Making Peace With Time: Sometimes You Just Need a Break

Taking a break: good for moms and future moms. Credit: Selma90

Taking a break: good for moms and future moms. Credit: Selma90

I’ve officially been “trying” to get pregnant for two years now. Two years. 

That’s kind of hard to swallow. Two years is a long time — even though, in a lot of ways, it’s gone by fast. I’ve seen friends get pregnant, have kids — and then have more kids. I’ve co-written two books. I’ve commiserated with others who are dealing with infertility. I’ve launched a new site. I’ve fallen in love again with being creative in the kitchen and photography. I’ve battled demons. I’ve come more into my own. I’ve surrendered so much of what I thought my life “should” look like. I no longer take people’s pregnancies personally or feel like being invited to a baby shower is pure torture. I’ve slowly gotten back to appreciating that new life really is a miracle — and accepting that it’s not one that’s always guaranteed.

It’s all become less about me, really. Which is ironic because it took a six-month break to focus on me to get there. Or here, whatever. I remember talking with a couple of other women going through infertility treatments who had taken breaks — a couple cycles, a few months, a year or two even — from trying to get pregnant. And, at that time, hearing them say that scared me. It didn’t scare me for them; rather it scared me that maybe I’d have to do the same.

I’m sure you guys have felt it, but there’s this pressure to have children by a certain age. From your body, from society, from your family, from yourself. And when you’re approaching or — gasp! — have gone over that timeline, you freak. Or, I freaked. So the idea of a break? Um, LIKE I HAVE TIME for a break. (Too bad this study wasn’t out yet!)

But, ever the present teacher, just as I pondered the ridiculousness of a break, the universe pretty much brought me to my knees in demanding that I take one. Remember that book and new site I mentioned? Well, those happened to hit at the same time and simply required everything I had. I was writing and editing in the evenings, on weekends — and I was pouring every life lesson and everything I knew to be true in my soul into it. There simply wasn’t time for extensive doctor visits or for being rattled from having my period or worrying about my temperature. I had work to do; work that I was passionately committed to and fully aligned with. Jobs I had dreamed of fulfilling.

And it was the best freakin’ thing that could have happened to me. Time away from trying to get pregnant gave me perspective, boosted my confidence and renewed my hope. It helped me to recognize my biological clock and my own pressures that I was putting on myself and then the ability to give myself permission to not do anything. And to trust that I would know when was right to take the next step.

Now, it’s not like the voice of God has come to me and said: Thou shall reproduce now! But I feel healed in a lot of ways. I’m not confused. I know what I’m looking for in a reproductive specialist and what I will — and will not — compromise on or waffle about. And, silly as it sounds, I know that I am more than my ability to have a child. And that I will be a mother — sometime, somehow. I don’t have a concrete plan on how to get there though, and I don’t have a timeline. I’m just flowing with it and making the decisions that feel right. Even if that means not making a decision at all.

There is such an incredible amount of fear when you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening. A feeling of being wronged or like you’re being punished for something. And when you’re checking this, testing that and going to the doctor all the time, it’s easy to live in that space of fear, worry and anxiety. But after my break, I’m feeling like I can go back in and we can try this whole thing again with more clarity and perspective. Less “me” involved.

So, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant and seem to be negatively consumed by it (which is almost impossible not to do), do not — I repeat DO NOT — be afraid to slow things down and take a break. Going through this process can be lonely and you can feel embarrassed and even shameful about it. But don’t. I feel like I’ve felt every emotion known to man on this journey; so I guarantee you that you’re not alone and that I — and thousands of other women — can relate to exactly what you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth and do what’s best for you. It may actually be just what the doctor ordered.

Have you ever taken a break from trying to get pregnant? Did it change you at all? —Jenn 

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  1. Jessica says:

    “I know that I am more than my ability to have a child.” What a powerful statement that all women need to hear and repeat to themselves. Sometimes society can make us feel that as women, our number one role and responsibility on this planet is to bear children. We have to reject this notion, because there are many paths to a fulfilling life and we should get to define what they will be. And if we allow ourselves to believe, even in a tiny way, even for a second, that we are “supposed” to reproduce, then we become susceptible to all the other “supposed to” things that come after–like giving up career goals for our children or our husbands. I know choosing not to have children and not being able to have them are very different things, and its so hard to have something you truly want be out of your reach for however long it remains so. But there are things out of our control in our lives on earth, and how we handle that and grow and flourish despite it all defines who we are as people.

    1. Jenn says:

      Amen to that, Jessica. 🙂

      —FBG Jenn

  2. Maru says:

    Hang in there Jenn… We tried for 2 years, with a fertility specialist for 1 year and when I just couldn’t handle it anymore took a break. We went on vacation, relaxed, exercised, had fun for 3 months and then I decided to give it another try. I guess the break worked because I am now 20 weeks pregnant. It helped a lot to relax and just see things from another perspective. I was definitely in a different place after the break which helped sooo much. So if you’re ready to try again, I promise you will feel so different and it really helps. Best of luck

    1. Jenn says:

      Congrats to you, Maru! And thank you. 🙂

      —FBG Jenn

  3. Porsha says:

    Jenn – thank you so much for writing this piece. Wow, it was as if you were taking the words right out of my mouth. My husband and I have been trying for nearly 2-1/2 years. Some days are good and I’m fine with where we are. I even think that if it isn’t in the cards for us to be parents, maybe it’s not so bad. Other days are much harder and I question why us? What could we possibly have done to deserve this? One thing I’ve learned is patience so I can’t help but think I’m on this journey for a reason… There’s this saying: “the longer you wait for something, the more you’ll appreciate it when you get it. Because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting.” That’s the honest to God truth.

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