This post was requested by a listener and a long time coming! I love when I get a good request! Trying to conceive can be a hard, frustrating, and a tough journey mentally. It sure was for me! The best thing I did before I got pregnant for the 5th time was manage my mind everyday. I was constantly working to understand the thoughts in my head and note if they were serving me or not. I could only do that by writing them down. It’s like a math problem: it’s just harder to work it out in your head. Not all of these questions may be right for you, but they are a great starting point to train your brain to focus on believing pregnancy is possible over 40. I recommend listening to the Believe Pregnancy is Possible over 40, podcast episode 54 before starting to journal. Many of these prompts have been mentioned throughout my journey, but I wanted to put them all in one place for you.
You can read more about my journey to pregnancy and beyond. TTC stands for Trying to Conceive for those that are new. It took me a minute to get that too when I first jumped headfirst into the online communities. This list is in no particular order.
1. A letter to the donor/surrogate, etc.
Let’s get this one out of the way because I don’t think it’s a good one to start with. I caution with this one because this letter can seem too ‘heavy’. I think it can get too overwhelming too quick. Make sure and keep this one light when you go here.
2. A letter to your future-self as a mother.
What do you want to say to your future self as a mother? Do you want to talk about your struggles and maybe how much stronger you are for it? What things did you overcome to get there?
3. A letter as a future-mother to your current-self as TTC now.
This one is one of my favorites to write about. You are writing as if you are a mother right now and talking to yourself as you are trying to conceive. I call this Dear TTC Jamie, Love Mother Jamie to keep it simple. I love to set the scene as I hold my baby in the nursery and describe what my day is like. What were the amazing moments and what are the challenges you are facing a mother. What advice do you have for your current-self now that your are trying to conceive. What do you want to tell her?
4. A letter to your baby/child.
This one might get too heavy also, so I caution with this one, too. What are the things you would like to say? Describe the challenges you went through and how great it was to give birth and hold he/she in your arms. How much did you want this baby?
5. Why do you want to become a mother?
I listed about 10 reasons why I want to be a mother. It’s an interesting one to explore. I think knowing your why is absolutely important.
6. How do you want to think, feel, and act if you are not pregnant?
I wrote about this question during the two week wait after my first transfer back in July of 2023. Don’t we all have a two week wait even if it’s spontaneous? This one and the next are SO important and the two week wait is a great time to explore these questions. Give this question and the next equal time. It’s really empowering to decide this a head of time.
7. How do you want to think, feel, and act if you ARE pregnant?
I also wrote about this question during the two week wait after my first transfer back in July of 2023. Give this question and the one above equal time. This is a fun one. Enjoy this question. Maybe explore how you want to tell your friends that are TTC that you are pregnant. Describe the emotions and what will you do?
8. List out 25 things you want. 15 should be things you want and HAVE, and 10 should be things you want but do NOT have.
Don’t confuse ‘want’ with what you are ‘grateful’ for. The emotions are different. This exercise will help you want from a place of abundance. We are trained to only want things we don’t have, but that is scarcity. If it feels good to want something, then you are likely wanting from a place of abundance. Like I wanted a husband and I’m married. I want a baby. I want a homestead with chickens. I like to alternate wanting what I have with wanting something I don’t have to alternate the emotion. It helped me want from abundance. See what you come up with.
9. Life is 50% negative and 50% positive. The goal isn’t to be happy all of the time. Explain the 50/50 before and after becoming a mother.
When we first started to have a baby, I wanted a baby quickly. I wanted to be pregnant right now. I thought life would be perfect after I was pregnant and became a mother. But I learned life will NOT be magically perfect when that happens. It will still be 50% negative and 50% positive, just different. Describe what the good and bad look like before and after having a baby. Like what are the challenges you are facing and will face? What are the great things in your life now and what will be the great things when you become a mother?
10. How could you turn the pain you’ve experienced during TTC and turn that into a purpose?
I believe we all experience some negative emotion along our journey and life. What are some ways you could take that emotion and turn it into energy? Like volunteer, helping other women, get a second job, train for a race, etc.? How can you turn the pain into power or energy?
11. Describe what the perfect pregnancy looks and what can you do now?
I thought about this question way before I even started the podcast in 2022. This was, at one point, an idea for a show. After creating this list, I realized it was a list for the perfect life, not just when I was pregnant. Why can’t I have that now? I don’t need to be pregnant to have a fabulous life. And that’s exactly what I started to do. There is no such thing as perfect. That is true, but why not explore what a fabulous pregnancy looks like to you. One of the items on my list says I have an amazing wardrobe… and that’s what I’m working on now.
12. What three emotions do you want to describe your TTC experience? What sentences would create those emotions?
When I thought about this question, I said I want to feel calm, excited and grateful. Because we used donor eggs, I’m so grateful for science! like all the time! I always feel excited, but I struggle being calm. Always! It’s really powerful to decide what you want feel ahead of time. I’m not saying there’s not going to be negative emotions to feel during this time, but it gets your brain trained to think ahead and not feel in the moment. What are sentences that make you feel those emotions?
13. Your TTC experience is happening FOR you, not TO you. What are the happy moments or things that you are grateful for that have happened so far?
This question helps focus on the overall experience and the 50% positive. A baby is the destination, but what are some positive things that have happened along the way? Maybe positive results or a party you enjoyed that you couldn’t have if you were pregnant.
14. A letter to your body.
I have put my body through a lot of things physically during this journey: injections. surgeries. hormones. testing. egg retrieval. And I sure have been really mean to my body: upset that it can’t keep a pregnancy, throwing it shame and hatred when I’m angry I’m not pregnant. Take this time to thank your body and trust that it will be an amazing place for your baby to grow for those nine months.
15. How can I prepare my body and mind for pregnancy?
I read something the other day on Instagram that mentioned how much time we prepare for a wedding but almost no time is spent to prepare for pregnancy. I thought about how I could prepare everyday I wasn’t pregnant during my journey. It gave to time to prepare which calmed me. What can you work on? What goals can you set for yourself in the mean time to prepare your body and mind for pregnancy?
16. You get good at the thoughts you practice. What thoughts do you practice?
Our brain loves to be efficient, so many of our thoughts are just habit thoughts. Just like they were programmed to pop in your mind without effort. These could be positive or negative, but it’s empowering to know yourself and the thoughts you think. What are your go-to thoughts? What are thoughts you think many times a day? My brain loves to think, ‘I don’t have time,’ or ‘just hurry, Jamie.’
17. List five thoughts to believe pregnancy is possible.
These are thoughts that ARE serving you. These are thoughts that you want to think whether you are thinking them now or want to think. List them and practice them. Repeat.
18. You either win or learn. What have you learned so far on your TTC journey?
This isn’t about 20/20 hindsight. How have you grown as a women or maybe as a couple or in other relationships? Mentally, what has improved? What do you want to learn? Have you become more resilient, stronger than you could have imagined? If you can survive this, what can’t you handle?!
19. Just because a thought is true, doesn’t mean you have to think it. What are three thoughts you think are facts that you could change?
We often believe the sentences in our head are true like they are a fact. But they may not be true. The sentences in our mind are ALWAYS optional to think. Which ones are not serving you?
I believed for far too long that I didn’t believe I deserved to be mother. Too far fetched? Well, it took me a very long time to understand what that exact sentence was in my brain. Why wasn’t I completely crushed like other women that I wasn’t a mother yet? Because that’s why I thought I wasn’t pregnant. I asked my brain why I wasn’t pregnant, and that’s the answer it came up. Be careful what you ask your brain, because it will want to come up with an answer. It’s taken hard work to change that sentence but it sure was worth it!
20. 2023 happened just like it was supposed to. What are moments you want to remember during this year?
It really did happen just as it was supposed to. It got you exactly where you are today. Good and bad. Take the time to remember the good moments no matter what they relate to.
*BONUS: What would you say to your best friend who was going through the same thing you are? How would you help her?
Spoiler alert: your best friend is YOU. This is the best way I know how to give yourself grace and patience. How would you help your best friend going through the hard things you are going through?
I hope you have found these questions useful and empowering to help you along your journey. Please leave a comment below which one you found most useful.