Forgiving Myself for My Emotions While Trying to Conceive

Originally posted July 26, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

Why is it when you’re trying not to think too much about something, it’s all you see? When you’re dieting, every commercial is for pizza and ice cream. When you’re dreading back to school, every display in the grocery store is tormenting you with shiny new pencils. And when you’re trying to conceive (TTC), pregnant ladies pop up like dandelions all over the place.

For some women TTC, pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and even events with kids of friends and family can be emotionally gut wrenching. They are reminders of what they so desperately want but haven’t yet been able to achieve. Jealousy isn’t exactly a trait someone strives for, which leads one to feeling guilty and wondering if she’s being selfish. It can turn into a torturous cycle of pain and self-loathing.

Do I know all this from my own TTC experience? Not exactly, but I sure know the feelings described above all too well. I experienced them in my twenties when it seemed every trip to the mailbox brought another invitation to a wedding I’d be attending as a singleton. All I wanted was to be starting a family with the right guy. Instead I was getting a collection of cocktail and bridesmaid dresses I’d never wear again. And I hated it. I didn’t hate that my friends were finding amazing men to marry and be happy with. I loved that part. I genuinely squealed in delight at each engagement announcement. And I was honored to attend, and especially to be a part of my closest friends’ ceremonies (and luckily, they all picked great bridesmaids dresses, too!). But I hated that somewhere in the back of my head, or my heart, I felt jealous and sad. It made me feel like an awful friend, an awful person.

Since then I’ve begun to learn, with the help of a few friends who give great advice on the subject, that no one should feel guilty for their emotions.

If you feel something, there’s a reason you feel that way. It’s not healthy to plaster on a smile and bury it, and it’s even worse to chastise yourself for it. I still might hold something in until I reach the car, turn on the shower, have dinner with a friend, or am on the phone with my mom, but I’m getting to a point where I can be a little more open about how I feel, at least to those closest to me.

So, yes, there are moments when I occasionally feel a pang of jealously or longing when I spend time with my nieces and nephew, or when a coworker announces she’s pregnant, or even walking through the maternity department at Target to get to the dressing rooms—I can’t help it, some of those tops are adorable. But rather than hate myself for feeling something completely normal, I’m learning to acknowledge it, deal with it (shopping therapy, anyone?), and then enjoy the high of sharing in another’s happiness.

And, surprisingly, it’s a lot easier than you think, especially when one of those quickly growing bundles of joy looks at you and says “Aunnie” for the first time. (He’s still working on that ‘t’.)


On a side note, I wanted to thank you all for your concern and support after my last post. Your positive thoughts and prayers did the trick; the cyst was indeed the kind that goes away on its own. I’ll be able to start treatment again next month!

In the meantime, Sarah and Evie have offered me an opportunity to expand my topics here. So while I’m still working on making my little miracle happen, I’ll also be doing a series of posts related to back to school issues. Yes, it will soon be that time!


Photo credit: Milazed

Be Careful What You Wish For

Originally posted July 12, 2015 on Merely Mothers (now Evie & Sarah)

After four failed IUIs, two natural, two medicated, I was ready for something different in my attempts to conceive. I wanted more information. Yes, my fertility tests in December and January all came back great, but clearly something wasn’t working. Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was mid-cycle hormone levels. Maybe I wasn’t producing a mature egg each month. Or maybe I just had bad luck. Whatever it was, I wanted to know—one way or the other. Knowledge is power and all that jazz, right? Surely, I’d feel better knowing.

Surely, I need my head examined.

As I entered my first monitored cycle my anxiety began to rise. I began to worry about cancelled cycles due to overstimulation or crazy hormone levels. As someone whose intuition is frequently spot on, I should have taken this as a sign, but my optimistic side brushed it off. Monitoring was new. New things can be a little scary. Everything would be fine. After all, the mid-cycle blood work and ultrasounds were what I asked for—more knowledge=more power.

So I went into my first monitoring appointment the day after the fourth thinking the previous night’s fireworks were just the start of a summer of celebrations. The appointment, though not particularly pleasant, was rather uneventful. My results later that day left me hopeful. I had one leading follicle that was looking good, a fine lining, and expected estrogen levels—all things I wouldn’t have known without monitoring. Knowing felt good.

Two days later I returned, hoping for a nice mature follicle so I could take my trigger shot and schedule IUI lucky #5 for later that week. Familiar with the routine now, I kept the phone close as I went about the day waiting for the nurse to call with my results, those numbers, that knowledge that would bolster my hope. Or break my heart.

I don’t know how big my leading follicle grew. And I don’t know what my estrogen ended up at. Because when the nurse called to fill me with knowledge, the only words I heard were cyst and cancelled cycle.

The latter was crushing because it meant I wouldn’t even get a chance at motherhood this month and maybe not for a couple months. But the former was far more frightening. I’d been down that road before. The last time I was blindsided by a cyst it left me with a four inch scar and required some pretty significant healing time. And I had been ‘lucky’ then; nothing major had to be removed and there was no lasting internal damage. So, of course, I panicked. Then I did something even more stupid—looking for more of that all-important knowledge, I Googled.

Thankfully, in this case Dr. Google and the girls on my trying to conceive boards actually quelled some of my initial worry. Cysts come in all kinds, shapes, and sizes, and most disappear on their own. Cancelled cycles due to cysts are fairly common, particularly after taking drugs that mess with your hormones as I had done. Very often you can try again the next month. My RE was on vacation, of course, so once the shock wore off, I called back the nurse to beg for a little more information. This time more knowledge was reassuring. She couldn’t tell me too much over the phone but did assure me that although the cyst was on my ovary, it was also much smaller than the one I had in college that required surgery to remove. We scheduled a follow up for later this month with my doctor, and she told me not to worry in the meantime.

Not worrying is about as easy as not stressing, but I’m determined to make the most of this missed month. I won’t know more, can’t know more, until I wait a bit to see what happens to the cyst. While ignorance is not bliss, this month has taught me neither is knowledge. So while I wait, I’ll be doing my best to make my own bliss. After all, there are beaches to be walked, books to be read, and novels to be published (fingers crossed on that one!).

photo credit: Wish via photopin (license)