Membership to the Infertility Club

My period started today.

That makes 12 months in a row of being acutely aware of each time my period begins.

My husband and I have hit the “one-year-of-trying-to-conceive” milestone, which also means we get the consolation prize of getting to join the infertility club.

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (depending on your age, the timeframe for qualifying as “infertile” may differ a bit.)

I never imagined I would be here. With my first child, we got pregnant in the second month of trying. Afterwards I literally said out loud, “I can’t imagine having to try over and over, month after month…”

Maybe I jinxed myself.

It’s weird to hit the point where you’ve been trying to have a baby longer than it actually takes to have a baby.

Around the 10-month mark of trying for a second child, I went to my annual gynecologist appointment. I mentioned that I wanted to start looking into why we weren’t getting pregnant. This meant doing some testing on my husband and I, and coming back in a month to have the doctor review the results.

A month later we found out there was a reason why it wasn’t happening quickly. We also found out it was something that (at this point) we couldn’t really do much about (we have some more follow up appointments, so we will see). Basically we were told we were doing everything right, but that there was an extenuating circumstance that made our chances of conceiving much less.

In some ways this was validating – I had been doing stuff right. The timing of intercourse, the charting of my cycles… I understood how my body worked, and in *most couples, it probably would have meant a pregnancy by now.

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How I Simplified My Parenting

I am a big fan of minimalism. The fascination started out for me mainly in the area of physical possessions. I very much like the look of less stuff. There’s hardly a better feeling to me than decluttering a room and getting rid of unnecessary things. It’s freeing. It makes me feel calmer, less anxious. Marie Kondo is my hero.

But the idea of minimalism and simplicity is about more than physical objects. Every aspect of our lives can be simplified.

To me, simplifying means cutting out the unnecessary and making time for what really matters. So in the case of physical stuff, as Marie would say, only keep things that “bring you joy!” This means you have to actually take time to figure out what exactly brings you joy, and what things are possibly worth giving up. As Ron Weasley would say: you need to sort out your priorities.

I recently decided that my parenting needed an overhaul – a simplification, if you will. I knew there were important things that I wanted to do as a mom, but it seemed like there was never time to do them. It felt more like I was trying to get through each day, rather than enjoying the precious moments with my child that I would never get back.

I’m a full-time working mom, so on the weekdays it really doesn’t leave a lot of real quality time for me to have with my son, Calvin. He’s 4 years old (4 and a HALF, I’m sure he would want me to say.) In the mornings, it’s a race to get all of us ready and loaded up in the car to get to daycare and work on time. In the evenings, it feels like a race to get dinner fixed for everyone, do the dishes (if they get done at all), and maybe have a bit of time to be together before it’s time to start getting Calvin ready for bed.

BEFORE simplifying our parenting…

We let Calvin watch t.v. in the evenings after getting home from daycare. We had previously agreed upon a set amount of t.v. he was allowed to watch (3 episodes), after he cleaned up his room. Well, by the time he cleaned his room and watched all his episodes, lo and behold, it was pretty much time to start the bedtime routine. We had even (I’m embarrassed to say) been letting him eat dinner in front of the t.v. most nights because otherwise there was not enough time for him to get all three episodes in. I felt frustrated – I knew that it was important for us to be eating at the table together as a family, but there just didn’t seem to be enough time.

Plus, there always seemed to be unfinished tasks that needed to be done: the dishes, folding laundry – and letting Calvin watch t.v. was useful in that it allowed my husband and I time to finally get some of those things completed. (At least that’s what we told ourselves.)

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5 Ways I’m Coping While Waiting for Pregnancy

2020 has been a year that has given us so many reminders of how little control we really have in any situation. We like to pretend that we have our lives totally planned out, that we will be able to do what we want to do when we want to do it.

But then, SURPRISE! Life never works out that way.

Over a year ago, I really thought it was the right time to try for child #2. Literally last December I wrote a post about my decision to try to get pregnant again, and the emotional roller coaster that it had been. I never expected a year later that I would still be writing about attempting to get pregnant – and I really hope a year from now I’m not going to be writing about it anymore!

Each time that you see only a single line on a pregnancy test (or your period starts) is obviously disappointing. Some months it hits me really hard, and others I experience only a mild emotional reaction. I’m intentionally trying to make sure I stay in a healthy mental state as I continue to go through this process.

What does that look like for me? Below I’ll share five ways I’m coping with the waiting and monthly disappointment:

1. Pour my energy into areas where I am making definitive progress

Every month that you don’t get pregnant can feel like a failure. Maybe you didn’t get the timing right… maybe if you were eating better or exercising more… or taking this or that vitamin… You need to have areas in your life where you’re feeling successful and can be proud of what you’re accomplishing. I have two things that I am investing in right now: exercising and writing. After my foot surgery, I wasn’t sure if or when I would be able to run again, but I have been slowly working up to running over the past several months. And it has felt wonderful to watch my body make progress and get stronger! My other activity has been writing – writing daily. Writing is something I easily get lost in, and achieve “flow,” as some would call it. I’ve been waking up early to write every day, and have found a lot of joy in being more disciplined with my writing process.

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