Let's cover what I do know.
- I know it can take a healthy couple 12 months to be successful at conception. A full year. Heartbreaking when you're wanting something so badly, but at the same time, completely normal. Also, allow me to preface the rest of this post now that I understand that we have not been trying for a long time. It feels long, because we want it, but I understand that it's not.
- I know that there's only a 20% chance in a given cycle that conception will occur. That's for a healthy couple with perfect timing. Let's do math. There's an EIGHTY percent chance we won't get lucky in any given month. What does this mean? Getting pregnant is difficult.
- I know that "perfect timing" means insemination must occur in a - at most - 4 day fertile window beginning 3 days before ovulation and ending the day after.
- I know when I ovulate. This is helpful because I'm not constantly wasting pregnancy tests because I think I'm late. It's also mostly helpful because I know my plumbing works at the basic functional level.
- I know that 28 day cycles with ovulation on day 14 is more often than not a myth. Trust me, this was the biggest thing to shock me when I started reading up on fertility and conception. I'm pretty sure we were all taught this little formula in 8th grade health class and it's simply not true. If you're a "textbook" cycler, spare telling me so.
If you want to put all these concepts together to see just how miraculous it is that any of us are here, go to Youtube and search for "The Great Sperm Race." Wait, make popcorn first. Then go to Youtube. You're welcome.
I also know that people just don't know what to say at times, or they say the oddest things. While trying to be helpful and supportive, people's "advice" is often misguided.
"It'll happen when it's meant to" or "Maybe it's just not the right time." I really dislike these statements. Conception has nothing to do with all being right in the world. Obviously, or my cousin wouldn't have 4 kids by 3 baby daddies. Her life is chaos, and there was surely never a right time for her to have children, and yet she has them. I know some people are also delving into the religious aspect of this one, indicating a certain deity's plan. While comforting for a believer, it's just aggravating for me.
"Just get drunk and have sex." Yeeeeah, no. If that were true, I'd have about 8 babies by now. If you know what I know (above) about timing and all that good stuff, it's all just coincidence that you or your friend went out drinking and came home and drunkenly seduced your husband and your kid was born 9 months later. In fact, all of it is chance when you think about it. Who's to say what worked in a given cycle when there's an 80% percent chance against you every month? People who never had to really try for a baby say this a lot. My cousin also probably says this.
"Well if your mom/sister/aunt had no problems having kids, you won't either." Fertility isn't like eye color. My mom's ability to have kids has no bearing on mine.
"Stop thinking about it and it'll happen." Yes, it's true that stress can affect fertility. Allow me to tell you why. Stress can delay ovulation. Your body will withhold from ovulating because it feels that the elevated stress makes your body a less than ideal home for a fetus. Illness and travel have the same effect. If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant. Once you ovulate, however, your chances of conception and implantation occuring are no less than an unstressed person. Secondly, if you can tell me how to stop thinking about it, I would. Gladly. Baby rabies isn't fun.
Side note: telling a couple to "just start the adoption process and it'll happen hahaha!!" is even more obnoxious. Just don't do that. For the reasons above and also because if they're at the point where adoption is up for discussion (which they may not have shared with you), they've probably exhausted every option, along with a lot of money and time and emotion, to get pregnant. While some couples opt for adoption quickly, others don't, and they spend thousands of dollars on hormones, testing, and procedures before coming to the realization that it just isn't going to happen. Either way, there's a lot of emotion wrapped up in the decision, so joking about it is just lame.
"Well, maybe you're pregnant right now and you don't even know it!" Ummmm, if it's before I'm late, I can't argue with you on that one, because I could be. But this one is especially fun when I've just started a new cycle, and I'm sad, and get I tempted to show you my stock of tampons as evidence. When I say "no, really, I'm sure I'm not," just take my word for it.
"You should do _______. It worked for ______." Again, someone else's ability to get pregnant has nothing to do with my own. What "worked" for one person won't necessarily work for me. In the end, the only thing that works is sperm meeting egg and embryo snuggling in and growing. End of story. And even if something does "work," think of trying to conceive the same way you'd think about weight loss. The same thing doesn't work for everyone.
I'm not trying to rant and rave at anyone who's made the above statements. I probably made them myself before I knew some of the things I know. I'm just in need of a good vent. I understand that people just say things because they're excited for us, just like people asked how wedding planning was going and then how married life is. I get that. I guess I just felt a need to let out what frustrates me about this.
Eight months have probably made me a little jaded. The intial "squeeeeeeee!! We're gonna have a baby!" from the first cycle has turned into "I hope this is it" ::sigh:: As we approach the one year mark and possibly having to face testing, I understand the need for more compassion and thought in my comments to others. You never know what they're wanting and waiting for. I guess I just hope that with my little vent, others will have some compassion and thought as well.