I’ve been thinking for some time about writing a series of posts about my experience with trying to conceive (TTC) and infertility, but I always kind of dismissed the idea. Too serious. Too emotional. Too personal. But recently, I’ve been letting the idea swirl around in my head a little more and I’ve become more comfortable with it. I know there are so many women out there…some just starting to think about having a baby, some longing to be a mama, and others praying for a miracle. Heck, there are even those who have given up completely and accepted the fact that the little child they dreamed of might never enter their lives. I was close to that. Looking back, I think I can honestly say that I was starting to believe that I might never be a mom. Well anyway, if anything I have to say here can offer inspiration, a glimmer of hope, or a sense of peace, then I want to write it. Because TTC (and infertility) can be a long, hard journey and it sucks to go it alone. So, I offer my first of (hopefully) a collection of posts about the path to motherhood and all its bumps and detours.
In the Bible study that I attend, we have been doing a study on marriage, and this week’s topic was sex. Yup, a bunch of puritanical Christian ladies discussing “the deed.” You can imagine the blushing and giggles. But seriously…
Some of the gals in our group are not yet married and so the married ladies were asked to give them some sex advice for future reference. Of all the advice I could give, the one thought that kept popping into my brain is don’t let love making become baby making. At some point, most married couples plan to have children. For some, it happens sooner than they’d planned. Others never anticipate that getting pregnant will be a problem.
So, let’s say you’ve been TTC for a few months now and nothing has happened. You might be starting to worry a little bit. You might be wondering if there are things you can do to increase your chances each month. You might be growing impatient. You might start to wonder if something is wrong. You’re probably tempted to consult Dr. Google about what you can do next. You know you will. And there are lots of things you can do to increase your chances and learn about your body. In fact, I think it’s really important to be proactive and educate yourself about your own fertility. But…
Please, please, please, before you do that, you have to make a promise to yourself and to your spouse that you won’t allow love making to become baby making.
What do I mean by that? What’s the difference? You’re probably thinking, what can be more intimate and connecting than creating a baby with someone? That sweet little child is a manifestation of the strong bond of love you share with your spouse, right? In a perfect world, of course it is, but I am living proof that TTC can also single-handedly destroy a marriage.
Once you start reading and learning about all that is involved in TTC, it’s really easy to become obsessed. You’ll discover things about your body that you never dreamed of and your bathroom (or bedroom) is likely to begin to look like a science lab. Soon you might purchase a basal thermometer, OPKs, and a fertility tracking app for your phone. You’ll learn about cervical mucus and you might even start to POAS (pee on a stick) on a daily basis. You’ll probably begin to talk to your spouse about all of it. So, you can see how that might kill the mood, right? You’ll calculate the perfect time to do the deed and what the heck, you might even raise your knees up over your head for good measure. How long do I have to stay like this? Before you know it and without even trying, sex will become a chore, a duty, and an inconvenient means to an end. Believe it or not, men can begin to feel used when you’re only after one thing (his swimmers).
If I’m being really honest with myself, this was probably the biggest reason (there are others) why my first marriage ended in divorce. I spiraled into a deep, dark hole of baby obsession…and probably suffered from depression at the same time. Sex was all about baby making for me. If there’s no chance I could get pregnant right now, why bother? I was beaten down, tired, and frustrated at seeing everyone around me get pregnant and, ironically, it killed my sex drive. There were times when I would try to be reasonable and just let it go…put it in God’s hands. But my need for control eventually took over again and I was back where I started. I can even remember thinking to myself, Babies are supposed to be conceived in love. Not like this…
Trying to conceive can be extremely stressful, folks, so be kind to yourself and be kind to each other. Take time to do the deed…just because. Relax, have fun together, laugh. Remember, you chose your husband and you will be with him long after your unborn children leave home. It is so vitally important to nurture your marriage so that if and when you do have kids, they will have parents who still love each other.
What do you do to stay sane and keep love alive while trying to conceive?