Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Busting a Myth

Myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.


I’ve always been anxious.

When Rob & I decided to try to start our family, I was worried from the very first month. I voiced my fears to a counselor I was seeing at the time-- I was worried that we’d have problems. I was worried that I wouldn’t get pregnant. I was worried that the one thing I wanted most in the world, I would never have.

You know what she told me? “Just Relax.” (Which, in all fairness, she probably should have told me at that point, seeing as we’d probably been TTC for a few weeks.)

So, I tried, but the nagging feeling that something was wrong never really went away. I was one of those really annoying TTCers—you know the one. I jumped on a message board and complained about how difficult it was to see those BFNs month after month and how worried I was…when we had only been trying for 3 months.

You know what they told me? “Impatience is not a fertility issue.” (And they were right to say that. It's true.)

But somehow, I knew. Something was not right. So, I started meticulously charting my temperatures, my cervical position & mucus and every attempt we made—just so I’d have proof we were doing everything right, but that something in my body just wasn’t cooperating. Once I started charting, it was pretty easy to tell that something was up—my cycles were often 45-60+ days and often with no clear temp shift to suggest I’d ovulated. No ovulation = no pregnancy. And it seemed to be getting worse—almost every cycle was ending in a dose of Prometrium.

You know what friends and family told me? “Just Relax.” (And while this was starting to upset me, I knew that I hadn’t been diagnosed with any issues yet...)

It was right around the 7 month mark that I started reading infertility blogs—a bit premature perhaps, but I already felt like I could identify with these women. When I was down, they cheered me up. When I thought that we might have a chance during a particular cycle, they cheered me on. When I was worried, they encouraged me to go in for testing as soon as possible. (Special shout out to Secret Sloper, who was my very first infertility blog buddy, my lifesaver, my biggest cheerleader & my dear friend.)

One of the most valuable lessons that the infertility community taught me is that you have to be your own advocate. You have to read up on any issues that you think you might be experiencing, push the doctors for more tests and always ask questions, questions and more questions.

I was really lucky that my ob/gyn listened to all of the detective work I’d done and decided to do an infertility workup when we’d been TTC for 7 months. (Waiting the standard 12 months to officially be diagnosed with infertility would have been a waste of time.) There were medical issues that needed to be resolved— “Just relaxing” wasn’t going to fix any of them. When my TSH came back at 5.51, I was ecstatic to be able to pinpoint what could be the cause of our problems. What I wasn’t thrilled about was that that my ob/gyn tried to write these labs off as normal.

I had done my reading and I knew that the ideal TSH level of a woman trying to conceive is between 1-2. So, I left my ob/gyn and went to an RE (who I adore and will forever be grateful for) who immediately put me on Synthroid & a dose of Clomid. Not only was she determined to make me ovulate, she was determined to fix the reason I wasn’t ovulating. I got pregnant that month.

It’s possible that I felt more anxiety during my first medicated cycle than I did during any other cycle. I didn’t get pregnant because I decided to “just relax.” I got pregnant because I took medication that fixed what was wrong with me.

I’m pregnant again now— A total surprise after infertility. But this baby doesn’t exist because I relaxed, either—it exists because the universe has a sense of humor and decided to bless us with two children very close in age.

I say, “after infertility” simply because we struggled to get pregnant with Baby #1, but we didn’t struggle with #2. Every time I visit the doctor, my paperwork is stamped with “Pregnancy after Infertility.” Infertility will always be a part of me & a part of my experience bringing my children into the world. It has colored how I feel about pregnancy, birth and the miracle of motherhood.

So many of the women I know and love have successfully created families, and several others are so close. These women were made mothers by miracles, fertility treatments and adoption. The bond I share with these women is unlike any other-- My dream is that one day, we’ll all travel across the country to meet in person, show off our beautiful babies, have a drink & “Just Relax.”


To learn more about infertility click here.


  1. Wow, are stories are so similar. I was anxious for ages before we started trying. My mom had a history of infertility and intense loss. She also had amenorrhea, and I had that as well. For years and years my period would go missing. I took BCP to start it again and it would come, for about three months and then stop again. I was sure that would happen again, it had every other time. So I started acupuncture and took herbs and followed a strict diet and did so much reading. I charted my temps from the first cycle so I could see if I wasn't ovulating. And every month we didn't get pregnant I was so freaked out because I was sure the next one would be the one where I stopped ovulating and my amenorrhea returned. I was the same person complaining on boards after three months about how hard it was. And then after six months I got pregnant and then it was ectopic and I was so devastated. By the time I got pregnant "successfully" it had been almost a year and it felt like a lifetime.

    I still feel so lucky that my amenorrhea stayed away and I attribute that to the TCM and acupuncture. The whole time everyone kept telling me to just relax but I knew that would have nothing to do with whether or not I got pregnant.

    Thanks for writing this post. This myth really pisses me off and I love that someone tackled it! Thanks!

  2. very very similar story posted here today:


  3. "Just relax" has got to be the single most annoying thing for someone struggling with infertility to hear. I hope LOTS of people read this!

  4. Yes, our stories are similar! I love it! I particularly love the "God has a sense of humor" and gave you two children so close together. I always say our family is a case of the, "Be careful what you ask for" saying. Two kids 6 months apart is no cake walk:). Thanks for your comment and take care!

  5. Ugh. Totally.

    Awesome, awesome post. Couldn't have said it better myself!