You’ve been trying to conceive for months or even years – and it feels like forever. How do you cope when it’s taking too long to get pregnant? First, know that you are not alone. The most surprising thing about even thinking about not getting pregnant and possible infertility is how hard it is for many people. One study from Harvard Medical School found that women with infertility had levels of emotional distress equal to patients with cancer or heart disease.
Infertility is particularly difficult for women. Women tend to invest a much larger part of themselves into creating a family. When you’re denied that opportunity, you’re shut off from a large part of the female community. Your friends move on with their lives. You feel as if you’re sitting on the sidelines watching families and life. But you aren’t sitting alone – I wrote this article for a reader who is struggling to deal with how long it’s taking her to conceive a baby.
“I’m almost 21, and my fiancé and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost 2.5 years,” says Shannon on Why Can’t You Get Pregnant? “We’ve both been checked to see if everything is in working order, and it is. It’s frustrating! I’m at the point of giving up trying to get pregnant, but I don’t. I guess I just need a little guidance, to maybe hear other people’s suggestions so we can have a lil one of our own.”
My husband and I stopped trying to get pregnant because it’s not medically possible for us to conceive a baby as a couple (my husband has azoospermia, which means his body doesn’t produce sperm. A woman can’t get pregnant without sperm!). We tried to get pregnant for over a year. When we felt like it was taking too long, we took fertility tests to find the problem. It was shocking to discover that male infertility was the problem but it was also good to know the cause of our inability to conceive. Azoospermia isn’t good news, but at least we knew why it was taking so long to get pregnant.
Do you think male infertility may be an issue for you? Read What to Do When Your Husband Has Azoospermia.
I don’t know what you’ve already tried (ovulation predictor kits? losing weight? fertility yoga? in vitro fertilization?). So I’ll list a few different tips for making a baby. It’s good to remember to get specific, personal medical advice on getting pregnant. Your body is unique, and your reasons for not conceiving need to be specifically addressed.
6 Ways to Stay Positive When You’re Not Getting Pregnant
You won’t find exact answers about why it’s taking so long to get pregnant online. It’s also often difficult and confusing to find specific answers in person, too. Even gynecologists and fertility doctors don’t always know why some women don’t conceive immediately. It’s not always a discernible health issue, such as azoospermia in men or endometriosis in women. Some couples simply take a long time to conceive.
Also, remember that your husband may be feeling frustrated and disappointed, too. “Men get depressed about infertility, too,” says Jason on How to Overcome Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant. “My wife and I are having a hard time getting pregnant, and we’re not getting any younger. Both of us were in our 30′s when we married. So, the clock is ticking.” He says that his heartache that it’s taking so long to get pregnant comes and goes in waves. “I’m grieving the loss of never being able to participate in the creation of life,” he says. “I’m grieving the loss of passing on the family name…I am the only son of six children. I’m grieving the loss of many, many things that comes with bringing your own biological children into this world.”
1. Prepare to accept that some fertility issues are hard (or impossible) to detect
Fertility doctors and general practitioners make mistakes, overlook possible reasons it’s taking so long to get pregnant, and fail to see the obvious. Doctors, like us, have brains that can only hold so much information and they only have so much time to learn about all the new pregnancy and fertility research. Further, they’re affected by their own lives, health, and problems. This is why it’s so important to get a second opinion, and to get multiple health tests done!
2. Expect your health to change fairly quickly
A individual’s health changes daily, weekly, and monthly. A woman’s monthly cycle means her body is changing by the hour. Even a man’s health changes often. His body is always creating new sperm; this means he could get tested and have low sperm count and quality one month. A month or two later his sperm health may be strong and reliable. Different results in different months is normal for both mean and women. So, don’t hesitate to get a second fertility test done a few months after your first one or two.
3. Give your body time to rest
Give your body the rest, care and compassion it needs. You might even consider taking time off – especially if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time. I’m not saying “just relax – you’ll get pregnant when you’re ready” because some of us have felt ready for years! But continuing to purse a difficult goal can be hard on our bodies, minds, and spirits. I encourage you to redirect your energy towards something different for at least three months. Give yourself a rest. Get involved in a project, class, volunteer commitment, home renovation task – anything that you’re interested in, that makes you happy. Round out your interests. Explore other aspects of life. Try to just BE without wanting a baby or trying to conceive.
4. Learn about fertility, conception, and pregnancy
This is a purposefully contradictory tip from the previous suggestion for coping when it’s taking too long to get pregnant. Some women meticulously research infertility and problems conceiving, while others just keep trying to conceive without information. It’s important to balance the two perspectives. It’s also good to remember that different women have different issues when trying to conceive: obesity, endometriosis, prescription medications, smoking, health problems.
The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant by Jean M. Twenge Ph.D. is a good resource on how to get pregnant – especially if you’re tired of being disappointed by negative pregnancy tests every month.
If you haven’t had a gynecological examination lately, book one today. If your husband hasn’t had his sperm tested in the past three months, get it tested now. Different women need different baby making tips, which is why it’s so hard when readers ask me for help! All I can do is offer textbook advice, not personal medical tips.
5. Spend time with women who are happy without children (being “happily childless” is possible!)
“Another reason it’s so heart aching is because it seems that everyone around us who doesn’t want a kid is getting pregnant,” says Shannin. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them, but I’m just frustrated that it’s taking so long to get pregnant.”
If you find it frustrating and sad to be around families, stop spending so much time with them. Even if they’re your relatives or best friends, give yourself permission to honor your feelings and responses to women with children. You may feel immature or even petty, but you are allowed to choose who to spend time with based on how you feel when you’re with them. It’s healthy to identify and set your boundaries, and not have to defend them.
6. Remember the one thing worse than taking a long time to get pregnant
The only thing worse than taking a long time to get pregnant is living in perpetual bitterness, defeat, pain, and heartbreak because you can’t accept reality. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the negativity, disappointment, and self-pity that infertility can bring.
It may be taking a long time to get pregnant but this doesn’t mean you’ll never conceive a baby! Chances are you will eventually get pregnant naturally or with fertility treatments. If you’re open to having a children who aren’t related to you biologically, you can always adopt or foster kids. You might even consider volunteering with children or working with kids who never got the parents they deserved. They know how it feels to yearn for the family they never had.
Are you tracking your ovulation? It’s one of the most important things you can do when you’re trying to conceive. The Combo Pack Ovulation Tests and Pregnancy Tests will help you know when you’re ovulating so you can increase the odds of conception. It’s both handy and optimistic that this combo pack comes with a pregnancy test. 🙂
If you’ve already tried the ovulation predictor kits and you still don’t know why you’re not getting pregnant, a book like Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility will help. It covers many different scenarios and offers different solutions, and has received over 75 positive reviews on Amazon.com.
Another other option, of course, is to get tested by a gynecologist, urologist (for men), and a fertility doctor. Make sure your partner has his sperm tested as well. If it’s taking too long to get pregnant, it could be your guy’s sperm that are slow or even nonexistent (like my husband’s!).
You may also find How to Stop Feeling Hopeless When You’re TTC helpful.