The mental health impact of trying to conceive

I was
unsure as to whether this was a subject to write about because it does feel
very personal. But I’ve always said that I wanted my blog to be something that
I would want to read, and I think someone being so honest about their
conception experience would have really helped me prepare for what was to come.
So here it goes.

When I
first told family that we had started
‘trying’ it was met with excitement and a lot of jokes from colleagues about
how ‘fun’ the baby making stage was. And that’s exactly how I felt about it,
excited about our next adventure. I was slightly freaked out that I had spent many years on the pill trying to avoid pregnancy and now I was somehow old
enough to make the decision to be a mum. But I was excited none the less.

I think I
was naïve about how much planning it actually takes to get pregnant purely
because it just isn’t something that I feel is talked about openly. Once I
started researching conception, it truly overwhelmed me. I thought that you
just came off birth control and had regular sex and it just happened. I read online
that there’s actually only about 6 days give or take a month that you can get
pregnant. I was so shocked, how is that possible?

The more I
read the more I became obsessive, like a lot of women do even though they promise
themselves they’d never be that way. I stumbled across forums online of
desperate women giving each other advice about elevating their legs after sex
or eating a diet consisting only of sweet potatoes (true story) to help them
conceive. I felt so conflicted because there’s so much advice out there on
increasing your chances and I didn’t know what to do for the best. In every
other aspect of my life I am a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a
reason’ and the importance of staying positive. Before I was trying to conceive
I would have given that same advice to any of my friends, to just let go and
relax and it will happen when it’s meant to. But when you start trying to
conceive that phrase just bugs you, and I felt that if I just stopped tracking
ovulation, stopped taking the vitamins, stopped ‘trying’ that I just wasn’t
doing enough to help us increase our chances and I couldn’t just sit back and
let time pass.

I was
looking after myself physically, trying to maintain a healthy diet, taking
my vitamins and exercising regularly. But at this stage my mental health had
started to really suffer because every month when I’d get my period I’d allow
myself to spiral and feel so low. I just felt like a let-down. I felt like everyone
was waiting for this big announcement and it was my body that was expected to
produce the goods and it just wasn’t performing. And it knocked my confidence
and made me feel insecure. Am I being punished for past mistakes? Does this make me
a terrible wife? Am I selfish for wanting something for myself so bad? I preach
about being healthy but am I really looking after myself the way I tell others
to look after themselves?

In the end
I managed to pull myself through it and forced myself to relax and just be present in the moment. I realised that I was missing out so much on the present by worrying about the future. I am beyond grateful that in the end it happened for us naturally and we got our little Jacob. I tried to stay present and relaxed by
staying busy and focusing on other things instead and really trying to prioritise my mental health. I was also lucky to have a
wonderful husband who would just let me cry, be angry, and drag him into bed after a
night shift.

I think
it’s really important to speak openly about experiences that can have such a
detrimental effect on our mental health and tell people that it’s okay to ask
for help when you’re struggling. With fertility we see so much online about how
to look after your body to be able to conceive, but I saw very little advice
about protecting your mental health.

To anyone
struggling with their mental health whilst trying to conceive, you are not alone. I truly believe
that women are strong enough to get through anything, especially with the
support of other women. You’re doing all you can, some things we just can’t

2 thoughts on “The mental health impact of trying to conceive”

  1. Love that you are highlighting the mental health side of fertility struggles. It’s never talked about and as you say “it’ll happen when the time is right” is the worst thing people can say to you!! Proud of you for being so honest x

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