Here's What Getting Pregnant Naturally *Really* Means, According To An Expert

Oh, just relax, it will happen. Why are you obsessing? The second you stop ‘actually trying’ you’ll get pregnant. Just calm down and let it happen naturally. Why are you taking ovulation tests, charting your cycle, and checking your cervical mucus? I just had sex, that’s all you should have to do. It’s not that hard to get pregnant. These are things many women (including myself) who are having a hard time trying to conceive (TTC) hear all the time. “Calm down and let it happen naturally.” OK, that’s great, but what does getting pregnant naturally even mean? And what if it’s not that simple for you?

In this modern day and age, there are many, many ways to get pregnant. But here's the thing — if you ask almost anybody what trying to get pregnant "naturally" means, they'll have the same answer — having sex and getting pregnant. It's why people ask things like, "Did Beyoncé get pregnant with the twins naturally?" Despite the fact that there’s artificial insemination, using donated eggs, IVF, the Natural Family Planning Method, getting drunk and forgetting to put on a condom before doing the deed, you name it, society has a pretty skewed view of what it means to get pregnant naturally. But no matter how you are TTC, you do you — there’s no shame in your TTC game. Using any of those methods (or non-methods) doesn’t make your journey to pregnancy any less valid, or conception any less real, whether you’re using science, charting, or doing it “the old fashioned way.”

But for some of us, that idea of "naturally" getting pregnant just isn't possible, no matter how much we want it to be. We have weird (or no) cycles and ovulate early, or late — or not at all — and we just want to get pregnant, d*mn it. It’s not “so easy” for some, and it’s important to remember that before telling someone to relax and they'll “get pregnant naturally.”

It especially hurts when you wish that having sex when you wanted to was all it took, as you see all of your friends and family members get pregnant (what seems like) so effortlessly, or even accidentally. This is also happening while you pee on an ovulation test for the millionth time, or check your cervical mucus yet again, and continue to schedule the days you have sex with your partner, only to wipe and see blood on the toilet paper, knowing you’ve started your period. Again.

Now that diseases like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are becoming more readily recognized by OB-GYNs, women are becoming more aware of their fertility and their issues, and learning how to take charge and take control of their bodies to get what they want, whether it’s getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy. There is a method to their madness, and they aren't doing all the tracking and "extra" because it's fun, or they are obsessive — sometimes it's necessary.

And there's nothing "unnatural" about it.

According to natural infertility expert and women’s health acupuncturist Kristin Burris, L.Ac, she agrees that a lot of women experience shame when their friends and family inadvertently blame them for struggling to get pregnant. "You’d be surprised at the horrifying comments women are burdened by, like Just relax. Your stress over this not getting pregnant thing is only hurting your chances of getting pregnant. They often hear 'you should' statements that sear into their fragile hearts, further impounding their guilt, assuming, somehow, their infertility is their fault," she tells Romper in an email interview. Other phrases that are often said include You should try yoga or meditation or not thinking about getting pregnant so much, or else you’ll ruin your chances of having a baby, Burris adds.

Burris suggested ways you can be supportive to a loved one who is struggling with fertility and TTC, like offering to drive her to appointments, listening as often as you can when she needs to vent, cry, or get angry, asking if you can do some research for her on ways to get pregnant, or even dropping off dinner out of nowhere and telling her she can always talk to you about her fears any time. "Drop her a quick note letting her know you are thinking of her during this incredibly difficult time. Infertility is never anyone’s fault and stressing about it is natural and usually inevitable. It has been proven to be as stressful as a terminal illness diagnosis and needs to be respected, nurtured, and empathized. A little empathy goes a long way for your friend trying to conceive," she says.

Ladies, you can try to get pregnant any d*mn way you choose. Getting pregnant "naturally" should mean whatever you want it to mean. Don’t let anyone else make you feel silly for taking control and doing what you think is right for your body and your life. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always happen "naturally" for some women. I know you're sick of feeling like everyone else but you can get pregnant. I know you're tired of scrolling through Facebook and seeing baby announcements one after another and seeing pictures of your friends' adorable babies — perhaps even from those same people who said to let pregnancy happen "naturally." Just know you’re not alone, and I (and many other women) are raging right there with you.