When you’re ready to start a family and things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s hard. Really hard. Trust me, I know. Trying to have a baby isn’t always as easy as you think it’s going to be. In Canada, the incidence of fertility issues are rising. My husband and are part of the one of six Canadian couples now experiencing fertility-related problems.
We didn’t have the blissful few months of not-really-trying before making our big announcement. We had month after month of negative tests, embarrassing appointments, lots of disappointment and expensive fertility treatments before finally taking home our kids, 3 years apart.
It was a stressful and pressure filled time. It was also lonely and isolating. Thankfully, there are many more people talking about all the challenges that come with infertility so those facing infertility in 2016 and beyond will feel better supported.
5 Tips To Help When Facing Infertility in Family Planning
With National Infertility Awareness Week around the corner (May 12th – 20th), Dr. David Greenberg, Family Physician at St. Joseph Hospital, has some tips to help start the family planning.
TIP 1: Don’t “try”!
For couples “trying” to conceive, every month can be filled with anxiety and worry. Heightened stress can actually cause more challenges. Therefore, it’s important to live in the moment and just enjoy your partner.
This is easier said than done. Even when we took months off, I was still counting days in my head. I wish I had been able to switch the ‘calendar’ off and enjoyed more of those months and years. I think I would have been much better off.
TIP 2: It’s not your fault
There are many reasons why conceiving a baby may be difficult, but it’s not anyone’s fault. Blaming yourself or your partner won’t fix anything and may lead to more problems, including tension in your relationship.
At the end of the day, a successful journey to have a baby makes you both equal parents. It’s hard enough and I have to say our relationship stayed strong without. There were harder things than brought us there in the first place. Stay strong for each other. On the good days and the bad.
Tip 3: Live healthy
Don’t wait until you find out you’re expecting to start making changes to your diet or exercise routine. Once you decide to start trying to conceive, start behaving like you’re already pregnant by eating right, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding alcohol, stop smoking and exercising sensibly.
There were certainly some poor choices made during the 2+ years that we were trying to conceive the first time, and the nearly 2 years we spent trying to conceive the second. Yes, the second bottle of wine those times was a terrible idea, but usually we were pretty good at staying healthy. This meant we seldom has to second guess if we were bringing anything on ourselves. You have enough to worry about. Whether you ate too much of something or drank too much of something else will creep into your subconscious. Don’t give it any reason to.
Tip 4: Know yourself
Improve your odds of conceiving by having sex on the days when conception is likeliest to happen. Every woman’s body is unique and, when trying to become pregnant, your individual cycle should be taken into consideration. The First Response™ Digital Ovulation Test detects and tracks your personal daily baseline levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) to detect your personal LH surge, unlike other ovulation tests that use a preset “average” level to determine an LH surge.
Keeping track of my body and using all the tools at my disposal helped me feel confident that I was doing everything I could to create a positive outcome. For us, it wasn’t enough. But knowing we had tried everything helped us make the decision to seek and accept help. I learned a lot from the First Response Ovulation tests and was happy to have all that knowledge when it came time to decide what to do next.
Tip 5: Know when to see an expert
Most couples who are trying to conceive will become pregnant within a year. For others it can take longer. If it’s taking longer than you expected to conceive, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor about what you should be doing to improve your chances of conceiving.
We were very fortunate to have a care team that was kind and respectful to us. But it wasn’t our first team. We left one group behind and landed at a clinic that was ultimately responsible for our successful pregnancies. We had our wonderful son, then 2 heartbreaking miscarriages before delivering our second and final child. Our clinic was there to celebrate with us and to cry with us. We made a lot of friends along the journey and all of us had different stories and different outcomes. The friends I made during that time remain some of my best to this day.
If you know someone who is trying to conceive, be supportive. Be kind. And if you’re here, in this place right now, be kind to yourself. Seek out the support of those who are on the same path, and try not to withdraw too much from the outside world. It’s not easy, I know that. Remember you are unique and your story isn’t written yet. If you haven’t, consider consulting a doctor to find out the best steps for you and to get all the answers you need to decide what’s next for you.
You can read the whole story of my journey through IVF here.
Do you have any tips to add? Give them to us in the comments below.