The Irony of Standing Still
Time is a funny thing when you are trying to get pregnant. On one hand, time passes quickly. Years and years go by and I think, “I can’t believe three years have passed and I’m still trying to get pregnant.” I’m baffled by how many holidays and celebrations have passed since I thought that this would be my last birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day without kids. What I thought would be a short story of trying to start a family has turned into a 1000 page book that goes on and on and never seems to end. I don’t relish in the dichotomy of the happiness yet sadness I feel about my friends that have had several children while I’m still trying for my first. I’ve also now moved into the realm of advanced maternal age at the ripe age of 35. I never thought I’d be here still trying for my first baby. Time flies because I’m standing still while I watch everyone around me move on in life.
On the other hand, time creeps along in the forever waiting process of trying to conceive. I feel like I’m always waiting while trying to get pregnant. I’m waiting to ovulate, waiting to find out if I’m pregnant, waiting for cysts to clear so I can try again, waiting for money for treatments, waiting for insurance to kick in, waiting, waiting, waiting. I remember thinking, “I have to wait four more days to find out if I’m pregnant?” Time inches by because I’ve been waiting years for something that should have taken months.
The irony is not lost on me. I want the weeks to pass by quickly but not the years. I want to skip ahead to finally having a baby but I don’t want time to pass too fast because I’m getting older and this game of trying to make a baby only gets harder with time.
I find myself coming up with strategies to alleviate both of the time issues. Because time seems to pass so fast and years have gone by with no babies, I try to focus on long-term goals so it doesn’t seem like years have gone by with no progress in my life. I have completed my Masters degree and now I’m working on my PhD, much in part due to the fact that I needed to focus on something else in my future other than a baby.
The first year I was trying to get pregnant I thought about how my life would change when I’d become a mom. I saved up my sick leave to use for maternity leave at work, manipulated our budget so I could potentially stay home, and focused on this huge life change that we were hopefully about to encounter. And it didn’t happen. More time went by. And it still didn’t happen. So for me, focusing on other long-term goals helped me deal with the fact that years are passing by so quickly with no progress in my life.
But at the same time, it’s hard not to feel anxious about having to wait another week for a positive pregnancy test. It’s hard when you realize that getting pregnant naturally has slim odds but you can’t afford IVF for 6 months or a year or more. As a result, I have developed some strategies to help time pass quickly (yet not too quickly!) while constantly in the waiting process while trying to conceive.
30-day challenges are a lot of fun and give me something to look forward to and do every day. In December I did a 30-day challenge on my blog to help me get through the last month before I started IVF. I thought of one song that made me feel hopeful and one reason to be hopeful each day. I have also participated in 30-day photo challenges. This gave me something to do and helped me feel like I was progressing along towards my goal each day, however slowly. It also really did lift up my spirits.
Book clubs are a great way to pass the time while waiting. I am a part of a couple of book clubs. I have one that I attend in real life and we read a variety of fiction and nonfiction. I also started one with some of my friends in my online support group. Recently we read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and we are discussing ways to incorporate more happiness into our lives.
Hobbies are another way to fill the waiting moments. I started a garden and grew a lot of my own food this year. I also started hatching and raising my own chickens and guinea birds. Farm adventures keep me busy and give me something to look forward to each day so waiting is less painful.
Time will pass, there is no way around this. I only hope that I fill our wait with wonderful memories and despite the pain, I can look back upon these years of waiting with memories of fond moments.