No one has to tell you trying to conceive is a hard journey if you have been on it for any length of time! I’m 42, and my husband and I have been trying to conceive since our wedding night about two and half years ago. My mind has come up with some pretty wild things. Unmanaged, I ask myself questions like, “Am I pregnant?” or “Why can’t I get pregnant?” or “How can I get pregnant?” I absolutely go looking to answer all those questions. I try to answer them by listening to my body for every ache and pain. I question my diet and then shame myself. I franticly google answers. It makes me feel out of control and the cycle continues. Do you do something similar? I think the questions and actions are typical of women trying to conceive, but asking questions like those are not useful. First, of course I don’t want to feel out of control, and I don’t want to add more stress to this experience or my life. Second, I want to DECIDE to feel calm, relaxed, and I want to enjoy this adventure no matter how long it will be. No one has said the TTC experience has been a fun adventure, but that’s exactly what I want it to be: me and husband setting a goal to create a family, and I want it to be a beautiful experience. I know it’s possible! Our brains are the most powerful computer, but it’s been programmed with our thoughts and the thoughts of others around us. One way I have been working to reprogram it, is deciding on purpose what questions I ask myself. I manage things like money and groceries, why shouldn’t I manage my thoughts and the questions I ask myself, too?! Just to be clear, this is not a one-time fix. Like everything else we manage, this is something I do regularly. I have habit thoughts and habit feelings that try to creep back. Reprogramming takes time but it is so worth it! My goal isn’t to be happy all the time, but to increase the good and allow the bad times. Doing this has been an incredibly powerful tool that has changed my life, so I want to share with you.
Sure, thinking about these questions will be powerful, but what has really made a difference has been writing it down. I think I have an amazingly long answer to the question, but when I write it down, it’s only a few sentences at best. There’s something about writing it down that makes it so much more powerful. Sometimes I go back and read them, but the power is in those moments of writing!
These are five better questions I’ve asked myself that have given me a better TTC experience. I don’t know if they are right for you. I’m sure there are many more questions to ask that are just as useful. If any of the questions make you sad, I would ask, “what are your thoughts that make you feel sad?” and “Are you believing hard enough in your goal of being pregnant and later a parent?” Goals feel amazing when you believe. You can really take this exercise and apply it with any goal when you ask yourself better questions.
1. How can I prepare my body and mind for pregnancy?
This is the newest question for me. This question has helped me believe everyday I’m not pregnant is another day I get to work on being ready for pregnancy. In the last few months, I’ve put on extra pounds that feel excessive. I don’t feel like myself. Besides the hormone injections, I’ve been spending extra time at the computer when I want to be in nature and moving my body. It’s not about the numbers! I want to give this next embryo the best home for the next nine months. I want to be strong before, during and after pregnancy. I believe being strong and flexible will help me have an easier and more enjoyable pregnancy and birth.
Just like getting pregnant, pregnancy isn’t going to be a cake-walk either. I’ve only been pregnant for a few weeks at a time, but I know it will be another challenge. The more my mind is managed now, the easier it will be when I’m pregnant and beyond. I want to continue the daily habit of managing my mind and be as calm and stress-free as I can.
2. What do I want to think, feel, and act if I’m pregnant?
I’ve mentioned this question before. This was a question I asked myself during the two-week wait. I wanted to answer this question and the next one before I found out if I was pregnant. It helped me be able to handle either outcome. I love asking myself this question. I want to think this is exactly how it’s supposed to happen. I want to think this is my baby. I want to feel all the joy and excitement but also be calm and peaceful like ‘Of course I’m pregnant!’ I want to act confident. I want to be thankful for the hard work I put into myself before I got pregnant. I know I will cry tears of joy! I don’t want to take it for granted, but I also want to take my new habits with me into the pregnancy.
3. What do I want to think, feel, and act if I’m NOT pregnant?
This is another question I asked myself during the two-week wait. Asking the hard questions is important. Being honest with myself is equally important. We plan out how we are going to get some where on a vacation, why don’t we plan more how we want to think and feel? Of course, I’m sad when I ask myself this question. I even struggle saying the words out loud. It’s important to me explore this unwanted option and give it just as much time as the previous question. It’s like giving myself rules and preparing myself how I want to be. My brain is also comfortable with this question because I’ve been pregnant four times now. My brain offers me negative thoughts that come so easily. I want to think everything happened exactly as it is supposed to. I want to feel hopeful we had this chance with a second embryo. I want to celebrate the experience even though we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. I want to think science is amazing at giving us the opportunity to have baby. I want to think I’m strong no matter what circumstance is thrown my way. I want to think that life is 50/50: 50% good and 50% bad. This is the bad, and I want to appreciate the good in my life. I don’t want to act like I’m an IVF victim. My journey to motherhood isn’t over. I want to give myself a hug and say it’s ok. I want to continue helping other women trying to conceive.
4. Why do I want a baby?
This might be the hardest question I’ve asked myself. It’s hard because I didn’t have a great reason at first. Not that you need a reason to have a baby, it was just that I wanted to know my why. I asked this question years ago to an old co-worker that couldn’t really answer the question, so I knew this would be a good question to explore now. Besides our innate human instinct to procreate, there had to be deep reasons for me. This is where I realized I didn’t believe I was going to be a mother. For a very long time, I believed I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I didn’t think I would find someone to marry, so it was obvious to me motherhood wouldn’t come either. Despite being married, the thought still tries to creep in. It sounds silly when I write it. Everyone deserves to be a mother if they choose.
This is such a personal question. I have ten things that bring happy tears to my eyes every time I look at this list. A few reasons I want to have children are to leave a legacy and being pregnant and giving birth at least one time is important to me to experience.
5. How can I have a fabulous pregnancy?
This is the oldest question. I use ‘fabulous’ for obvious reasons. I asked myself this when I first thought I wanted to start a podcast over two years ago. My manual for a fabulous pregnancy came easy for me. I still have it written down. I have sixteen items on this list which I’m sure I could easily add to it. Having the perfect diet and exercise plan made the list, but I also included a killer wardrobe and a clean house. I realized this was a semi-plan for the life I wanted. I asked myself why I needed to be pregnant in order to do/have most of the things on the list. And that’s exactly what I did. I started implementing them now, so I can have the fabulous pregnancy without changing anything. It’s a work in progress, but I have my plan. I really thought the circumstance of being pregnant was going to change everything. This made me realize that isn’t true. There is room to want what I already have, and there are others I’m working towards.
I hope you found these questions as useful as I did or at least inspired other great questions. There are much better questions to ask myself than what my unmanaged mind was asking. Feel free to comment below to let me know what questions you came up with!