There are so many things I wish I knew before trying to get pregnant.
I wish I knew that pregnancy symptoms don’t show up immediately once you start trying. It’s embarrassing how many times I thought I was pregnant for absolutely no reason.
I wish I knew that just because my husband and I ate super healthy and exercised on a regular basis, that doesn’t give you an easy path to pregnancy. We’re a drink-green-juices, go-for-runs-together type of couple — we thought we were in the clear.
I wish I knew that bicycling my legs in the air for 20 minutes after sex wasn’t going to increase my chances. Hey, maybe that was a good ab workout at least?
I wish I knew that getting pregnant can be the hardest part of a parenting journey. I wish I knew that 1 in 8 couples struggle to get pregnant. I wish someone warned me that infertility is a thing, and it could be our thing.
On February 14, 2016, my husband and I found out that we were among those 1 in every 8 couples. We had been trying for 9 months. If you’ve ever lived your life based on scheduling sex, taking your basal body temperature, and peeing on ovulation sticks only to result in peeing on failed pregnancy test after failed pregnancy test, 9 months is an eternity.
I was sick of hearing, “Give it a year — that’s how long it can take!” because I knew my instincts were smarter than any guidelines. I knew something wasn’t right.
On Valentine’s Day, we received the news that we had infertility issues. Our hearts stopped. Our life plan — the one that we had nailed so perfectly up until this point — came crashing down.
All we wanted to do was fit the “have a baby” chapter into our book. Little did we know it was about to become its own novel, because infertility was a long battle we weren’t prepared to fight.
The first time you hear the word infertility, you can’t help but think, no way, not me, not us. That’s not possible. There’s denial, but then the pain of acknowledging the reality hits you so hard it takes your breath away. Each month that passes without your dream being fulfilled is another weight added to your shoulders. And that weight of the wait is unbearable.
We also weren’t prepared for infertility to be a second full-time job. We had to fight through hundreds of doctors’ appointments, surgeries, heartbreaks, and shot after shot hoping that the added IVF hormones, the weight gain, the physical and mental exhaustion from all of it would result in a baby one day.
We felt alone, isolated, and ashamed because why did it seem like everyone else around us was getting pregnant so easily? Were we the only couple in the world going through this?
The good and bad of it: We weren’t the only ones. There’s a village out there, and they’re all in the same boat, but we’re meant to believe we should stay silent because it isn’t a fuzzy, feel-good story.
The journey is hard enough, so staying silent shouldn’t be part of the game plan. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, Healthline Parenthood knows you need more support to feel less alone. Our goal is to change the conversation around infertility so people feel empowered to share their story, not ashamed.
This is why we created The Real First Trymester because, for some of us, trying to get pregnant is the hardest trimester of all.
These articles are meant to connect with you, to support you, and to help you feel like you’re part of a village. You’ll hear advice and encouragement from someone who has been there in this letter to her younger self, how infertility doesn’t need to be a secret anymore, and the story of a woman whose cycle was canceled the day before she was supposed to start because of COVID-19. You’ll get logistical support if you’re wondering what IVF entails, how long after IUI you can test, and what type of yoga is good for your fertility.
The infertility journey is the furthest thing from a solo ride, so we hope these articles will encourage you to share your story, whether it’s on Instagram or out to dinner with co-workers. Open your heart up to the fact that whatever you share, even if it’s just one small detail, could help someone else, and in turn can help you find your village.
My own infertility journey taught me so much about who we are as a couple, who I am as a person, and who we are now as parents. As I sit here writing this, listening to my now almost 2-year-old bang pots and pans as drums, I think about all the things I wish I knew then. If you’re going through something similar, these will be lessons you’ll pick up along the way too.
Your strength will surprise you. There are only 1 in 8 people who go through this because I’m convinced it takes a special person or the strongest couples to be able to wake up every morning and face infertility in the eyes.
The journey is long. It’s filled with heartache. But if you keep your eye on the prize, and your heart open to the many possibilities of bringing a child into this world and into your family, you can let a little bit of your ground go.
As a couple, our struggle only brought us closer. It made us stronger parents because even when there are days with a toddler that are tough, we never take a single one for granted. Also, when we were going through infertility hell, we spent those 3 years traveling to see the world, see our friends, and be with our family. I will forever be grateful for that extra time we had — just the two of us.
Today is a unique time to be struggling with infertility. My heart hurts for those whose fertility treatments have been canceled indefinitely due to coronavirus. But there’s something I found to be trending on all the infertility Instagram accounts I follow, and that is: Hope is not canceled.
And this goes for anyone who is trying for a baby right now. Even though there may be a delay in making your dreams come true, don’t give up hope. Whenever we received bad news from the doctor — which was more often than not — a part of me crumbled, and it was hard to keep going, but we did, because we never gave up on hope. If that feels easier said than done right now, we understand. We hope Healthline Parenthood can be your village right now and remind you that hope isn’t canceled.
Editorial Director, Parenthood