Playing the Waiting Game

WaitingGameIt’s been about 10 months since I went off birth control. While I was freaking out a year ago about getting pregnant, now I’m far from freaked. I want to have a child. No ifs, ands or doubts about it. Over the course of the last few months, wanting to get pregnant has gone from this future concept to a reality that I want. Like now. But getting pregnant doesn’t always work like that…

For me, it goes a little something like this: I wait forever to ovulate. I have a lot of sex with my husband. I wait some more. I hope. I get really excited. And then I feel totally, absolutely disappointed by the one-lined negative pregnancy test staring back at me (or the pair of white undies that just got ruined).

That’s pretty much been the cycle for me as of late. After enduring almost five months of post-pill amonherrhea, followed by another rough patch of insanely long menstrual cycles (one was as long as 54 days, my last one was a “short” 40) and a short luteal phase, my body is still, most likely, recovering from my decade-plus stint on the pill.

I’ve tried to stay positive. To focus on what I do have in life—a great husband, a sweet dog, a beautiful home, fabulous friends and family, a fantastic career, French press coffee. But still, it just feels as though a little spirit is missing at the dinner table every night. And it’s like I’m mourning something that isn’t even here. What do you do when the very essence of your being says it’s time to have a child and yet your otherwise healthy body isn’t cooperating? Oh, yeah, you have a lot more sex and wait some more.

I’m sure the life lesson I need to learn here is patience—and how not to be in control. After months of charting my basal temperature, cervical position, cervical fluid and ovulation-predictor kit (OPK) results, there’s no doubt that I went a little batty with it and got obsessive. It’s as if the more I planned and charted and organized, the more I thought I was increasing my odds of getting pregnant. While that’s true to some degree (information can be power), I took it too far. It was like all I thought about. And, for me, it wasn’t fun. Every time I got a negative OPK or a temperature reading that I wasn’t expecting, it made me feel like an infertile failure, dramatic as it sounds.

Then, one day last month, I was standing in my living room when it dawned on me: The same fervor and control I was placing on my fertility was exactly the same kind of negative energy I used to apply to calorie counting and losing weight. The basal thermometer had become my weight scale, and the numbers it flashed became my self-worth for the day.

Well, hell. I’d overcome that calorie-counting mess years ago and was so passionate about doing so that Erin and I created Fit Bottomed Girls to spread the word. Yet, here I was again, doing the same self-hating behaviors to myself that I did then. Talk about an epiphany. As soon as I realized that, it’s like the weight of the world came off of my shoulders.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve stopped with the daily OPK testing and the checking mucus multiple times a day. I’m not reading more books on fertility or infertility. I’m not browsing threads on discussion boards about post-pill horribleness. And I’m trying to not think about it. (Although, as you might imagine, helping to run a website with “Mamas” in the title makes that just a touch tricky. Not to mention that it seems like everyone on Facebook is getting pregnant or giving birth. Everyone.)

In essence, I’m slowly learning to let go of my need for control—because this is one part of my life that I really can’t control. Some days are better than others. Most days I’ll wake up and feel like everything is going according to plan. That I have the ultimate patience to wait however long it takes (or deal with whatever it takes—me getting pregnant or not), trusting nothing but my intuition and the universe, and feeling absolutely grateful that I even have the opportunity to try to get pregnant. Other days, it feels like it’s never going to happen, and I throw a full out sad-pants party for myself, cursing the world and all the unfit knocked-up women out there who don’t even want kids. Many days though, it’s a mix of the two, moment to moment.

I know in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long. And many women struggle with huge obstacles—and wait years and years—when it comes to getting pregnant. Or can’t get pregnant at all. But when you’re in the “trying to conceive” frame of mind, every month can seem an eternity and babies can become an obsession. But I’m trying to let go. In the mean time, I’ll continue to wait. And have lots of sex. And trust that the universe knows what it’s doing. Jenn

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  1. Tish says:

    I love you very much for sharing your truth with the world. People should know how brave and saucy you are…This is just a tiny smidge of Jenn’s inner umph, y’all.

    Just a smidge!

  2. Michelle says:

    I agree, the waiting game totally sucks. I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 10 months. In the meantime my sister got pregnant and had a baby. And everyone in my neighborhood under 35 is pregnant. Ugh! Good luck to us! Here’s to hanging in there through the disappointment!

  3. Jen says:

    Wow. It’s as if I wrote this, and then I scroll down and find your name is Jenn too. Strange. I have been such a good girl all my life. I’ve been on the pill since I was 16. I had irregular periods that were terrible when I was a teeanger. Horrible cramps, heavy bleeding..just bad. So I went on the pill and never looked back. I’ve been off the pill since October. I found the man of my dreams, we married on 11/11/11 and we are trying to conceive. I know it’s only been 3 months, but I have not had my period once. Last month I spotted, and I FREAKED OUT!. I thought “GAME ON” and used those exact words when I told my husband. Then I began to obsess over this little pink spot no bigger than a nickle. EUREKA!, it was implantation bleeding. I thought i was pregnant. little blastad stick told me I wasn’t. So it’s back to the waiting game. Every little twing I feel I rush to the bathroom to see if I started my period, and nothing. I feel for you, and wish you ALL the best. MERRY CHRISTMAS

  4. Jen says:

    should be noted that i will be 35 next year…..

  5. Paula says:

    Thanks for speaking up about this. I am refusing to allow myself to panic about it but I too am trying to figure out this whole post-pill, pre-pregnancy thing. Five months and counting. No ovulation to speak of. My question is: When do I contact a doctor for further testing? I’ve already seen my regular gyno for pregnancy consulting X 2….And no, I’m definitely not pregnant (like my doc insisted before labs)!

  6. Erin says:

    Paula, I’d say 5 months without a period earns you the right to call the doctor! It can’t hurt and the peace of mind knowing that you’re doing something to make forward progress will help! Best of luck to you. 🙂

  7. Jen says:

    I would say call NOW. I went without a period for 2 months and my Doc, was like “yes, please, we need to get your period started”. In fact, just found out today that I am not pregnant (via blood test) and my doc has prescribed me Provera to help bring it on. I’m also gonna take these vitamins I found at GNC that are suppose to promote fertility. Only time will tell. I truly feel (after going through this) that the pill is just NOT a good thing to be on for such a long time. Especially those pills that prevent your period for months at a time. I never thought they were right…. Good Luck Ladies….

  8. Jenn says:

    As an update to this post, I just made an appointment with my doctor. Going in February 8th to see what’s up. My cycle is getting back to normal, but my luteal phase is short and doesn’t seem to be getting any longer. As always, I’ll write about my experience.

    If I’ve learned anything with my issues coming off the pill and trying, I’m not alone. And neither are you. 🙂

    –FBG Jenn

  9. steph says:

    Hello! I have been going through a bit of the same thing, letting go of the temperatures and the charting etc, has been hard for me to. I know in Gods plan he will give my husband and I a baby when the time is right. We are both still very young. But anyways, God is the one who created this whole universe to every little cell, to the biggest animal, and In that i absolutely know that he has a plan for each and everyone of us. I my opinion the universe has nothing to do if you get pregnant or not, its GOD and that is the only thing I need to get through those hard days.

  10. Lindsey says:

    Wow…you could have been talking about me! I am slowly learning to let go of the control. It is just so hard. I felt like charting and opking were going to help me. In the end, it just made me more frustrated. I am now only charting my temps, hoping for a little miracle in my future!

  11. Jenn C says:

    Thanks Jenn for sharing. You’re in my prayers 🙂 I tried for five years for my first child (now 2). It was the hardest five years of my life. I have pcos and I have total empathy for the looong menses. I think I clocked a 48 day cycle once! I’m so grateful for my lil’ girl now though and it was worth every single long day of wait and tears. Now we are trying for our 2nd baby. It’s been 8 months and I’m not in panic mode yet. I’m amazed that you came to realization of “not freaking out” so early in your journey. It took me after my daughter was born to realize that 😉 Take care and keep the faith!

  12. odette says:

    thank you so much lol reading this has helped me to i too can get obessive over it * been driving my fiance mad actually lol * i was starting to chart and date everything too but like you say for people like us who like to be in control the hardest thing is letting the reigns go abit so jen i will thing of you and wish you all the best and wen i have my sad pants days as you say it i will think of this post hehehehe

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