on the pill.
It will happen when it happens.
Just so you know, it’s going to be a rocky road for you. 
Your chances of miscarriage are 3X higher than most people.
You need to stop stressing about it.

These are some of the things I've heard on my journey to conceive.
While most of these statements came from a place of love and genuine care, none of them made me feel any better. Not one. 

All I really wanted to hear? 

“That fucking sucks.”

I never understood the ‘hype’ around conceiving. We are told our whole lives to avoid getting pregnant, so it can’t be that hard, right?


This month marks one year into our ‘trying to conceive’ journey. 
I feel shame around my emotional pain. The messages I have received and internalized is that my sadness or distress is not proportionate to the length of time I have spent trying to conceive. 

I haven’t had to start IVF, I haven’t had a miscarriage, I haven’t been trying for 10 years. 

“It’s only been a year.”

But the reality is no one knows your daydreams. 
No one knows that you actually thought it might happen on the first try. 
No one knows that every time you try you feel a spark of hope that it worked - thinking that could be the time we conceived!
No one knows that when you experience some random spotting or surge of emotion you think it MUST be a sign you’re pregnant and eagerly pee on a plastic stick. 
That you always modify your yoga practice - because, what if?
That you quietly pocket mementos from special occasions just in case that’s the night you conceived and you want a token to remember it.

Dried and pressed flowers picked on vacations come and go, missing their chance to adorn the nursery wall with each negative pregnancy test. 
I’ve grieved each passing month for a baby that ‘could have been’. 

After 5 or so months went by, I started to become desperate. I developed a structured schedule for the biological transaction to occur. I took every old wives tale, or ”this is what I did” to heart.

Sex in the morning with ‘fertility friendly’ lubricant. Wear socks. Legs up the wall for 15 minutes after. Menstrual cup in after. Smile at your reproductive system. Rub oil over your ovaries. No drinking, no weed. No hot baths. Test for ovulation. Test for pregnancy. Weekly acupuncture. Daily Chinese Medicine herbs. Chats with the moon to sync my cycle. Fertility mantras and guided meditation. Manifest your baby and birth announcements.

Nothing worked. More months crept by.

I started avoiding places that I knew were family friendly.
I resented moms pushing their UppaBaby Vistas and envied their sleepless nights up cluster feeding. I would send them a mental middle finger and scoff at their obsession with their baby - a projection of my own deep heartache. 

It felt like I was the only one who wasn’t pregnant.
Like I was locked outside a really fun party and all my friends were there and I couldn't get in no matter how hard I tried.

I know my family and friends wanted this for me almost as much as I did. They could see how my fertility struggles were weighing me down. I woke up crying and cried myself to sleep. My partner looked at me helplessly and nervously texted my sister-in-laws for advice.
They all wanted to take away the pain and would try to comfort me with logic to explain away the months as they went by without a positive pregnancy test. 

As more people around me got pregnant, I started to feel embarrassed about my emotions. It felt like people had to tiptoe around me with their incredibly joyous pregnancy news because they didn’t want to send me over the edge. 

When I met with my Doctor, the first thing she said was: ‘we need to get your mental health in a better place.’ (Fair enough - I almost inhaled my blue medical mask from sobbing so hard in her office). I agree - I didn’t want to feel this way. I didn’t want to hate every pregnant person while condemning my own body for its inadequacy. 

She suggested I consider going back on my anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication (I had recently weaned myself off of it after 10 years in preparation for conception). We discussed the research on medication and pregnancy and I made an informed decision to start taking it again.
I worked diligently with my therapist to process my grief, my anger, my pain, and my envy. 
I identified my ‘safe people’ - who I could call when I was hit with a wave of (insert any emotion here). I built a support team around me of healthcare professionals who were invested in my holistic wellbeing.

Slowly it felt like I was coming up for air.

I recognize my immense privilege of accessing fertility support and healthcare specialists. I recognize that not being able to get pregnant immediately is not a life-threatening experience. 
And it is absolutely integral for me to recognize, validate and honour the pain I feel. 
People with uteruses are often told they are too emotional or too sensitive or too much. Maybe I am? Or maybe they’re just too judgemental?

I originally thought about writing this article after I had a baby, or even when I was a few months into a pregnancy. Then I’d be in the clear and my emotions would be less raw. But I realized that the happy ending stories aren’t always the most helpful. 
The stories that have comforted me most are the ones from other hopeful parents-to-be who are also in the fertility trenches. 
The people who could look me in my teary eyes and say - ‘I get it.’  

I know I’ll have my happy ending one day.

But for now, I’m slowing down.
I've got appointments with fertility specialists and I am focusing on my mental and physical health.

On this journey I am just trying to focus on taking every day as they… come. ?