Love this post about what it feels like when you can’t get pregnant. You are never alone, and you should never feel like you are.
“When are you going to have a baby?” she asked me hopefully. There was no malice in her voice, her eyes were full of excitement, and she was clearly just asking a question to make conversation.
“Oh, I don’t know. We’ll see,” I shrugged, giving a polite smile and quickly changing the subject.
To someone who has never struggled with infertility, a simple question about someone’s future children seems so innocent. But to someone who has been trying to get pregnant for months, it is a heartbreaking reminder of your ongoing battle to make a baby.
After the first few months of trying, you start to wonder if something is wrong. You record your basal body temperature every morning to see when you are ovulating and use ovulation predictor tests every month so you have sex at the right times. When that doesn’t help, you might seek fertility counseling and have lots of hormone tests done. Your husband will get tested, too, to make sure he isn’t part of the problem. But when everything comes up fine, your doctors say sorry and tell you to come back after you’ve been trying for a year.
Each month you have ridiculous sex during ovulation, and then wait two painful weeks to see if it worked. You want to get pregnant so bad that you convince yourself that you are nauseous or extra tired or that your boobs are sore. That makes it even worse when the pregnancy tests are all negative and then the month ends in your period.
When you can’t get pregnant, it feels like all of your friends are getting pregnant and leaving you behind. You watch their bellies grow and their babies be born, and as much as you want to be happy for them, you feel like crying every time they post a new picture of their perfect baby.
After a year, when you are clinically “infertile,” doctors will start talking about other options. Ovulation medication, fertility treatments, hormone injections, and on and on. You start seriously considering expensive fertility treatments and wonder how much you can afford to spend to make a baby.
The question “when are you going to have a baby?” is just a reminder that your body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. It is a reminder of the roller coaster of emotions you ride every single month. It is a reminder of all the days and nights you spend crying because it still isn’t happening. It is a reminder that what you want the most is to experience pregnancy and hold your own newborn baby in your arms. It is a reminder that you have no idea when you are going to be able to have a baby.
But that’s not something you mention in casual conversation. When someone asks “when are you going to have a baby?” you don’t unload the stress you’ve been feeling for months, or even years, about the pain you’ve felt while trying to get pregnant. You can’t tell them about the battle you’ve been having with your own body because if you try you are just going to break down. So you try and be casual and brush it off with a “oh, I don’t know, we’ll see,” and then try to quickly change the conversation.
It took my husband and I 15 months to get pregnant, plus a round of ovulation medication and an IUI. But for some women, it takes longer. Some women struggle for years.
So don’t ever ask someone when they are going to have kids. Don’t judge someone for having a job instead of having kids, or traveling instead of having kids. You might think someone has their priorities mixed up, but they might be going through the biggest struggle of their lives, or maybe they aren’t and they just aren’t ready for kids. Either way, it’s not your decision, and you have no place to push them.
And if you’re the one who keeps getting negative pregnancy tests, you are not alone. If you are the one who feels like she is bipolar because of the ups-and-downs of trying to get pregnant, you are not alone. If you are the one who can’t look at social media because every time you see another friend’s pregnancy announcement you cry, you are not alone.
You are not alone. And you should never feel like you are.
Marissa Naumann says
My husband and I started really trying this year. We have tried in the past but after a few negatives we stopped trying because I was becoming too upset that it wouldnt happen. I want a baby so much that I am scared to take a test now. I have felt nauseated for a week now and he wants me to take a test but I’m too scared that it will be a no.
Chelsea Johnson says
It’s so hard to wait but so hard not to at the same time! I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this! I hope that everything works out! And you can always wait a few days to find out!
I just found this article and it really spoke to me. My husband and I have been trying for 16 months — I have PCOS, just had surgery to remove uterine polyps and I’m hoping that everything is all clear and we can move on. We’ve gone through a year of tests and I just feel so incredibly down. This post was super helpful. Thank you.
Chelsea Johnson says
I’m so sorry! That sounds miserable! I hope everything works out and you feel some comfort and peace!