When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I was shocked. I wasn't planning on getting pregnant and I had endometriosis (so I had been told that my chances of ever getting pregnant were minimal) and, well, it was such a huge surprise. Now, I'm hoping to feel much of the same. I'm trying to get pregnant again and it's taking much longer than I had originally hoped or expected. Every month I'm thinking it will be the month, but when you're trying to conceive and you get your period, continuing to think the next one will be "the month" can be, well, difficult.
I try to remain optimistic, I really do. I also know the reality of my situation as a woman with endometriosis, and that makes it somewhat difficult for me to stay hopeful. Sometimes, when that damn period shows up, as scheduled, I can't help but think that my son was just a wonderful fluke, and I'll never experience pregnancy or labor or delivery or the newborn stage again. Then, without fail, I start to feel guilty, because there are so many women who want but are unable to experience those moments at all, and I remind myself that I need to remain thankful for what I have, and hopeful for what I may be able to have again.
I think that's, arguably, one of the hardest parts about trying to conceive. It's difficult to remain hopeful and it's difficult to not compare your situation to the situations of others and it's difficult to put things into perspective without trivializing your very valid thoughts and feelings. It's just a cluster of relentless emotions that always come into focus when you get your period. Thankfully, I know I'm not alone, and that does provide me with some comfort. So, with that in mind, here's the relentless thoughts that bombard my mind when my period shows up, uninvited:
I used to be so excited when my period arrived. Now, I am just disappointed. I get sad and super bummed and it's hard to stay optimistic, to be honest. The closer I get to my "period time," the more hopeful I start to get, like maybe my period won't come and I can get that pregnancy test and another baby will be on the way. Then, that damn period arrives as scheduled and I'm just sad.
"I Thought It Would Be Different This Time"
Even if there's no evidence to the contrary or I haven't done anything particularly different, I always think it will be different. I might not have had sex more frequently or tracked my ovulation more closely, but every month I think, "This is the month." I guess I'm an eternal optimist, or at least somewhat of a masochist.
"Maybe There's Something Wrong?"
I try to keep my mind from going to the "dark place" that is absolute pessimism, but it's difficult to stay hopeful. When another month goes by and I start my period and I'm absolutely not pregnant, I start to think the worst. Maybe I can't get pregnant again. Maybe the first time was a wonderful fluke. Maybe my body won't be able to do what I am asking of it. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
When these inevitable thoughts push their way to the forefront of my mind, I usually make an effort to talk to my partner about it. If I keep them bottled in, they're sure to manifest and multiply and become stronger than the hope I cling onto, so we talk and I vent and he assures me and, well, it helps.
"Well, I'll Keep Trying..."
Perhaps one of the only silver linings to getting my period again, is that I have to keep having sex. I mean, I could keep having sex when I'm pregnant, too, but I'm choosing not to focus on that fact and, instead, deciding that I can just take this as an opportunity to keep trying. And trying. And trying.
"...And I Know I Have Other Options..."
There is no "right" way or "one" way to get pregnant and I, personally, am so very thankful for that undeniable fact. If conceiving via sexual intercourse isn't going to work, I know that I can try IVF or insemination or adoption or one of the many other ways that people have children. Of course, many (read: most) of those ways are very expensive, which is why I am hoping that I will eventually be getting pregnant by having sex, but knowing that there are options my partner and I can rely on and if necessary save our money for, helps.
"...So This Isn't Over. No Way."
After my initial disappointment has passed and I push the negative thoughts out of my head, I usually find myself feeling determined. Just because I started my period this month (and last month, and the month before that and the month before that and, well, you get the idea) doesn't mean my attempts at getting pregnant are over. In fact, this is far from over.
"Ugh, This is Exhausting..."
Trying to get pregnant sure is exhausting, though. Like, I spent the majority of my adolescent, young adult and adult life trying not to get pregnant, and here I am, working my ass off to spawn another human being. Life is weird.
"My Period Used To Give Me A Sense Of Relief"
I think back on the days (and trust me, I don't have to think very far) when getting my period was a huge relief. Even after my son was born and for well over the first year of his life, I would be relieved when I got my period because I knew I wasn't ready for another kid. Now that I am, and now that I'm having difficulty conceiving, I almost feel guilty for ever feeling grateful for having my period. I know that isn't rational, but it doesn't make my feelings any less valid.
"At Least I Can Eat Sushi Tonight!"
I'm all about the silver linings these days.
"Now, Were Is That Heating Pad?"
I have endometriosis, which makes my periods extremely painful. I can't (or, well, I don't feel like I can) survive without some pain medication, my heating pad and a steady stream of old The Office episodes. Getting my period might not be what I want right now, at this moment in my life and as I attempt to have another baby, but since I am getting it anyway, I might as well pamper myself and take care of myself and give myself time to rest. Eventually that second baby will come, and the time to do all of the aforementioned will be minimal.