Saturday, 25 January 2014

The psychology of it all

I wasn't sure what to call this post. I wanted to write about moving on from the whole trying to conceive lifestyle. We don't talk about that either, just like we don't talk about infertility. Roughly half of women will have never actually "tried" in the first place, and another fairly large number of women just deliberately abandoned their birth control and think that's what "trying" is all about, and maybe they have to try more than once, but that's about it. When I say "try" I mean pulling out all the stops.

Ovulation prediction tests were the easiest thing to give up, in large part because they are expensive to keep buying month after month. There is the basal body temperature charting, which I still do some months, but I'd much rather sleep in on weekends. There is checking the toilet paper every time you pee to inspect your cervical fluid. That is a hard habit to break after a year or more. Hardest of all might be the lifestyle changes. Sure, some of them might be good for me anyway - five 16oz coffees in a day isn't good for anyone. I try to stick to just one, at most two per day (still, 32oz of coffee is a lot), and while I gave it up completely to do my IVF cycle (and easily I might add, which was a shock), the minute that cycle went bust, my first stop was Starbucks, grande please! The only thing that keeps me from getting a third coffee (and today is one of those days when I easily could) is that in my head I'm still "trying". If I do another IVF cycle in a couple of months, I want the next few months to be the best my body can be so my eggs will be the best they can be. I go to the gym, not because I think it will help me lose weight (I know I can only do that through diet, I've already proven that to myself) but because I want my body to be healthy and I hope it will also be beneficial to my eggs (see previous post). I take vitamins, some for my eggs, some for me. I still find myself hesitating before a glass of wine or taking cold medication or eating certain foods if I'm past ovulation. I don't even want to guess the absurdly low chance of natural conception at this point, because frankly, I may have been actively "trying" for nearly two years, but I've had a very lax attitude towards birth control for nearly five years. There have been plenty of opportunities for "oops" wink-wink in the three years that I wanted another baby but my other half thought the timing was bad. Mentally I have been "trying" much longer than he has, and it shows. I have no idea if he thinks about it, because we don't talk about it anymore. We probably won't talk about it until the night before the appointment. I think it's best to give it time to percolate. I am still leaning towards doing one more round, but as the days pass, and perfect child number 1 gets older and more independent, it becomes easier to picture life as just the three of us. She, by the way, took only three months without protection, and maybe putting my legs in the air afterwards if I recall correctly. Anthropologist Susan Hrdy writes that mothers maximize their genetic lineage continuing not by having as many children as they can, but instead by taking advantage of opportunities to improve their own lives so that they can provide the best care to a smaller number of children. This idea really resonated with me.

I don't know if this post made any sense, but this is where my mind is wandering on this frigid Friday afternoon, empty coffee cup at my side.

This was written yesterday, but couldn't post. It meanders to a place I never expected. Then I look at the countdown and realize that the big appointment is only two weeks from Monday and it fills me with hope again.

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