"If you just relax, you will get pregnant."
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a planner, an overachiever, and am very goal oriented. When I set my mind to something... I work my ass off to achieve that goal. I feel best when I have a plan of action, even if that plan changes over time (and I usually need to have a back-up plan in mind too). So of course I had a plan on when we would start TTC and what we would do to optimize our chances. I naively thought it would happen right away like it has for just about everyone else in our families or maybe take up to 6 months. Little did I know, this would not be the case for us. After several months of using OPKs and charting my cycle.... my caring, well-meaning friends and family had given me all of their advice and the biggest one was to "just relax and let it happen." I was feeling the stress and thought, ok, let me try this and maybe it will work. So we planned a trip to the mountains that was supposed to correlate with O time and I stopped charting or using OPKs. We had a nice and relaxing weekend and thought maybe this would finally be it. But alas, it was not our month. Instead, I was stressed after our weekend wondering when exactly I ovulated and when I should expect AF to arrive, I mean... how would I know when to test? It was much more frustrating and stressful for me to NOT chart, than for me to just do my thing and have some peace of mind. Not to mention.... most people don't understand.... if I don't chart, how am I suppose to make sure we get some sort of good timing in when Ken is stationed 3 hours away?? So back to charting I went.
A few months later, when it had been a year of being off the pill, I decided we needed to try something else. I've had mild anxiety issues from time to time and the stress from teaching often got to me and I wanted to find something to help with that and maybe help us get pregnant. So I remembered my OBGYN saying that his wife did acupuncture. I looked into it and discovered that acupuncture can be used to boost fertility and could also help with my anxiety/stress levels. So I started going to acupuncture. I immediately noticed a difference in my mood, and so did others around me. I felt more upbeat and positive about things and it's one of the very few things that has truly helped me to relax (massage helped loosen muscles, but never really relaxed me). I wasn't expecting anything to happen right away since I read it can take a couple months to get your body where it needs to be. But right away, I noticed a change in my cycle... I got a serious amount of really fertile cervical fluid earlier than I had ever had since being off the pill (cd13) and ovulated cd15, which was also the earliest since being off the pill. Acupuncture was already regulating my cycles back to my old normal and I had just started. I was a little disappointed that day that I had the fertile fluids because Ken wasn't home... but we figured we weren't going to be trying that month anyways so it wasn't too big of a deal. Well, it ended up that Ken was able to come home for the night and we ended up pregnant from that one day. You might think it's all because I was relaxed from acupuncture, which I was, and I was super thrilled and happy for 2 short weeks.... and then it all came tumbling down and I miscarried. My miscarriage wasn't caused by stressed.... I had turned in my resignation for the following school year and I couldn't have been happier or less stressed.... and I still miscarried.
It's been over a year since the miscarriage that we've still been trying for that beautiful miracle of having our own baby... and although we've had some stress here and there... I'm much more relaxed and less stressed than I ever was before (and keeping up the acupuncture and not teaching anymore definitely helps). But we are still waiting on that positive pregnancy test and are now seeing the specialist. Yes, I still chart and occasionally use OPKs, because it makes ME feel better when I know what's going on with my body. I don't expect my chart to tell me whether or not I am pregnant... and since it's been so long, I no longer expect that it will happen in any given month... but I still hope that it will. So for those of you who like to say that it will happen when I least expect it... I haven't really been expecting it anymore and it still isn't happening. I've tried everything under the sun and the only thing I CAN'T do... is give up. Those words are just not in my vocabulary.
So while it would be nice if all it took was to relax and it would happen.... that doesn't work for everyone. And when talking with someone who is TTC, please remember that sometimes telling people to "relax and let it happen" or any other well meaning advice.... sometimes makes us more stressed than anything we are doing to help our chances. The best thing to do is just be there for them if they are having trouble TTC, tell them they will make great parents, that you hope it happens for them soon, pray for them if you want.... but "advice" is better saved for when it's requested.
To get a basic understanding of infertility, please visit Infertility 101 at RESOLVE.org and click the following link to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week