Where I live (Saskatchewan, Canada) a couple must actively be trying to conceive (ttc) for a year before their family doctor will refer them to a specialist or request any tests done to determine if there’s any problems. An entire year of ttc feels like a lifetime especially when you’ve made the decision that you are ready to start or grow your family or Heaven forbid, you are getting older. Ever since we had our daughter and my desire to grow our family has intensified, I have had 24 periods. Every single of one of them have felt like a boulder sitting in my uterus, its weight continuously forcing me off balance. Each period is a reminder that the tracking, the medications, the injections, the supplements, the awkward mechanical sex didn’t work. It is a reminder that the joining with our spouse failed to produce the product of that union; the greatest gift of Life. And it’s a sad and painful reminder that another 30 days have gone by and still no baby resides in our tummies.
When a woman is trying to conceive, months feel like eons, weeks feel like months and days feel like eternity. It’s like Time senses your rush, your desires, your goals and decides to make the entire process just a wee bit harder for you by messing with the continuum of Time.
You see, needing and wanting a baby is a waiting game.
You are at the mercy of your body’s natural rhythms and cycles and the window for ovulation is like a small stained glass window over the entrance door. It’s small yet beautiful but it only opens one way and it can only retract so far. So you track your cycle and you plan your method of attack on your husband. You stop trying to discuss the quality of your cervical mucus or your basal temperature and instead think you’re tricking him by playing it cool: “no babe, I just really want to connect with you tonight” and after donning your sexiest lingerie and lighting the candles you think, “THIS is it. This is the night we’ll conceive because I’m so laidback about this right now.” You attempt to put all thoughts of babies and onsies and giggles into a locked box in the back of your mind and you attempt to make THIS TIME about you and your man. But he knows. He knows what you’re really after. He’ll take it of course because after months of constant shitty sex and tears and being disgusted by you telling him that it has to be TONIGHT because your cervical muscus is light and sticky and ripe for conceiving, he will take this small shift in tactics. He wants to enjoy sex again so he plays along. You finally have a night of good connection and then immediately after, the locked baby box in the back of your mind has done some crazy Houdini action unbeknownst to you and before you even know you’re doing it, you’re upside down in some weird headstand variation against the headboard with your legs up against the wall, massaging your womb. Then the waiting game begins. It’s only two weeks or so but it feels like forever. Is it Summer Solstice? Jesus Christ, why is this day so friggin’ long?! It’s only Monday?! Why is Time going so slow?! We anxiously await our expected period day to come. And you know what, finally after what feels like five seasons, 38 full moons and 670 bowel movements, that day comes. With it comes the cramps, the tender breasts, the crazy hormone induced thoughts and the menstration and holy shit, does your heart break. It hurts so much that there’s no baby growing in your tummy and that your endless list of tactics and plans aren’t working.
You mull over what you did wrong or what you could’ve done: “Maybe I should’ve put music on that night. Maybe I should’ve put an extra scoop of maca in my smoothie those days. Maybe I should listen to Tara, she did tell me that Vitex worked. Maybe I should get that. Maybe I should’ve done a handstand instead of a headstand. Next time, I’ll massage my womb counter clockwise. Maybe I can get him to take some Vitamin E too.”
It’s absolute insanity and we 100% know it but we just want that damn positive sign so badly we dissect every. single. thing we did to see what we can do differently the next month so that THAT month can be THE month. Then we cry a lot. We cry so many tears we wonder where they come from. We cry that our prayers aren’t answered, that our husbands are useless right now, that our friends don’t get it. We cry that the baby we KNOW we deserve isn’t with us right now and we cry knowing that Life is throwing us a lesson we can’t find the answer to. We cry so much. It’s exhausting and draining. Our husbands are helpless because even though they’re alongside us throughout it, they don’t truly know. They don’t actually get it. So they rub our backs and bring the heating pad and Advil and sit silently with eyes that plead for instruction. Plus, we still have to go to work and pretend like everything is fine, like the baby that could’ve been isn’t being absorbed into the tampon shoved into our most intimate area. We still laugh and smile and perform our jobs meanwhile our soul is in mourning and our hearts are heavy and there isn’t a goddamn thing anyone can do to pick either of them up. We internally scream at our bodies for not doing its part. We shame ourselves for being that woman who can’t complete the task our bodies were designed for. We curse God and our specialists and our doctors and candles and McDonalds and GMO’s and whatever else we think is preventing pregnancy and we ALWAYS come back to blaming ourselves. Every time we sit on the toilet and see the crimson, we blame ourselves. It’s soul crushing, heart defeating and this is why each period feels like a thousand. A year’s worth feels like a million.
Does any of this resonate with you?! I hope I’m not alone in how these scenarios play out. This was my life for a long time. But I eventually learned that living that way wasn’t going to work. I had to make some serious changes. Below are a few steps I use to deal with my period while trying to conceive.
STOP TALKING NEGATIVELY
With the mounting frustrations behind every period, we tend to get really negative. Don’t talk shit about yourself or your doctor or your husband or your body. Just don’t do it. Instead, make the conscious decision to speak kindly and with grace. Instead of, “these damn meds aren’t working” try “we are confident we will find ones that work for us.” High frequency energy attracts other high frequency energies. Don’t succumb to the low no matter how much you want to. Choose a different mindset: recognize and appreciate what you do have in your life instead. It’ll be hard at first but it’ll eventually make everything else around you better.
BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
Have a bath and use that time to look at your body. Rub your body with oil or flowers. Wash yourself with loving compassion and intention. Thank your body for getting you to this point. Appreciate your health and your limbs and your skin. Thank your body for giving you your period (even if it pains you to say it). Cry in the bath if you need to. Eat chocolate if you need to. Drink wine if you need to. Go to a kickboxing class if you need to. Do nothing if that what makes you feel slightly better. There’s no standard on how to grieve or process your emotions so do whatever you need to do and never feel guilty for it. Also, never feel like you need to explain yourself to someone. If wearing the same pajamas and not washing your hair and eating only Mr. Noodles for the five days is what you want to do, then do it. You have another 25 days in the month to get productive and set goals. You never need to justify yourself to anyone (except maybe your spouse!)
FIND YOUR PIECE OF PEACE
Find something that gives you comfort. For me, that’s faith in a Universe I can’t even begin to comprehend. I now believe that the Universe/Source/Consciousness/God/Ultimate Reality/etc. has a plan for me that I can’t see yet. I just trust that everything is unfolding as it should and if/when a baby comes, it’ll be at the exact right time for us. If a baby doesn’t come into our lives again then I trust it was for the right reason and that the lesson I learn from my grief/anger will help me and hopefully others in some other capacity. Until then, I meditate, do yoga, spend time with friends, take my daughter swimming and swear a lot. Maybe for you reading books will help calm your soul. Maybe running will be the balm you need. Maybe Church or your local coffee shop is a place to find comfort. Whatever your beliefs, finding something that brings you peace amidst the chaos will help immensely. As a side bonus, searching for this is both educational and therefore contributes to your personal growth and it’s a good distraction! When you immerse yourself in learning you don’t have time to wallow. Find your peace and hold on to it.
I’d love to hear what you do. I’m always looking for new ideas! Please comment below.
United we rise,
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