The Frustrating Thing About Fertility
It’s always seemed like some strange cruel joke that the timing of the big life changing event of having a baby is largely uncontrollable. You don’t know for sure if pregnancy will come easily for you so you want to allow a lot of time to try, but you’re hesitant to try before you’re ready in case it does happen quickly. Then, there’s the whole where you stand in your career and relationship as your age creeps towards that ominous age of 35.
But that’s not what frustrated me the most on my journey to motherhood.
No, what got to me the most is how there are no set rules or guarantees when it comes to our fertility. You can do so many of the “right” things, and still not get the results you want. I’m the type of person who enjoys guidelines. I like an agenda, a plan, something to follow. What I liked most about marathon training (aside from the carbo loading!) was the idea that if I run this many miles at this pace on these days, I will be able to run 26.2 in roughly this amount of time on this date.
Plug in, do the work, get the results. Then I struggled getting pregnant – struggled getting a period, even – and suddenly there were no “knowns”. Once I discovered my endurance running was likely the largest factor in my struggle, I found myself thinking about all the olympic marathoners who had children. All the runners I personally knew who successfully conceived more than once.
Then I remembered my own advice I give my clients, “everybody is different.”
It’s easy to fall into the idea that what works for someone else will work for you. How many glossy magazines have you bought (or quickly browsed in the check out line) touting what Jennifer Anniston eats or Jillian Michaels’ workout routine? It’s silly when you stop to think about it, but of course doing someone else’s workout or diet will not make you look like them, but it’s so tempting to think that’s the answer!
So, when it came to fertility, I couldn’t possible think because someone else can workout the way they workout or eat the way they eat and get pregnant, that I could do the same.
Still, it’s so hard not to think of how many people did all the things I avoided; smoking, excess caffeine, alcohol, too little sleep, etc. yet still got pregnant. I remember lamenting over this concept at a Shine Fertility Support Meet Up with another woman in the midst of IVF. “There’s pregnant women who smoked cigarettes and never exercised and I’m over here worried if the green smoothie I drank was too cold!” I laughed because it’s so true, but feels so unfair!
I finally admitted to myself that for me running wasn’t working for my body at the moment. Yes, it’s frustrating that my hormones appeared to be thrown off more easily than others, but once I stopped comparing how my body reacted to how other women’s reacted, I felt stress and expectations float away.
It wasn’t easy, but got so much easier to truly focus on me and my body.
Whether you’re frustrated with your experience TTC or pregnancy and how it’s not lining up with your expectations from what you see in others, I invite you to stop caring about “them”. Start exploring what isn’t working for you and what could work. Find your own formula and forget how it “should” be.