Before we started trying to conceive, I thought the hardest part was making the decision to expand our family. I sat thinking for hours about the logistics of having two children, how expensive it was going to be living in a major city, and the fact that we would probably have to move for them to have enough space to play and sleep.
When the decision was made that we could do this, we could totally welcome another child into our current life situation, I was excited because from now on it was all fun—or so I thought.
The thing I was not prepared for was how to handle the anxiety that accompanies trying to conceive. It hit me especially hard because our first pregnancy was not planned. I kind of felt off, took a pregnancy test, it was blazing positive and nine months later we welcomed our baby boy. It had been so easy the first time around that I was sure it was going to be easy this time around.
It hasn't been easy at all.
I've had one missed miscarriage that required surgery to prevent major infection, waiting for my period to return and then monitoring and trying and monitoring again. And even though I have an extremely supportive husband who has reassured me multiple times through this journey and reminds me that we are in no rush, I still feel so alone.
Because this is the thing: It's all very one-sided.
I'm the one tracking my period and taking notes on an app about when it starts and how heavy my flow is.
I'm the one taking my temperature every morning at the same time and recording it on a different app that then charts my basal body temperature to understand my cycle better.
I'm the one who (based on what those apps tell me) pees on ovulation prediction kits to see if, in fact, my body is about to ovulate or not, and then add those results to yet another app (yes, we are on three apps in case you weren't counting).
I'm the one who checks my cervical mucus, inspecting it so closely you could confuse me with a scientist working on a world-changing project. Alas, it's just me trying to figure out if my body is doing what it's supposed to on cycle day 15 because I don't fully trust everything mentioned above.
I'm one making sure we have sex during my fertile window, and that we hit all the important days. This is the part of the process my husband is most excited about, but I honestly don't think he knows how much work I've done to get us there.
It's not always easy, we both travel a lot and sometimes we totally miss our window to do it, which then turns sex into such a scheduled chore and not the fun thing it should be.
Then it's the waiting—that dreaded two-week wait where I try not to assume that everything I feel is a sign of pregnancy. Trying to avoid calculating when the due date would be if this time around it did happen and failing at it.
I've tried to get better at this, but in previous cycles, I was peeing on pregnancy tests as early as nine days post ovulation without telling anyone in hopes that I could surprise my family with a positive result. This meant tons of hidden tests and trash cans filled with negative ones.
And then managing the hormonal rollercoaster of yet another failed cycle with lots of ice cream and trash television. Let's not forget having to smile and try not to cry every time someone asks you when we'll be giving our son a little sibling to play with.
It's all so isolating and it makes me feel like I'm constantly hiding something from someone.
Sometimes this all makes me question if I want to keep trying.
We already have a healthy adorable son so why keep doing this to my mental health? I wonder if I just let go and stop tracking every single change in my body throughout the 28 days my cycle lasts if it'll make me feel better. Or will I be subconsciously still doing it because it's already such a part of my day?
If you are out there trying to conceive—whether for the first time or the fourth—know that you are not alone and I 110% know how lonely you are feeling.
For me, having all this information about my body has been two-fold: I love being so connected with myself and knowing what to expect as the days go by, but some days it turns into the only thing I can think about.
So I suggest we all pause, take a big breath and thank both our bodies and our minds for doing all this work. And, hopefully, we'll get those two pink lines soon.