You’re eating healthy, you’re exercising, you’ve quit smoking, quit drinking, quit taking your birth control, and you’re having sex like rabbits. But you still haven’t gotten that Big Fat Positive (BFP). What is going on?? If you’ve ruled out all the normal causes of infertility, it may be time to look inward.
The expression “you are your own worst enemy” rings true for most of us. To stop sabotaging yourself, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way. Some of the time, we’re acutely and painfully aware of this—like when we find ourselves procrastinating before taking care of a (literal or figurative) mess, so that it becomes a bigger deal to clean up later. Or we impulsively buy a large bag of potato chips when we’re trying to cut back on junk food.
There are countless ways we sabotage ourselves, but procrastination, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, overeating from stress, and interpersonal conflict are among the most widely used and recognizable.
These actions can be especially dangerous because they’re so subtle — you may not notice the extra cookie you’re taking or the additional drink you want to order before last call — and, at the time, they may even appear to calm you down and relax you. But as these actions increase, self-sabotage builds and can create a deep well of self-defeat that’s hard to climb out of.
You need to make sure to be mindful of your thoughts. Thoughts control actions, sometimes subconsciously. Here are three thoughts to be on the lookout for.
The troublemaking thought: “No matter what I do, it’s not like it’ll really help me get pregnant…”
If you want to make a life change, having a strong motivating factor helps. So you’d think that if you want to lose weight or get healthier, having pregnancy achievement as part of your motivation is a good idea.
It’s not. It’s a bad idea.
When your motivating force has a way of reminding you of “failure” frequently – ie, when you get your period – it’s like being set up to quit every 30 some days. Your period, along with its hormonal cravings, turns into some crazy will-power test.
You know these things take time, and you know it’s unreasonable to expect to conceive the very month you start losing weight. And yet, getting your period will remind you that you’re STILL NOT PREGNANT, and bam, out will come the Ben and Jerry’s.
What to think instead: “I’m making this change to get stronger.”
Come up with some other motivating force, preferably something more directly related to your goal. A dress you want to fit into. An event you want to look good for. A wish to feel stronger and healthier.
The troublemaking thought: “Why lose weight now when I’m just going to gain it all back when I’m pregnant?”
Isn’t it funny how you can both think that losing weight won’t help you get pregnant anyway AND, in the very next moment, think there’s no point since you’re just going to gain the weight back… when you get pregnant.
Here’s the thing. Yes, you will gain weight if you get pregnant. But keep in mind:
- Whatever weight you gain during pregnancy will be on top of what you already weigh. This means if you don’t lose weight now, after you have the baby, you will have pregnancy weight to lose… and the weight you have right now. Double whammy.
- How much weight you need to gain during pregnancy partially depends on how much you weigh now… so you’ll have fewer pounds to gain (less fun to have?) if you’re starting out overweight or obese.
Also important to remember is that women who are obese during pregnancy have a higher risk of some pregnancy complications and miscarriage. If you’re overweight, it really is better for you and your future baby if you lose the weight now.
What to think instead: “Starting pregnancy at a healthier weight will help me have a healthier pregnancy. And the weight I gain during pregnancy will mostly be baby or for the baby!”
According to the American Pregnancy Association, only 7 pounds of your expected pregnancy weight gain is maternal fat stores.
The baby takes up 7 to 8 pounds, the placenta another one or two, the amniotic fluids 2 pounds, and the enlarged uterus another 2 pounds. There’s also about 2 extra pounds of added breast tissue, 4 extra pounds of increased blood volume, and 4 pounds of fluid retention.
Most of what you gain isn’t fat – it’s baby and baby making equipment!
The troublemaking thought: “Why even try to explain how I feel to a friend? They can’t understand.”
When you’re going through infertility, you may feel very alone. The fact that 1 in 8 couples face infertility doesn’t help when your 7 couple friends are all fertility queens and kings.
This may lead to you not reaching out for help. How can someone who gets pregnant so easily relate to your struggle?
Or you may have friends with infertility, but maybe they have different struggles than you do. They are fighting primary infertility, while you’re struggling with secondary infertility. Or the other way around.
Or maybe your cause of infertility is more complicated. Maybe your treatment options more limited or more expensive. Or maybe you have no options besides moving on with a childfree life.
Here’s the thing: a friend doesn’t have to have the exact same experience as you to provide support or empathy.
If that were true, no one would be able to offer anyone else support. Because we all have unique challenges, unique backgrounds, and unique resources.
What to think instead: “My friend may not have experienced my unique struggles, but they have faced struggles of a different sort. They want to help me… I’ll teach them how.”
Yes, teach your friends how to support you. Tell them what you need or don’t need. Speak up when they unintentionally say something hurtful.
Most important, stop keeping your infertility a secret. If you don’t come out of the closet on your infertility, how can your friends support you best?
Remember that support will not only help you cope better with the stress of infertility, but it will also help you live a healthier life. Yes, really! It’s hard to take care of yourself when you feel alone.
You’re not alone. Reach out. Get support.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide Trying To Conceive Language & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
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