When you're trying to conceive, (TTC) it's not unusual to freak out for no apparent reason. You might get angry; you might get tearful; you might start singing Sia's greatest hits at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night. Knowing how to stay sane when trying to conceive is difficult business; as if women didn't have it hard enough?
I'm only sort of kidding, because trying to conceive is both exciting and frightening, as most important things tend to be. That's why it's vital to get out of yourself and see the forest for the trees, or whatever that expression is. My point here is though it might feel like you're alone in your struggles, you're not. If you're coupled, you have your partner who's going through this with you. True, not in the same way, but he or she is a part of this journey. If you're endeavoring this on your own, well, you have your inner circle who loves and cares for you, and wants only the best for you. And according to Parents, more than five million people have problems getting pregnant.
OK, now that I've established you're not alone, you can work on screwing your head on, because before you know it, you just might be holding a positive pregnancy test. In the meantime, peruse the following tips to stay sane while TTC. And if these tips fail, remember that sanity is overrated.
1. Embrace The Anxiety
Psychologist Dr. Alice Boyes told Psychology Today that being anxious about getting pregnant is natural, and that the harder you fight anxiety, the harder it hits. So, rather than fighting your feelings of anxiety, accept and even embrace your nerves, because they're not likely to go away. The last thing you want is for your anxiety to paralyze you.
2. Keep Busy Doing Enjoyable Things
Boyes said in the same article that anxiety reminds you that you're doing something that's important to you: endeavoring to create a life. Although that's one stressful task, it can't consume you, because being overly anxious can turn compulsive, and that's no fun. Be sure to keep your schedule packed with activities that bring you joy, Boyes recommended. Limit reassurance-seeking behaviors and replace them with mindfulness oriented behaviors.
Researcher Ellen Langer, who has been studying mindfulness for over 40 years, told the Harvard Business Review, that mindful activities help you notice new things, and accept change and being fully invested in the present as a beautiful inevitability of life.
3. Do Your Chores
In the same Psychology Today article on how to stay sane while TTC, Boyes said not to underestimate the soothing practice of doing mundane chores. And she's not alone in her theory. Calm Clinic noted that keeping busy alleviates anxiety. If you're anxious about TTC, doing meaningless tasks keeps you from basking in your own thoughts. When you're anxious, your neutral thoughts tend to become negative because that's how anxiety works.
4. Don't Compare Yourself To Others
When you're TTC, it might seem like every woman you see on the street has a huge baby bump. According to Parenting, what's not so visible is all the couples who are trying and not conceiving. My general rule of comparison is there are always people ahead and behind you in line. But also, comparison takes the joy out of life, so why not nix the habit?
5. Have An Answer At The Ready For Inquiring Minds
The same article in Parenting noted that your friends and family who know you're trying to get pregnant will ask you, "Any news yet?" Take a deep breath and acknowledge that they are trying to be present in your life and care about things you care about. Have a stock answer at the ready so you don't have to stress about what to say.
6. Put Yourself First
It's only natural to be a little jealous of friends who are pregnant while you are struggling to become an expectant mom. Don't put yourself through the ringer though. The Bump suggested regretfully declining an invitation to a baby shower if it's going to bum you out. If she's a good friend, she'll understand and wish only the best for you. If, however, you think you can handle it, go and be positive. Remember, as a grown-ass woman, you can leave whenever you feel uncomfortable.
7. Get Your Fertility Tested STAT
Preparedness is the anecdote to anxiety, right? Knowing what you're working with means getting your fertility checked out. According to the American Pregnancy Association fertility testing lets you know your hormone levels, what your egg reserve is, how your thyroid is functioning, and can give you a picture of your overall health. According to The Loop, no matter how stressful getting the test can be, it's important to know the status of your fertility if you want to stay sane while TTC.
You don't need me to tell you that exercise reduces stress, but I'm going to do it anyway. Exercise releases endorphins, according to CNN, so you'll be a lot happier at the end of your gym class than before you went.
And even though you're not exercising to increase your fertility odds, according to Fitness, moderate exercise is correlated with increased fertility. But getting your sweat on can help keep you sane by getting your blood circulating and remembering that your body is awesome in all the cool things it can do.
9. Take A Break
Keeping track of cervical mucous and slight bumps in your body temperature can be exhausting, not to mention, these things can take the fun out of lovemaking. So if you feel yourself super stressed out by the conception process, Natural Fertility Info suggested that you take a temporary break from TTC.