Dealing with Disappointment when Trying to Conceive

Day 34 and still no period. You tell yourself not to get your hopes up because you can’t bear the letdown that may come. Still, you take the pregnancy test with heart racing. You watch one line appear. You hold your breath. But no matter how long or hard you stare, the necessary second line fails to appear.

A day or two later, your period appears.

Suddenly, you’re back to square one. Again. Another excruciating month of plotting and waiting and hoping. The month rises before you like a formidable mountain that you keep trying to climb, only to slip back down, defeated. You can’t help thinking of the baby that you are no closer to holding than you were months or even years ago—back when you thought this would all be so easy!

Talk about major disappointment. How’s a woman to deal with this? You may cry or rage or fall into depression, or take a deep breath and paste on a false smile. To make matters worse, when you share your sadness over another “failed” attempt with family or friends, they often don’t get what a big, emotionally-draining, deal this is. “Just keep trying,” they say. “It’ll happen when the time is right.”

Small comfort when you just know the right time is NOW!

Instead of trying to smother your disappointment or pretending it doesn’t exist, why not consider some of the following positive courses of action to get you through this tough period (yes, it’s a poor pun):

Consolation prize
Go ahead and choose a consolation prize, something you really want and that you actually have control over being able to obtain. As soon as your period appears, go get your prize. How about a book on trying to conceive, a fertility monitor, or something totally nonrelated to ttc, like a carton of your favorite ice cream or a new pair of shoes? If you do choose something related to ttc, you can take heart in the fact that the more you learn about the subject, the more you increase your chances for success next month.

Romantic date
Rediscover the love of your life and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Spend a nice evening together, devoted to just the two of you, and talk about anything BUT trying to conceive. It could be that you’ve been so stressed out about trying to conceive that you’ve been taking your spouse for granted. This may sound trite, but think about all the good things in your life that you DO have.

A drink
This is a favorite of many women who are trying to conceive. After weeks of abstaining from any alcohol in the hopes of getting pregnant, a period signals the go ahead. Be cautious here, however, because even one glass of alcohol can decrease your fertility and therefore diminish your chances of conceiving. Sorry to crash your party, but wouldn’t you rather know the truth? You don’t want to sabotage all your efforts. Enjoy a sparkling water or fruit juice instead.

A good laugh
It’s difficult to feel gloomy when you’re laughing, so bring on the comedy. Watch a funny sitcom, movie, visit a comedy club, or associate with good friends who make you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It will reduce your stress, and that can have a big impact on ttc next time around.

Talk it out
If you feel you really need to talk about your disappointment and frustrations, go ahead. Don’t bottle it up. Just choose wisely whom you talk to. Your spouse may be the perfect person, but only you can be the judge of that. If he thinks this is no big deal, his lack of empathy might only infuriate you. Maybe you’d get more understanding, sympathy, and good advice from your sister or best friend. Don’t vent on the next person you see, however, especially not the local gossip, unless you want your private life and concerns discussed by everyone you know—and even those you don’t! This will only make things worse when everyone keeps asking, “Are you pregnant yet?”

A journal is a nice private outlet for venting and hashing out your thoughts in writing. It will help you examine your true feelings and put things in perspective. Keep the journal well hidden or under lock and key if need be. And if you ever want to, you can simply throw it away or burn it!

TTC Group
Join a TTC group on the internet. There are many out there. Simply do a search for “TTC Group.” Here, too, you can remain basically anonymous, choosing a screen name when you post. You can get answers to your questions and advice for the future. Even if you don’t post, reading the accounts of other women who are in the same situation can be a great comfort. You’re not alone after all!

Hopeful Anticipation
It helps to be optimistic. I know you’ve told yourself this before, but truly, next month might be the month! At least women get a new chance about once every month, and not only once a year, right? Meanwhile, use your time to learn how you can increase your chances of conception, implement this knowledge, and then set your sights on the next session of hopeful pregnancy testing.

Good luck!

A big thank you to the ladies at the CafeMom TTC group for sharing their methods of dealing with disappointment when trying to conceive.

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