Anxiety is never fun, but it’s especially hard to handle when TTC seems to be the source of it all. It’s normal feel a little anxious while trying to conceive, too much can impede on your ability to be excited and hopeful about the possibility of pregnancy – which is why you started trying in the first place!
The following symptoms may give you an indication that anxiety might be getting in the way of your TTC effort.
Feeling overwhelmed when you see other people getting pregnant
Blaming yourself or feeling low self-esteem
Sexual dysfunction, loss of interest in sex
Isolating yourself from friends or family
Excessive worrying or ruminating thoughts
Getting overly caught up in the details of TTC
Neglecting your own health because your body isn’t ‘cooperating’
Having anxiety or panic attacks.
If you’re experiencing any of the above on a regular basis, your TTC journey might be causing you anxiety that could affect many different aspects of your life.
Here are some basic tips to help you cope during the process of trying to conceive.
Accept that you’re anxious.
When you try to aggressively push anxiety away, it tends to push back harder. This is why accepting that you’re feeling anxious can fast track you to feeling less so.
From an evolutionary perspective, the useful purpose of anxiety is to put us on the lookout for danger. It’s a hypervigilance system. If we could easily shut anxiety off or distract ourselves with positive thoughts, anxiety wouldn’t be as useful.
Your anxiety is reminding you that you’re doing something that’s important to you.
Consider limiting how much you read internet sites and forums about pregnancy.
With any form of anxiety, people tend to engage in compulsive checking and reassurance-seeking behaviors.
Looking up loads of information about pregnancy on the internet can become a type of compulsive behaviour. Sometimes, you’ll find helpful information. Other times, it will make you more worried or confused. If reading information online feels a bit compulsive, it’s probably making you more anxious overall.
Try to find the sweet spot for you. If it seems like reading about trying to conceive or pregnancy is making you more anxious, take a break from it. If it’s not a problem for you, then there is no need to stop doing it.
Don’t Let the Two Week Wait Take Over
The two-week wait is a time of high stress for most women trying to conceive. Each day between ovulation and your pending next period can feel like a year, and you may feel constantly anxious.
If you want to stop letting the two-week wait take over your life, it may help to focus on other things and people during that time.
This is the time to…
- Plan a date with your partner
- Go on a girls-night-out with your friends
- See that movie you always wanted to see
- Get started on some home or craft project
Your two-week wait obsessions may still linger in the back of your mind, but that’s much better than letting them sit in the front seat.
Stop Letting Your Period’s Arrival Pull You Down for Days
Most women aren’t thrilled when their monthly period comes. But when you’re trying to conceive, you’re likely to feel upset. Getting your period is a pretty definitive sign that this month was another failure. Whatever hope you had that this time was going to work is squashed.
Remember and Reclaim What You Used to Love
The stress of infertility can get our minds so wrapped up in getting pregnant that we forget what we used to do for fun.
Get some paper and a pen and start making a list. Write down everything you can possibly think of that you once enjoyed doing. Feel free to even write down what made you laugh when you were a kid—why not?
Spend More Romantic Time With Your Partner
Infertility is notorious for turning sex into a chore. From frustration to shame to a lower libido, trying to get pregnant can impact your sex life.
It’s important to give attention to the relationship you have with your partner. Take time to talk to each other about how infertility is impacting your relationship, and what you both need to feel more connected.
Make Time for Relaxation and Self-Care
Taking care of yourself does not just mean eating right and seeing your doctor for check-ups. It also means making time for relaxation.
Relaxation may mean taking a long bubble bath, or it might mean turning up the music and dancing yourself silly in your living room. Relaxation might be meditation, yoga, or an art class. Many of these practices can help to change your inner dialogue about your infertility by keeping you in the moment. When you are in the moment it’s harder to fester on former fertility failures or future fertility fears.
Make Time to Acknowledge the Difficult Feelings
Taking back your life from infertility doesn’t mean pretending infertility doesn’t have a strong effect on your emotions. In fact, making time to acknowledge the difficult feelings can help you feel freer and more relaxed. It’s important to find a safe place and time to shed your infertility tears.
Join a Support Group
Many couples with infertility feel isolated. It seems as if all their friends and family are getting pregnant, raising children, and moving on to the next phase of their lives. In the meantime, you’re left alone, trying to get pregnant and feeling like the only childless couple left (or only a couple who can’t have more kids.)
This is how a support group can help. You’ll be with other couples who really get it.
Trying to conceive can be stressful, but it doesn’t always need to be. Take time to enjoy the process, try your best to remain positive and be sure to seek support during the difficult times.