When you're trying to conceive (TTC) it can feel like your life revolves around ovulation cycles, pregnancy tests, and scheduled sex. All day, every day, you mark menstrual cycles and plan doctor visits and discuss implantation chances. It's all you think about and, likely, all you talk about. Before you know it, your relationship starts to feel like a chore instead of a choice. Honestly, there were some TTC moments that almost broke my relationship with my partner, because I was so consumed with wanting a baby that I completely forgot about us.
After the birth of my first child, who just so happened to be the result of an unplanned pregnancy, I thought having another baby would be easy. It never occurred to me that I'd have to "work" to get pregnant, or that I'd be put through an emotional hell the likes of which I'd never experienced. But getting pregnant again proved to be more than difficult, and it took a toll on nearly every single aspect of my life.
Eventually all the appointments and all the unforeseen frustrations and all the pressure became too much. There was a period of time when my relationship tanked and I wasn't sure my partner and I would recover. Then I miscarried, and while I didn't realize it at the time, the loss actually brought my partner and I back together. It forced us both to take a step back from trying to have a baby and, instead, re-focus on strengthening our relationship. It wasn't easy, to be sure, but we made it through. So with that in mind — and because if anyone can learn from the rollercoaster ride we endured, it'll be worth it — here are some of the moments that nearly ended everything we built.
When I Kept Getting My Period
Every time I got my period it was like starting a new cycle of disappointment all over again. It felt as though my body was hellbent on betraying me every 3-4 weeks. It was a constant reminder the second baby I wanted so badly was that much further out of reach, and I really had no one to take those feelings out on except my partner. Wanting a baby veiled all the good things we had going for us. Instead, all I could think about was my period and what that represented, especially when I looked into our daughter's eyes and envisioned a sibling for her to play with and love and grow with. I promised her a friend for life, and every period felt like I was going back on that promise.
My partner tried to be as supportive as possible, but as a cisgender man he couldn't understand what this physically, mentally, and emotionally felt like. It was a strain on my mental health and, in turn, on our relationship.
When We Realized The Romance Was Dead
For us, trying to conceive meant date nights and sex were usually scheduled. And even if we had sex on a day we didn't discuss beforehand, it all felt robotic. The sole goal for every sexual interaction was to, hopefully, get me pregnant. There was no romance, no intimacy, just a goal in mind and two people doing what was necessary to, at the end of the day, reach that goal. It's no wonder trying to get pregnant almost broke us in two.
Thankfully, I realized I couldn't let this unfulfilled need come between us again. Yes, having sex was a vital part of having another child, but it was also an important part of our continued intimacy and relationship. I had to redefine what sex meant for us, again, and when I did, we were able to find ourselves as both individuals and a couple.
When The Doctor Gave Me More Instructions
I had an amazing OB-GYN. He and his team took great care of me, and it was obvious they were dedicated to making sure I took all the proactive measures possible when trying to conceive. Sometimes, however, his endless lists of instructions, or things to do to help fertility, frustrated my partner. Honestly, I can't blame him.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have tried harder to find a way to follow my doctor's orders and remain on the same page as my partner. I'm sure he felt out-of-the-loop and, in some way, like he was just a cog in a wheel that was going to turn with or without him.
When We Considered Fertility Treatment
Eventually, my partner and I found ourselves face-to-face with the possibility of fertility treatments. I'd miscarried already and it had been almost two years of trying at this point, so I figured my partner was on board. What I didn't know, however, was that he was tired. For two years he did everything I asked him to do, had watched me stress out and crumble after each pregnancy loss, and, as a result, he just wasn't quite ready to go the IVF route. Not only is it expensive, but we already had a child who needed us. So, in the end, IVF wasn't fair to my partner or my daughter.
Still, I wanted another baby. I wanted another sibling for my child. I wanted what I had promised my family, and if IVF was what it was going to take, I was all in. My partner wasn't, though, and this rift nearly ended our relationship.
When I Miscarried
While I'm sorry the miscarriage happened, and was devastated by the pregnancy loss, I also know it was actually a turning point in our relationship. My relationship was so frail it could've snapped at any moment, but my pregnancy loss tore down every wall my partner and I had built during this long, exhausting process. It brought us back together so we could repair the hurt, focus on our family, and make a plan for the future — together.
That was over seven years ago and, since then, I have had another baby. Turns out, when the time was right and our relationship stronger than ever before, we were able to complete our family of four.
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