We have all heard stories about women who stop birth control and the next month they are pregnant. In reality, the chances of getting pregnant for the average couple with no problems is somewhere between 15-25% every month. Starting in your 30’s, your chances steadily diminish with a steep drop in your 40’s. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. If you are over 35 years of age, it is wise to contact your care provider to discuss baseline testing to find out if there are any problems after 6 months of unprotected sex.
All this being said, statistics mean nothing to a woman attempting to get pregnant when it’s just not working. I have experienced fertility problems while trying to conceive both of my children and I learned a lot about my body along the way. I recently had a friend ask for advice on how to help a family member dealing with infertility and it reminded me of my journey to have children. Here are a few things I feel can be helpful to women having trouble conceiving (or really any woman in the planning of their family):
Know your body. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is an amazing book that explains everything you could ever need to know about female reproduction. It is good information about trying and not trying to get pregnant. It is also valuable to track your cycles using a fertility app such as Fertility Friend.
Focus on what you can control. Eat healthy, take probiotics, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. Above all try not to obsess or stress out about trying to conceive (easier said than done, I know).
Don’t panic if you are facing infertility or if you feel there might be a problem. If you arm yourself with knowledge about your body and your cycles, it will be easier for your care provider to figure out what is going on.
Every woman will have a different journey creating her family. Although my path was difficult, it was all part of the story. It has shaped me as a mother and it is now shaping me as an artist and photographer. Whether the journey was long or short, it will change you.