Guest List: Trying to Concieve


unnamed-1Jennie sent me the originally version of this list to me last year. At the time its was too difficult for me to read as we were struggle to conceive too.

Now, months later, I am all too aware that I am a very fortunate to be typing this with a big pregnant belly and that that there many out there still on a journey towards a much longed bubba.

Here’s Jennie’s story:

  • So far trying to make a baby has not worked out as I had planned. I had always (naively) assumed the difficult bit about making babies would be finding someone awesome to make babies with. Thankfully that bit was actually alright. My husband and I got together in 2011, about six months later we moved in, we then went on to get a mortgage, got a dog, got engaged and got married, all wonderful and pretty much straight forward. But the next step of my grand life plan has not gone so smoothly. 

  • We started down road procreation in January 2016, not really that long ago I hear you shout, but trust me it feels like a lifetime.

  • I want to start by saying I love my life. I have almost everything I’ve ever wanted. After decades of living with an anxiety disorder that I could never quite get under control, and subsequent bouts of depression, my thirties have brought the stability I’ve always longed for. I have finally figured out, for the most part, how to manage my anxiety; I have a supportive partner I’m crazy in love with; the best dog (who is actually a small hairy person); a beautiful home; a job I enjoy; a loving family and the best army of friends anyone could ask for. unnamed-4

  • All that stuff is great and I’m ridiculously thankful for it. But I’m an only child, I’m greedy, and much like Veruca Salt, I want more and I want it now! I want my own family, I want children (multiple).

  • I started on the TTC journey imaging all my husband would have to do is look at me and I’d be pregnant. We’re young, sort of, pretty healthy. What could go wrong? 

  • Coming off the pill sent my anxiety disorder into melt down and caused all sorts of physical symptoms that left me a sweaty, greasy, crampy mess (and the acne, oh god the acne!). Never mind the emotional mayhem. I cried all the time for no reason and I had real trouble focusing. My work suffered and my friends started to have quite words with me because I was acting so oddly. This took over a year to pass fully but the first six months were the worst.

  • The irony of this situation is not lost on me. I spent most of my teens and all of my twenties doing my best not to get pregnant. When you’re young they practically tell you you can pregnant from sitting on a spunked on toilet seat, this might be the case when you’re sixteen, it isn’t when your thirty three. 

  • Nothing happened, then nothing happened and so it continues… 

  • Trying to have sex on a schedule is shit. It sucks all the romance and loveliness out of it. My husband feels like a piece of meat and I feel like a horrible person for nagging, cajoling and having full on temper tantrums to make him have sex with me because I know if we don’t, we might never manage to do it at the right time in my cycle. (I know sexy!)

  • I started to hate my body, I felt like it had failed me. I felt like less of a woman. I stopped feeling sexy. This obviously didn’t help the aforementioned sex situation.

  • It feels like a day doesn’t go by without at least one person asking me if I’m pregnant. I don’t know why, it might be my age or may be Im just fat but it makes me want to cry in the loo.

  • I’ve cut back on drinking alcohol and caffeine, at times completely. This doesn’t help the pregnancy rumours. But mostly it just makes me grumpy as coffee, wine and gin and basically my favourite things in life.

  • The two weeks after I’ve ovulated are crap. I keep imagining pregnancy symptoms: I feel a bit shit, I’m pregnant, my boobs hurt, I’m pregnant, I want to cry at a sad film, I’m pregnant, I feel cramps at an odd time, I’m pregnant! But I’m not.

  • I take my monthly test knowing what the answer will be and it feels like a waste but if I don’t I will be continuously nagged by what ifs. 

  • It feels like everyone around me is getting pregnant and having babies. It’s hard to keep my jealously in check and it makes me feel very ashamed that I can’t be more happy for my friends. I realise these sorts of feelings don’t serve anyone though so I’m working on it.

  • I realised recently that I’m angry too. I was very excited to start trying. I always knew I wanted to have kids and when we first started trying I couldn’t wait to be pregnant. I feel betrayed somehow like the joy of what was supposed to be an exciting and wonderful time has been taken away from me.

  • At around six months in my husband told me he didn’t recognise me anymore. I thought he’d seen me at my worst, when I couldn’t leave the house, when I couldn’t go to work but this was different. I’d carried on as normal but it became robotic.

  • I recognised he was right and went to my GP. She explained it was too early to start testing for infertility as it could take years for my hormones to rebalance after being on the pill for over 16 years, but told me if nothing had happened after a year of trying they would start tests.unnamed-2

  • However she did suggest that I went back on to medication to help with my anxiety and took a break from trying. I said no thank you but did start to make changes on my own.

  • I got more seriously into yoga, I started practicing mindfulness and I went to an acupuncturist. I even went to a naturopath who prescribes herbs and diet changes. I did an online CBT refresher. I didn’t get pregnant but I slowly started to feel better. I went on holiday with a friend and finally started to come back to myself.

  • After a year of trying we were given a referral to the Assisted Conception Unit at our local hospital. We had tests and so far they haven’t found anything wrong, I should be happy, and I am relieved but this news doesn’t make me any more pregnant. If the doctors found something wrong at lest they could fix it and just because they haven’t found a problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

  • People trying to be kind and helpful tell me: it will happen when it happens, when the time is right, everything happens for a reason, just relax stressing is worst thing you can do (so thanks it’s all my own fault then is it?), two years isn’t that long, it takes some people much longer. It’s normal. And I reply I know but it doesn’t happen for some people. What if we’re those people?

  • I worry that my mental health history will stop us from being accepted for fertility treatments or adoption should it come to it. I worry we will run out of time and options.

  • Just before Christmas we found out we now meet the criteria to go on to the waitlist for IVF in our area. At the moment the wait to begin treatment is about six months. I’m pleased and sort of relieved that there’s something we can finally DO (apart from the obvious) but I still feel in a weird limbo of trying desperately to stay positive and hopeful. While also quietly readying myself for the worst, so that I will be prepared if it doesn’t work.


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  • Reply Scarlet January 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

    My own story of TTC is almost completely identical to Jennie apart from I never really had regular periods so my life was a circle of ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests as I never knew where I was. My GP was infuriating telling me to enjoy the sex after I went to her for help after a year of trying. There is nothing enjoyable about TTC sex.

    I had a course of acupuncture with a fertility specialist and luckily enough found out I was pregnant last March. However the anxiety didn’t stop there, miscarriage, genetic testing, birth, breast feeding, general keeping a baby alive, it’s endless. Learning to manage anxiety is the the most positive step in this period of waiting.

    Some great advice my sister in law gave me who also struggled to conceive was to make lots of fun plans. Try and book something in every month. She said babies have a reputation of getting in the way and if it doesn’t happen, at least you’ve had fun and you’ve got things to look forward to. We fell pregnant shortly after I took her advice so I had lots of sober weekends away and was the designated driver on nights out 🙈

  • Reply Andstillirise1980 January 19, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I went through something similar between 2011 and 2014. The difference was I was trying to conceive a second child, so I know I’m very lucky to have my first (which took no trying at all, conversely). I eventually decided to stop at one, but it was a hard decision to make and I had counselling and practiced mindfulness to aide recovery. I will keep everything crossed for you.

  • Reply Chomeuse with a Chou January 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    I completely agree that two weeks’ wait is absolute hell! I have a slightly different problem, in that I can get pregnant fairly quickly, but I am now on my sixth and only have one child (number 3). I panic if the very early feelings are stronger or weaker than previous times and whether that means I am more or less likely to lose another baby. Nobody will do any tests because I haven’t had three losses in a row…yet.

    • Reply Laura Price January 19, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      An amazing brave and identifiable list. Everything crossed for you ❤️

  • Reply Lauren January 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Jennie you brave lady for writing this and writing it so well. Every bullet point on your list is painfully familiar, especially the temper tantrums when hubby doesn’t feel like doing it with a temp-taking, chart-tracking maniac! Thankyou for sharing your experience and highlighting that all these feelings are a normal part of this shitty experience. Keep going, keep positive, sending you all the luck and positive vibes x

  • Reply Wemadeawish January 19, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    It is such a challenging and difficult journey. I felt so let down by my body when I didn’t get pregnant month after month after month. We decided early on IVF wasn’t for us and we’re now parents to a beautiful 4 year old through adoption. Everything made sense the moment we read about our daughter who was 6 months old when we found out about her and 9 months old when she came home for keeps. Adoption for us was never second best, it was how we were meant to become parents. If I’d got pregnant and had a birth child we would never have met our daughter. Best wishes

  • Reply Keren January 21, 2018 at 11:48 am

    I totally relate to all you’re feeling as I’m currently going through the same thing in that it’s been just over 2 years now where we are ttc our second child. Although I’m blessed with our 4 year old (who I happened to conceive within 2 months of coming off the pill!) this longed for second child has been a whole different ball game.
    With tests being carried out where there has been nothing found that would stop us conceiving, to trying other methods like acupuncture and mindfulness it all leads to a built up stress and resentment which we all know doesn’t help but it’s just so hard to shake off!
    We are now looking to go down the private route for fertility help and I wish you so much luck when you go through your treatment. Thanks for opening up and sharing your story as it’s reassuring (although sad) to know they’re are so many of us going through this battle x

  • Reply Tello84 January 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Wow! Like so many others your story is identical to mine. We started trying Jan 16 and are still trying a year on. I was told in a December that I have PSOS. I do have really long cycles but they are fairly regular. Luckily I haven’t had horrible side effects. When I came off the pill my story was identical to yours, it was the worse time of my life! The docs have referred me to the NHS but I am looking at natural ways first. I have booked reflexology and will look at acupuncture as well. I have also started reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility which is a massive eye opener! You should read it! My hopes and everything is crossed you get your dream too, as hopefully I will too!

  • Reply mrspseudo January 29, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    from someone who is also on the trying to concieve journey I have everything crossed for you x

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