Updated: Nov 15
You get your period. Not pregnant again this month. Find the tissues, cue up the saddest songs you know, curl into a ball on the couch, and have a good cry. Get up, dust yourself off, and realize that you’ve got a fresh start. Surely this is it: the golden cycle where you will finally conceive the baby you’ve been hoping for. Go about the next two weeks eating well, moving healthfully, and feeling excited for what is to come. Watching the lines of the ovulation test kit until the magic moment arrives, and Boom!, you’re on your way to baby. Suddenly everything you feel in your body must mean something. Am I feeling more tired than usual? Do I feel sick to my stomach? Could that little twinge be implantation? I’m spotting a little bit–I bet it’s implantation bleeding! Oh…#%$@...it’s my period starting again.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s the monthly emotional rollercoaster that every woman with fertility issues experiences. And it stinks. A lot. But it could also be keeping you stuck in some unexpected ways. Let’s take a look at three of them.
1. You’re Living in a Hypothetical Future and Not the Present Moment
Do you wish you could look for a new job? You want to go on a great vacation with your partner? Maybe it’s time to start that class you’ve been wanting to take? “No way, I can’t do that now–I might be pregnant next month.”
You’ve probably noticed yourself putting long-term, or even medium-term plans on the back burner lately. It’s understandable given the constant uncertainty surrounding the possibility of a pregnancy; it’s enough to make any of us think twice. But here’s the problem: when you make decisions based on a hypothetical future, you’re not allowing yourself to live in the present moment. And that leaves most of us feeling stressed out, misaligned, and sometimes downright unhappy.
So What’s a Gal to do Instead?
The short answer is: you’ve got to make your choices based on what will make you happiest in your current situation. Find a way to live in the moment instead of being stuck in the moment.
You’re right, you might find yourself starting a brand new job just as you find out you’re pregnant. But doesn’t that beat the alternative of being stuck in a job you don’t love while still not being pregnant?!
And you might find yourself in Italy not able to have one sip of the amazing wine like I did, but I can tell you that I could not have cared less. (Ok, maybe that’s not totally true, but it definitely didn’t ruin my trip.)
Even if you feel like you can’t possibly make your desired change right now, I would urge you to ask yourself if there are any small steps you can take that will make it easier for you to make that change when the timing is right. Every bit of forward progress makes a difference.
As a final note, I’d like to point out the somewhat magical, but totally true fact that positive change in one area of your life often leads to positive changes in other areas, as well.
2. You’re Micromanaging and Overanalyzing Your Cycle
The amount of information you have access to about your body these days is pretty impressive. You can get up every morning and use any one of a number of different tests to gauge your hormone levels. There are websites full of information about what happens to your body at every stage of your menstrual cycle, and how it may all feel physically. You can get online and be connected with women from around the world comparing and contrasting experiences, looking for women to confirm that what you’re feeling is indicative of this or of that.
But it comes with a downside, too. All that information can lead to micromanagement and overanalysis of a process, that at the end of the day, you don’t actually have a ton of control over. And while for some that can feel empowering, for others it can be entirely too stressful.
So What’s a Gal to do Instead?
Let it go. (Feel free to sing it if you’d like!)
Seriously, though, I mean it. As long as you know conclusively that you ovulate, stop peeing on a stick every morning. Just have regular sex (the fun kind that isn’t scheduled on your calendar!) at regular intervals, and you’ll hit your fertile window.
When you get to the second half of your cycle and you start to wonder if you’re feeling symptoms of implantation or early pregnancy, resist the urge to check in with Dr. Google. Don’t get on the message boards and ask if other women have felt what you’re feeling. Just carry on with your day knowing that you’ll have an answer soon enough.
Sounds hard, right? Maybe. But it also might be the most freeing and stress-relieving thing you’ve done for yourself in a while.
3. You’re Being Inconsistent With Your Healthy Habits
One of the things that I’ve noticed, both in my own experience, and while working with other women is something I call “habit cycling.” It looks like this: in the excitement of beginning a fresh cycle, you adopt lots of super-healthy behaviors like eating nutritiously, getting plenty of exercise, going to yoga class, getting plenty of sleep, and the list could go on. As the month progresses, however, one of two things starts to happen. Either you’ve taken on so many new or strict habits that they become unsustainable, or you start to suspect that this cycle won’t end in pregnancy, so you get discouraged and slide back into old habits.
If that sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone!
So What’s a Gal to do Instead?
Pick one or two healthy habits that are most important to you and you can commit to sticking with throughout your entire cycle, regardless of outcome. It could be cutting out caffeine, walking 30 minutes every day, getting to bed 10 minutes earlier…there are so many fertility-boosting healthy habits out there to choose from.
But to try and do them all in a burst of fertility exuberance is impossible. Besides, no one ever got pregnant because they were *perfectly* healthy and healthful. Good enough is almost always good enough! Take advantage of the mental and physical health-boosting benefits of sticking consistently with one or two (or possibly even three) habits and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.
The monthly rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows can take a significant toll on you, both mentally and physically. But acknowledging the craziness is the first step to getting off the ride, taking back a bit of control, and keeping your sanity intact. By living in the now, making choices that put a smile on your face today, ditching the urge to micromanage everything, and fostering a few consistent, sustainable healthy habits, you can navigate this journey with resilience and grace. So here’s to breaking free from the unexpected ways that this rollercoaster keeps you stuck. You got this!