Playing the Waiting Game
It’s been about 10 months since I went off birth control. While I was freaking out a year ago about getting pregnant, now I’m far from freaked. I want to have a child. No ifs, ands or doubts about it. Over the course of the last few months, wanting to get pregnant has gone from this future concept to a reality that I want. Like now. But getting pregnant doesn’t always work like that…
For me, it goes a little something like this: I wait forever to ovulate. I have a lot of sex with my husband. I wait some more. I hope. I get really excited. And then I feel totally, absolutely disappointed by the one-lined negative pregnancy test staring back at me (or the pair of white undies that just got ruined).
That’s pretty much been the cycle for me as of late. After enduring almost five months of post-pill amonherrhea, followed by another rough patch of insanely long menstrual cycles (one was as long as 54 days, my last one was a “short” 40) and a short luteal phase, my body is still, most likely, recovering from my decade-plus stint on the pill.
I’ve tried to stay positive. To focus on what I do have in life—a great husband, a sweet dog, a beautiful home, fabulous friends and family, a fantastic career, French press coffee. But still, it just feels as though a little spirit is missing at the dinner table every night. And it’s like I’m mourning something that isn’t even here. What do you do when the very essence of your being says it’s time to have a child and yet your otherwise healthy body isn’t cooperating? Oh, yeah, you have a lot more sex and wait some more.
I’m sure the life lesson I need to learn here is patience—and how not to be in control. After months of charting my basal temperature, cervical position, cervical fluid and ovulation-predictor kit (OPK) results, there’s no doubt that I went a little batty with it and got obsessive. It’s as if the more I planned and charted and organized, the more I thought I was increasing my odds of getting pregnant. While that’s true to some degree (information can be power), I took it too far. It was like all I thought about. And, for me, it wasn’t fun. Every time I got a negative OPK or a temperature reading that I wasn’t expecting, it made me feel like an infertile failure, dramatic as it sounds.
Then, one day last month, I was standing in my living room when it dawned on me: The same fervor and control I was placing on my fertility was exactly the same kind of negative energy I used to apply to calorie counting and losing weight. The basal thermometer had become my weight scale, and the numbers it flashed became my self-worth for the day.
Well, hell. I’d overcome that calorie-counting mess years ago and was so passionate about doing so that Erin and I created Fit Bottomed Girls to spread the word. Yet, here I was again, doing the same self-hating behaviors to myself that I did then. Talk about an epiphany. As soon as I realized that, it’s like the weight of the world came off of my shoulders.
So for the last few weeks, I’ve stopped with the daily OPK testing and the checking mucus multiple times a day. I’m not reading more books on fertility or infertility. I’m not browsing threads on discussion boards about post-pill horribleness. And I’m trying to not think about it. (Although, as you might imagine, helping to run a website with “Mamas” in the title makes that just a touch tricky. Not to mention that it seems like everyone on Facebook is getting pregnant or giving birth. Everyone.)
In essence, I’m slowly learning to let go of my need for control—because this is one part of my life that I really can’t control. Some days are better than others. Most days I’ll wake up and feel like everything is going according to plan. That I have the ultimate patience to wait however long it takes (or deal with whatever it takes—me getting pregnant or not), trusting nothing but my intuition and the universe, and feeling absolutely grateful that I even have the opportunity to try to get pregnant. Other days, it feels like it’s never going to happen, and I throw a full out sad-pants party for myself, cursing the world and all the unfit knocked-up women out there who don’t even want kids. Many days though, it’s a mix of the two, moment to moment.
I know in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long. And many women struggle with huge obstacles—and wait years and years—when it comes to getting pregnant. Or can’t get pregnant at all. But when you’re in the “trying to conceive” frame of mind, every month can seem an eternity and babies can become an obsession. But I’m trying to let go. In the mean time, I’ll continue to wait. And have lots of sex. And trust that the universe knows what it’s doing. —Jenn