The decision to start trying to have a baby is often an exciting one. But after a few periods come and go with no positive pregnancy test, anxiety may start to creep in.
If you are in this boat, remember that for a perfectly fertile couple having perfectly timed sex, there's only a 25% chance of conceiving in any given month. So it's totally normal for it to take a while to get pregnant-up to a year, in fact. And though you may feel isolated by your struggle, you are far from alone.
Here, five real women share what they wish they’d known about the process before they started trying to get pregnant.
Never, Ever Google. Ask Your Doctor Specific Questions
“I have such mixed feelings about using the Internet during vulnerable, emotional, confusing times. On the one hand, it’s helped me connect to a lot of kickass women and given me lots of support and advice. On the other hand, it’s also been a huge source of anxiety. Never eat gluten if you’re really serious about getting pregnant.’ 'Always do this annoying thing.' It’s just filled with advice from people who don’t really know what they’re talking about. I wish I had laid off the Googling early on; I wish I had written down all my questions, as neurotic or silly or stupid as they might have seemed, and asked my doctor. This would have saved me a lot of stress, a lot of tears, and a lot of late nights huddled around the warm glow of my computer screen. Just ask a doctor or nurse if you have specific questions around your fertility.” -Elyse, 33, Minneapolis, MN
Know when you’re (really) ovulating
"I wish I would have been educated on how to properly track ovulation sooner. Women are often told that we ovulate two weeks after we get our period-but that's not always accurate. I learned the most important indicator is cervical mucus, even though we spend incredible amounts of money on ovulation predictor kits. Turns out, I was ovulating closer to three weeks after my period." -Jen, 40, Denver, CO
Talk about it, and treat yourself
“I kept our struggles hidden for so long ... It’s very isolating when you feel like everyone else at your age is having kids with no trouble at all, but once I started talking to friends, even those who had kids, I found out just how many of them struggled to conceive as well. Getting your period every month makes you feel like you simultaneously want to punch a wall and curl up in a ball and cry. Taking care of yourself is so important. Anything you can do to minimize the stress and keep from obsessing over it is good. For me it was doing Crossfit. Since I work at home, it was easy to drown in my own thoughts at home by myself. Getting out of the house and interacting with people at the gym was crucial.” -Lindsay, 32, Columbus, OH
Don't blame yourself and don't compare
“Becoming pregnant is a process. Try not to let it run your life, as that will just negatively impact relationships. Do not beat yourself up; this is not God punishing you, and this is not karma coming back around. Also, don’t compare-and that includes comparing to your friends, your co-workers, or even women on reality TV. Admittedly, that is much easier said than done, but everyone has such varying issues when it comes to fertility. And. That's. Okay.” -Julie, 49, Milwaukee, WI
Getting your period back after birth control can take time
“What I wish people would talk about more is how long it can take to get your period back after going off of birth control. It took nine months for mine to come back at all. I’m reaching the year mark and am still irregular, which I was during my pre-birth control years, and not ovulating. I went to the doctor at six months and was prescribed something to kickstart everything, but then it went back to nothing. ... My doctor told me that a year [to get your period back] is considered normal.’” -Katy, 30, Boston, MA
Remember your options
“Don’t forget to consider your options. I am adopted, and there was never a doubt that if we couldn't conceive, we would adopt. That’s a personal choice, but this was never about me needing to grow a human in my body. It was about adding to our family, and that has a very wide definition for me.” -Julie
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If you end up going for fertility treatments, don't neglect the rest of your life
“Honestly, fertility treatments can upend your whole life. Our life has pretty much revolved around our infertility story for the last two and a half years. It has affected what we can and can’t do, can and can't drink, can and can’t afford. Every dollar, every brain cell, every ounce of physical and emotional energy went into our fertility journey-and I wish I would have done that differently. I was a neglectful friend. A selfish wife. A bit of a basket case. It’s so important to remember that this whole thing you’re going through is only temporary. It’s not who you are; it’s something you’re going through. And it’s only for a moment in time.” -Elyse