Trying to conceive can be really hard. Not for everyone, but for many it can be one of the most trying, upsetting, frustrating points in your life. Its easy to look back in hindsight about how you’d do things differently. Here’s what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and lend a friendly ear and some tips.
1. Start TTC sooner than you think you should.
This advice applies to women over 30, as I was just 8 days past my 35th birthday when I got a positive pregnancy test. I hear many times over the treatment table from my clients 30 or older that they wish they’d started sooner. If you’re under 30, this may not apply to you if you’re more fertile.
Even for the sub 30’s, planning ahead can be helpful. It’s hard to tell if you’re fertile or not until you actually try to conceive, unless you have supporting evidence from recent blood tests. Just keep timing in mind, as your ovarian reserve (and probably egg quality) can and will decline over time.
2. Make Stress Relief a priority.
I’m one of those types that functions ok under pressure, pushes through stress and performs inspite of all challenges thrown my way. But when it came to the year I tried to conceive,
I had no idea how stressed I really was.
Once we finally conceived after 9 months, looking back I had way too much on my plate that year and was convincing myself that I was coping. My body was telling me that I wasn’t. In hindsight I truly believed Stress was one of the hinderances to my fertility. I should have known better because many the hormone feedback loops can become disrupted by stress and lifestyle factors.
3. Ask for help sooner.
Whether this is letting your doctor know, your acupuncturist, naturopath or other healthcare practitioner, they can start you off on the right path for fertility success.
I thought to myself after trying for 3 months, “it can’t be that hard. I help other couples conceive and it worked for them, why can’t I make it happen for myself?” Perhaps it was the mistake of the Practitioner using self-diagnosis. So I went and saw some fellow acupuncture peers to get help, treatment and be the patient for once. I needed to step back and let someone else look at my situation with fresh eyes, an independent perspective. Even though I had no pre-existing condition affecting my hormones
4. Prepare for Pregnancy BEFORE you want to officially start TTC
I did no preparation for Pregnancy, took no Pregnancy multivitamin nor looked at my health overall before trying to conceive.
I probably did what many do which is assume there is nothing affecting my fertility.
It was only once we had tried for 6 months before I thought something could be wrong. Now looking back, I truly believe prioritising stress management, relaxation, exercise and better eating habits and taking supplements could have saved us some time. (I always gave this advice to clients, I don’t know why I didn’t apply it to myself as well!)
5. Start the conversation with significant other sooner.
Speaking from a heterosexual relationship perspective, and in particular my relationship, it took a LONG time to get the other half onboard. He is 4 years younger than me, so I felt my biological clock ticking and he was green to his thirties. “Am I ready to be a father?”, “Am I responsible enough?”, “Can I raise another human being?” were some of the conversations we had and the questions he asked himself. He knew he wanted kids….at some point. He just wasn’t sure if that point was now. I don’t know how we got to a mutual decision to try to conceive but we did. My recollection of that part of our relationship was that it took time. If time is something that isn’t on your side, I believe there is benefit to being upfront with partners about where your head is at and what your expectation is regarding when to begin TTC.
This is just a few reflections on what my story was and how I would do things differently if I had my time again. Hopefully you find these insights valuable and practical in what can sometimes be a highly emotional and challenging time. Connect with me on facebook or twitter to share your thoughts, or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your comments.