Since sharing my story of miscarriage and infertility, I get a lot of messages from other women struggling. Sometimes it’s just to thank me for making them feel less alone, sometimes they are looking for info on our story, sometimes they are seeking advice or tips on how to cope.
The truth is, I wish I had better advice. I usually tell them I probably wasn’t the best at coping. I was in a sort of dark place. Losing pregnancies is hard. Struggling to get pregnant is hard. It is trying both physically and emotionally and most of the time I felt alone and beaten.
But, I do have some things I want others going through this to know. Here are a few things I often say or want to say, to anyone struggling on this road.
It’s OK to Feel Anger and Jealousy
You’re going to feel a lot of emotions. You’re going to watch others get pregnant easily. You’ll see people who didn’t want babies have them. You’ll see people have their second and their third. And all the while you’ll be waiting and trying and peeing on sticks.
It’s OK to feel angry. It’s OK to be jealous and mad and think it’s downright unfair.
I remember I’d find myself feeling jealous and then instantly feeling ashamed for feeling that way. But, it’s a totally normal emotion and honestly, I think it helps with the grief you go through during the process. You feel WHATEVER it is you gotta feel, and don’t put any pressure on yourself for feeling that way.
You Don’t Need to “Just Relax”
If someone tells you to “just relax and you’ll get pregnant” you should just punch them in the face.
OK…only kidding (kinda).
Trust me, the key to getting pregnant is NOT to “simply just relax.” High-strung Type A’s get pregnant all the time. You don’t just need to relax and no, you don’t need to stop trying so hard.
My favorite part of people saying this and that they seem to think you can just turn off the want to be pregnant. Trying to get pregnant isn’t like wanting a donut– you can’t just will yourself to stop thinking about it. Honestly, I don’t think I can will myself to not wanting a donut either. And if I can’t will myself to stop wanting a donut I sure as hell can’t will myself to not want the one thing I’ve always wanted: motherhood.
Advocate for Yourself
If you find yourself walking down this road, you’re probably going to have people tell you to wait to see an infertility specialist. You’re probably going to have friends and loved ones tell you you’re being irrational or over-worrying for wanting to get help. But, if you believe something is wrong, you need to advocate for yourself.
I understand that statistically many people don’t get pregnant immediately and there’s nothing medically wrong with it taking 3 or 6 or 12 months to get pregnant. So, I also understand why doctors don’t want to rush. And, if you’re still early in this process, going 6 months without a pregnancy definitely doesn’t mean anything is wrong. But, if you suspect there could be something wrong, you’ve lost multiple pregnancies, you have a family history or personal condition, it’s OK to speak up for yourself or seek answers.
If I had never sought help, I would have miscarried more times. There’s an almost 100% chance I will miscarry again without medical intervention. The thought that I should have sat around, biding my time, waiting and very likely losing pregnancies all while there was a fairly simple solution (certainly much more simple than the pain of recurring pregnancy loss) seems ridiculous. So, I had to be and have to be an advocate for myself.
I’ll also take a moment to say, if you have a doctor who you think isn’t being compassionate or supportive of your needs, it might be time to find someone new. Don’t feel like you’re being high maintenance for finding a new doctor. The road of pregnancy loss and/or infertility is hard enough. You need a team that is there for you.
You’re not doing anything wrong
I can’t tell you how broken I felt on my road to motherhood. The one thing that it seems like my body was biologically set up to do… and it couldn’t do it. Here I was, ovulating, weathering a period every month, eating well, getting rest, drinking my damn 6-8 glasses of water a day and doing my squats (ok, maybe not doing ALL my squats), and yet my body refused to hold on to a pregnancy.
What was I doing wrong?
The answer is you’re doing nothing wrong. You’re not broken. There isn’t some magical thing that all the other women are doing that you’re failing to do. You don’t need to switch to all soy candles, go vegan, and rid your house of every toxin. You don’t need to lose weight or gain weight or eat something different or stop eating something else. You are 1 in 4. One out of every four couples struggle to conceive – many silently.
Trust me when I tell you your time is coming, it will be you, and you’re not broken. And one day you’ll look back at all this hardship and know it was all worth it for the miracle you’ll be holding in your arms.