3 Ways to Enjoy Life When Trying to Conceive
So your mental switch may have flipped so loud that you could actually hear it: You’re ready to have a baby. If it is your first or second (or third), you are ready and ideally want it ASAP.
If you are anything like me (type A recovering control freak), perhaps until recently, it seemed life more or less followed a linear formula: goal + hard work = result.
Apparently fertility didn’t get the memo. Fertility is different and works by its own rules.
We all have different conditions and starting points. Some of us have medical issues that prevent us from conceiving easily, some of us have a child already but are dealing with secondary fertility issues, and some may just have started to think about having children as they’ve been busy with their lives and relationships until now. All is valid, all is normal.
But for all of us who are trying to conceive, we probably have a couple of things in common: While being in the wait we want to keep enjoying life along the way and manage those anxious (and again very common) thoughts.
Let me be upfront with you. I spent half a decade trying to conceive.
I went to hell and back. Fertility messed with my mental health, relationships, body, bank account, sleep, and social life. Fertility is a b***. And maybe the best teacher I’ve ever had.
Despite all (or because of it all), I was able to enjoy a pregnancy full of gratitude, a natural birth, a healthy baby girl, a loving partnership with my husband, and the deep fulfillment of becoming a mother.
I’ve learned so much along the way, and want to share it with you. I wish someone had told me all this 6 years ago. It would have helped me go through this journey with so much more dignity, grace and kindness.
My mission is clear: Making your journey easier. So here we go…
3 Ways to Enjoy Life When Trying to Conceive
1. Think About What You CAN Control vs. Can’t
First the hard truth: It turns out we cannot always control when or how to have a baby. But, fortunately, there are many things you can create and control to improve your chances to get pregnant and enjoy your life in the wait. Mind-body-connection research shows that by ‘feeling’ in control and taking good care of our mental and physical health, we can lower stress hormones in the body and send a clear signal to our subconscious mind that it is safe to get pregnant.
Grab pen and paper and let’s brainstorm together. On the left-hand side write down the things that are outside of your control. On the right-hand side write down the things that are in your control. This is how it looked like for me:
If you give yourself permission to dive deep, there is a lot on the right-hand side that you can actually control, including making your body baby-friendly (sign up here to get free guide on how to boost your fertility), improving your immediate life quality and sending the right signals to your brain that you are safe and relaxed (and hence a good time to have a baby).
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
I know, I know…it can be so hard not to compare yourself with other women who have what you want. Now it is babies, but maybe a few years ago it was that job, and before that it was that hot boyfriend or great hair or body.
It is so important for our mental health to stop comparing ourselves to others. There is no upside really. You are uniquely beautiful and wonderful just because who YOU are. Here are 3 mantras that serve as a reminder (and write them down on a sticky note if that helps):
Comparison is the thief of joy.
We are all tested in different ways.
I am enough.
3. Be Your Own Best Friend
While trying to conceive I encourage you to be your own best friend. Give yourself the level of care and support that you would expect from your best friend. Kindness is the key concept here. That means being kind to yourself and to your partner (each one of you deals with this situation differently, you want to work together on this, not against each other) and other people around you. They may have no idea what you are going through.
Think about what your self-care strategies are. Tune into yourself and ask: what is it that I need right now?
A few ideas:
- Yoga, meditation, relaxation (click here for a calming 5–minute breathing space)
- Getting creative, cooking, drawing
- Getting active outdoors, walking, hiking, biking
- Doing something fun with friends
- Taking a hot bath and read a good book
- Talking about your fertility journey with friends and family
The fertility journey can be a wonderful opportunity to get to know yourself better and integrate valuable tools around self-care and awareness into your life. And these valuable techniques are yours for a lifetime.
What are your small and big victories around enjoying life while being in the wait?
I’d be curious to hear from you and share your stories with all these other women out there who might really benefit from knowing they are not alone.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Monika Friedman is a 4 time IVF warrior, a yoga teacher and a working mom with an MBA and 15 years of corporate experience under her belt. Her own challenging journey to motherhood has made her passionate about helping others with theirs. She is a Fertility, Pre & Post-Natal Coach helping professional women increase their chances to get pregnant and live joyfully in the wait, during pregnancy and postpartum. A German native, but a global citizen at heart, she's lived and worked all over the world (Germany, US, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Singapore, UK), and now resides in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband, daughter and red Labrador Retriever. Also, she loves re-watching Friends, has a secret crush on Trevor Noah and never says "No" to chocolate. For more info visit www.monikafriedman.com