Thursday, January 7, 2016

Our TTC journey

2015 was filled with a lot of highs, lows, achievements and milestones. We traveled a lot, I worked hard on my health, my daughter started preschool, my blog became bigger and better, I started writing my book, and husband-ji finally got his Canadian citizenship.

A year ago, I posted about my New Year's resolutions, except I kept a few things to myself because I didn't want to talk about it on my blog. One was to have a baby in 2015, which obviously didn't happen. My main priority was expanding our family, and since Maya started preschool I felt it was the perfect opportunity. I was so ready for it - mentally and emotionally. 2015 was hard for me because this didn't happen. Trying to conceive a second child turned from exciting to stressful quickly, and it filled me with a lot of dread every month as I waited to hear about if I was pregnant or not. My life basically stopped for 2 weeks out of the month as I waited for each month's result. It was excruciating. Times twelve.

I felt so alone. I literally had no one to turn to. Husband-ji didn't understand it at all, and thus I felt so disconnected from him in a time where we needed to be in sync to conceive. Husband-ji's mantra of "it will happen when it happens" only seemed to frustrate me. My mum didn't understand because she only had one child and never felt the need for another. My SIL gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, 9 months after the day that WE started trying, and I couldn't even phone her to congratulate her because it intensified my empty womb. It got so bad that I couldn't even see a picture of a newborn baby without tearing up myself. Seeing siblings together is really hard too. I hardly phoned my dear MIL for 3 months while she was helping my SIL because it made me feel so emotional hearing the baby in the background. I was so ashamed I felt this way. I felt like a shitty person. The minute I revealed to anyone that I was having trouble trying to conceive, people would give me asinine tips like "eat less tofu" or "eat more Brussels Sprouts" as if that was the magic way to get pregnant. As if I was an idiot, and I wasn't doing absolutely everything in my power to conceive. 

In reality, there is no explanation as to why some people get pregnant and others don't. Conceiving a child is a pure miracle. Sure, you can "try", but it's not even in our hands. I researched every method known to man about natural ways to promote fertility, like acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, fertility yoga, fertility foods, visualization, night I even spent TWO hours researching exactly what essential oils can promote fertility. I read every book on fertility. The more time that went by, the more conception consumed every ounce of my being. I suffered in silence. I spent many nights crying, and not understanding why it wasn't happening if I wanted it so very badly. And then I felt ashamed. And then I felt like a failure. It was a vicious cycle.

It was the worst when random strangers would ask me if I was pregnant, when is my due date, if I was "thinking about baby #2", or ask if I "only" have one child. The one that takes the cake is when people say, "you should think about having another, don't wait too long". That made me really want to punch people in the face. But of course, I had to smile sweetly and act ambivalent, then go and find a corner to cry in privately.

[Note: PLEASE do not ask women about their family planning. For the people who have been trying to conceive, this can be very hurtful and intrusive. If women want to talk about it, they will! But please, in the meantime, mind your own damn business!!!]

I tried to keep myself busy - but in a good way of course. Anything to keep my mind off of conception, only it was somehow always on my mind. I focused on my health. I took care of myself. I took the whole Summer off work and writing. I made it my job to relax in any way possible. And it still didn't happen.

I had this picture in my head of having a second child by the time that my daughter turned 3.5 years old.  And now she has passed 3.5 years old and I'm mourning the loss of that dream. I can see it so clearly in my head. I can see my belly growing. I can see Maya touching my belly and me explaining it to her. I can see myself giving birth again. I can see Maya holding her sibling. I can see Maya being a big sister through the years. I know in my soul that it will happen, I only just wish it would have already happened.

I am only 30 years old, I thought. I should be able to get pregnant quickly. We conceived Maya easily and she was healthy. I am fertile. Why is this NOT happening? Why, why, why?

This not-knowing affected my life in a lot of little ways. For example, over the Summer I wanted to take my daughter to the fairground, but then I thought I could be pregnant and pregnant people shouldn't go on roller coasters. So I rescheduled it so that I went before ovulation. I refused celebratory glasses of champagne at family parties, or even alla vodka pasta sauce. If I had a headache, I only took medicine that was safe for pregnant women, just in case. I only exercised before ovulation, just in case. When I was pregnant with Maya, I had no idea until I was 8 weeks along, so this made me very paranoid and cautious all the time. (Read: no fun...) My life was in limbo. Just waiting.

I feel like I wasted nearly the entire year being freaked out about not getting pregnant, rather than just enjoying the moment. Every happy moment we had was shadowed by the dark cloud of my worry. You wouldn't know it just by looking at us that this was something we were quietly dealing with. In some of my pictures, I even looked pregnant and I used to wonder that myself. I don't want to live like that any more - walking on eggshells with myself. Yes, we're trying the best we can - and really, that's all we can do. I don't want it to stop me from enjoying my life and counting my blessings.

Coming into the new year, I really want to focus on what I do have - a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and keeping busy with my personal projects. I don't want to spend so much time focusing on what I don't have - a second child - even though I would give my left leg for it. Thinking about it all day only makes me feel empty and very depressed. Last year, I lost confidence in myself as a woman because of this. Instead, I want to celebrate the abundance we have in our life, and hopefully that will attract more. Let go, and let God.

But, more than anything, I feel hopeful, and I guess that's the best place to start over...



  1. I had same issues as you when trying for 1 st child . I had lots of social pressure. We tried for 3 years . social pressure was too much for me as I had crossed 30 .
    It bothered me a lot when people were talking as if we were not trying at all . finally I decided to stop worrying and started thinking that I would enjoy life without baby .
    I felt very happy after deciding like that and same month I conceived . so I guess there should be zero stress when we try . we should actually enjoy than worrying and things will happen automatically

  2. Oh Alex , I can relate to what you're saying having gone through something similar in my life . Thankfully I did conceive after i stopped stressing about it and stressing my husband too ..... so I think your mantra of focussing on the positives is great .
    There is a saying that it is good if everything happens as we plan it and if it doesnt then it is even better because then it is God's plan ! So have faith and enjoy your beautiful life with your lovely daughter and hubby . All the best and am sure all your readers will be praying for you ! Ana

  3. You write so well. you have written every single feeling of those times. Reminded me of my 6 months of trying first time. I was already approaching 30, overweight. And I blamed everyone cause no-one pressurized us about having kids, so I totally lost focus on this task while being busy with other things.
    You have taken the right decision. Take the pressure off and live well. Things will happen when it will.

  4. I know what you are going through to a certain extent. We have 5 years between our kids and was trying for second once we the first crossed 2 years of age due to medical reasons. I had the same resolutions for years before being successful and know how stressful it can be. The year I decd, if it happens, great, else we will enjoy being the parents of 1 kid, somehow it happened.
    We had additional pressure from my eldest that all r friends have sibling so she need one too. We finally got referred to fertility specialist and the day of the appointment, he said he thinks we are already pregnant, which turned out to be true. So life does give surprises when least expected but does not go according to our planning.
    Wishing you and family the very best for the future

  5. I know the feeling to a vast extent. While I have no plans to have a second child, my daughter wasn't my first baby. I miscarried the first one at 8 weeks and this was devastating. I could not be around anything baby related for months. When my cousin gave birth to her daughter a month before I was originally due, the first feeling I had was anger. Of course I was happy for her, but I was angry with the entire universe for having robbed me of that joy. I also was angry because TTC after the miscarriage has been hell. My cycles stayed messed up for months, and like you I was obcessing about getting pregnant.
    Then for some reason the news of my best friend being pregnant filled me with joy (when 2 months before I was angry and jealous about my cousin). With my best friend's new, I knew she had been trying for longer than me, had odd cycles, and that this pregnancy happened to her when she least expected it.
    This caused me to just decide that my time would come when it would come. I stopped obcessing about it, stopped resenting, stopped grieving, and basically stopped stressing out. Guess what happened? Yup, a few weeks later I was pregnant with my daughter!

    Stress can have a very very very big impact on fertility. So your approach for 2016 is a very good one.

    1. So sorry to hear that, Cynthia. Love, Pad.

  6. Hugs to you.
    I went through a bit of everything (postnatal lost, ttc issues), and it was the hardest period in my marriage. I know what yo mean about putting EVERYTHNG on the backburner, just in case. I now have 2 Rainbow babies (1 clomid baby). Looking back it seemed so simple, but I do remember the pain & the thousands of dollars spent on treatments, and the stress of it.
    Please continue to focus on the positives. Hope to hear good news soon.

  7. Hugs to you. I really do not have any advice for this except something you are already doing - let go. The more pressure you put on it, the more our goal seems running away from you. I experience it too for other stuff.

    Husband ji has a point - it will happen when it does, though one does want to smack the person at the moment they say stuff like that though it is true :)

  8. I am so glad you posted this. When you see the statistics of women who have struggled with fertility and struggled with miscarriage and loss its obvious that most women experience these things at some point but we don't talk about it! we all suffer in silence. We have no one to talk to at a time when we so desperately need to talk to someone. I tried for a year before I got pregnant with my first and I shed so many tears I lost track. In the end I couldn't handle my stressful job and the stress of TTC. Luckily we were in a position that I could quit my job and just focus on my health. I could tell the stress was affecting my fertility because my cycles were irregular. It still didn't happen straight away but my cycles became more and more regular and then it happened. You can't just 'stop stressing' about TTC but you can focus on staying busy with things that make you happy and relaxed and find a professional to talk to. Men just don't get it!

  9. Hi Alexandra,

    It's very courageous of you to share your struggles with trying to conceive in the past year. I know this can be a very sensitive issue to talk about. I could actually relate to many things you wrote about with the emotions you felt. I actually felt the same a few years back when I was ready to start a family before my husband. I remember how hurtful it was at the time. I couldn't even be happy for those around me who were pregnant. However, now I'm in a totally different situation now as we now have a 19 month old son and I've been dragging my feet on trying for baby #2 while my husband is ready to go for it (I had a traumatic labor, delivery, and rough postpartum recovery). I know you have probably tried everything to help your efforts, but one thing nobody has mentioned in the comments is to evaluate whether you might need to lose any weight to be at a healthy weight for your height and frame before TTC. I hope I don't offend you or anyone as I am only going off of the health research and articles that are out there. I know when I conceived my son I worked to get my weight to what was considered medically healthy for my height and frame and I also cut back on caffeine, ate healthy, etc. I conceived him after 2 months of actively trying. Keep in mind I have been dealing with hormonal problems for years that could affect my fertility (endometriosis and Polycystic ovarian syndrome). By the way, I think you are beautiful! However, I'm just trying to provide constructive advice. Please stay hopeful and take care of yourself. When we pray to God, he answers prayers in 3 ways: "yes", "not now", and "I have something better in mind".

    Best wishes!

  10. I'm sorry you went through so much stress, Alexandra. As you have done a lot of research, I'm sure you know at your age, trying to conceive often takes 2 years. You are young, you have plenty of time. And there is no ideal age gap between siblings, really. Maybe you could do some research about your family's story, sometimes family secrets express themselves in strange ways, a little counseling may help.

    By the way, I'm really excited to hear about your book !

    Love. - Pad

  11. I can't believe I am reading this, because I have been doing THE SAME THING for about 2 years now. I'm TTC my first baby and I have had 3 miscarry and the last one put in the hospital because it was a tube pregnancy. You are right, and husband ji is have to work at it AND it will happen when it is time....that is my mantra....the universe is in charge and it's been a great lesson for me because it really helped me to learn patience. I am still looking forward to it when it does happen, but yes, like you said you have to start LIVING as your are NOW, not how you are dreaming for yourself to be in the future. I really understand what you are going through, sister you are not alone. I am with you <3 Jai Siya Ram, Suzanne

  12. Alexandra, hang in there and hugs.


  13. Best wishes. Thank you for sharing so much of your journey with us, I wish you and your family all the best during this difficult time.

  14. "I couldn't even phone her to congratulate her because it intensified my empty womb"
    I totally get you! The first time my cousin conceived I felt so empty and sad and mad at everything that things were happening to her and not me. But somehow I got myself to even visit her. And now she has conceived a second one with a gap of just 15 months! I was so mad and tears of frustration and anger began to spill at the very thought of it. I thought this time I'm not gonna fake any kind of behavior because I know what I'm going through. It's alright if nobody understands me.

    1. I have been on the receiving end of such behaviour dictated by mad jealousy. It always amazes me.


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