Originally posted on May 10, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)
Jinxes? Karma? Curses? All sounds more like the start of a plot for my newest novel than a TTC (trying to conceive) problem. Alas, this is nonfiction.
Recently, I was chatting online on the Single Mothers By Choice discussion boards with other women trying to conceive, and the topic of “jinxing” one’s chances of becoming pregnant came up. One brave soul admitted her fears, and suddenly we were all confessing our own worries that saying, doing, or even thinking the wrong thing might cause the cosmos to curse us with another NTT (Not This Time). Here we are, a group of educated women who all know how the biology of conception works, as terrified of our own thoughts as we were of Bloody Mary appearing in the bathroom mirror at middle school sleepovers.
I’ve given in to more than a few of these fears myself. I wouldn’t order more than two vials of sperm at a time, even when I knew I’d likely have to start the process of choosing a donor all over because of my decision. It felt like I was planning for failure, and I didn’t want such negative thoughts to jinx my chances. Then there’s my Pinterest board with articles on pregnancy and baby gear that I’ve kept secret (until now), because I didn’t want to be counting my chickens before my eggs got fertilized. I worried overly positive thoughts might tip the scales of karma against me, too.
Well, what is it that’s bad for the baby-making juju? Positive thoughts? Or negative thoughts?
All of it. And none of it.
It’s all harmful in the sense it can make you crazy; you can drive yourself nutty with all the dos and don’ts. Remember in that early post when I wrote about how I was doing all this to share the joy I find in life with a little one? At times, this journey can make you forget that reason, that joy. You can easily get so caught up in the end goal, that you let the journey fly by without taking a moment to enjoy the life that’s happening in between. I find myself wishing away whole weeks to get to the next step. At the same time, living in the moment can be a killer, too. It’s exceptionally difficult to find a balance between focusing enough energy to eat well, exercise right, and reduce stress, and focusing so much time and energy that it becomes a time-sucking obsession.
But the process of trying to conceive has also reminded me how blessed I am and how blessed any baby I bring into the world will be. (See there, I said it, with no fear of jinxing anything!) So many people have shared with me their best wishes, prayers, and positive energy. My best friends have donned funny socks on the days of my IUIs in hopes that more socks equals more luck. Are good luck charms and positive energy any less scientific than jinxes, or any less crazy for that matter? Nope. Yet those types of ‘superstitions’ aren’t harmful; they’re the buoys that keep me swimming and smiling when I might otherwise feel like I’m drowning.
So if believing in the magic of positive thoughts and funny socks means I also need to occasionally throw some salt over my ovaries, I’ll do it. I’ll try not to take any of it too seriously, especially the foolish fears. But I can’t dismiss it all either—there is power in footwear, any woman can tell you that.
And if people think I’m nuts, so be it. Writers are supposed to be a bit loony. I just keep telling myself this is all great fodder for my next novel. The question is will it be a sweet chick lit book or a murder mystery? (You never know what a character on artificial hormones might do!)
In the meantime, cross your fingers for me, okay? Hey, it can’t hurt!