"Just Relax!" or How to Get a Black Eye from an Infertile

I’m a control freak. I mean that in the nicest way. I am an English teacher, so I feel the need to know what is coming next and to design contingency plans for alternative scenarios to avoid teenage melee. In essence, it’s my job to be over prepared. As a result, I am a bit of a worrier when things are out of my hands. In this whole fertility foray, I have become a compulsive worry wart.

My secondary hobby, next to worrying, is reading. The Internet is my drug of choice, though these days there isn't much for me to research. My doctors tell me I know way more about infertility and my body than most women they work with. Dr. S says I know more than I ever should. I wholeheartedly agree.

Reading and worrying seem to be a non-stop cycle that fuel one another. So, when I read about infertility, I see one thing come up over and over again. Relax. Don’t stress. Find a calming outlet.

Seriously? I have been in a TTC holding pattern for more than half a decade. I have been stressed, distressed and everywhere in between in that time. I am worried about my hormone levels, fertile days, ovulation cycle and regularity, medication schedule weight loss, doctors appointments, injection teaching classes and any secondary symptoms I might find. I tried relaxed. 

It. Didn’t. Work.

So, I look for a friend or family member who might be helpful in finding perspective in this drama. When I mention the stresses of TTC, many of those wonderful people in my life start giving their oh-so-helpful advice: “Just relax, it’ll happen.” 

Relax. Hmmm... I hadn't thought of that before I spent thousands on treatments and let a myriad of doctors get up close and personal in my "business." Now that you say that, I can totally see where I have made my mistake.

But seriously, just relax?

That again? Yes, it worked for you because you ovulate precisely every 28 days and can stand on your head while twirling a baton. I know I am an inferior human being since I never took up jujitsu and packed on a few extra pounds. But I need help shedding the worries of my reality, not of some fictional world where babies come from sheer force of will. If that were the way it happened, I would be a mother several times over. I am the most determined person you will ever meet. I am just not one of the most fertile.

So, back off with your story about how you only tried for 2 months and got pregnant with a text book perfect pregnancy where you were a Yoga guru and ran a marathon in each trimester. I understand your meditative trances lead you to motherhood nirvana. For me, it’s not that simple. In truth, your textbook pregnancies that happen every time you try activate the slumbering green eyed monster, lurking deep in my soul. You really should be careful with those stories. I can't always control that monster.

Next time that I ask you what to do, try listening to what I am saying before spitting out cliches so fast my head begins to spin. Try to hear MY situation before you tell me about your best friend's third cousin's hairdresser who got pregnant after she adopted a child who SOOO needed her. Sometimes, if you don't have an answer, that's ok. Sometimes what I really need is somewhere to vent and a hug from someone who loves me and my hostile uterus.

So Internet gods, how am I supposed to relax when there are so many important things on my mind? I intellectually know there are benefits to being relaxed… but for me, it’s not that simple. I crave motherhood. I’m active in my desire to have a child. I am a participant in the realm of infertility and trying to get to parenthood. I am in quite a quandary: the thing that makes me look for peace and solace is the thing that stresses me out the most.

Dr. S summed it up nicely during one of my numerous visits when he asked about the unsolicited advice others have been offering. We talked about the “just relax” line when we were finished with my appointment. His response was dead on the money: “The people who sit back, relax and do nothing never end up pregnant. It takes some initiative to get pregnant for some of us.”

He gets it. He really, really gets it. No wonder I really like my doctor. 


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