TTC and fertility anxiety
Rosieposy89 · 05/06/2019 18:42
Hello all, this is my first post here, I guess I'm looking for some words of wisdom. I'm 30 and my husband is 34. We are trying to conceive our first baby and have been trying since January 2019 - so not long in the grand scheme of things I know. I have felt ready to try for over a year though but delayed it until after our wedding as my husband wanted to wait.
I am finding the whole ttc thing incredibly stressful. I have issues with health anxiety which have affected me on/off since I was a teen. Its triggered by not being in control and so obviously this has really flared up my anxiety. I worry a lot that we have underlying fertility issues eventhough there's no real evidence and when my period turns up each month I am really upset. My poor husband feels really helpless. I am aware that anxiety is at the root of this and its irrational.
I'm not tracking my cycles or anything as I think that would reinforce my anxiety and I am trying not to care so much but it's hard. We DTD at least 4 times a week (this has always been our normal).
I'm sorry for the moany post and I know others have had a much more difficult journey so I do feel guilty posting this.
Has anyone experienced crippling levels of anxiety around ttc and their fertility and how did you switch off from it all?
Liverbird77 · 05/06/2019 20:33
Yep. I can totally relate. My anxiety was compounded by the fact that I never appeared to be ovulating... just one test showed that I was, the rest were negative, month after month.
In the end, I just thought sod it and stopped testing. I did have the Ovia app and recorded certain data like periods/when we dtd.
It took us 8 months in the end.
I was also worried because I had been on cerazette for three years and I had read horror stories.
My advice is to have lots of sex and try not to overthink. If nothing happens after a year then I would consider a chat with the dr
Rosieposy89 · 05/06/2019 20:51
Thanks so much @Liverbird77 that's a great help. I'm glad you got there in the end. I think you've highlighted why I won't touch OPKs - they aren't reliable and if I don't get a positive result I'll worry more. I was on cerazette too and spent many months worrying my periods wouldn't come back but they did the month after.
Thank you for your advice, I guess there's no point worrying at this point
BaweB · 06/06/2019 05:07
I think this is quite normal. I have OCD and got very obsessed with TTC - was convinced I wasn't going to conceive naturally and that IVF would fail etc etc. It's the lack of control and certainty that is difficult to deal with.
I did track my ovulation using BBT just to confirm I was ovulating. It was a decision I gave some thought to as I was concerned it might trigger me but actually it was helpful as it just told me that I was regularly ovulating and that my luteal phase was long enough. I would recommend it.
Try not to stress - it takes an average couple a year so there's really nothing to worry about. Be strict about taking tests etc as I think that can spiral. Oh, and stay off Google - the vast majority of people have no issues conceiving!
Also, the best advice I had was to have sex every other day from the 5 days before my earliest ovulation date to 2 days after my latest. It takes the thinking out of it.
I am now 4 months pregnant and really regret all the angst and tears I wasted when TTC.
Good luck xx
xELENx · 06/06/2019 07:25
I'm the same-ish. Been married a year and DH and I will both be 35 in a few months. TTC #1 (first cycle) and although I want a family, I'm more anxious about being pregnant and the health risks and potential complications that could arise from it. I have PCOS which makes a pregnancy 'high risk' (so I've heard). I've suffered with health anxiety for years and the thought of not being in control/being ill means I'm actually scared to get a positive result and would prob be relieved if my test was negative.
It's horrible feeling this way as we do want kids of our own but I'm terrified of having to carry and birth them.
LoveTheBear85 · 06/06/2019 10:01
I hear ya!
I have had to be really strict about testing and OPKs, as I knew if I became obsessive, sex would be mechanical and I would stress out more. I tried tracking my temperature for a bit, but gave up as I kept forgetting. The only things I track are my cycles and sometimes sex.
I have had a suspicion that my cycles mean I don't ovulate and it was helpful when I saw the GP about it. But I try hard not to get hung up on the app.
Could you see your doctor about any concerns? Not necessarily just for fertility (as you say, Jan to now isn't very long at all), but for the mental health side of things too?
Sleepyhead11 · 06/06/2019 10:18
This thread is so relatable so thank you for starting it OP.
@BaweB I have diagnosed OCD too and am finding ttc incredibly triggering. I'm wondering if CBT techniques could help but haven't found any specifically tailored to ttc. Have you? Like you I've been anxious about tracking ovulation and in the end decided not to, but might begin next month?
It's tough isn't it @Rosieposy89? So many friends had a very easy time conceiving so it feels like I must have something wrong with me, even though this is maybe illogical as only cycle 4.
I remember once being told when I was worried about something else that you will worry anyway, whatever you do, and telling yourself not to will make it worse. I was told to allocate an hour a day when I was allowed to worry/obsess as a way to stop it taking over my life. Not sure if it works for ttc though?
I might jump on June bus today, but been putting it off, because although I like the support all the people testing early tempts me to do same.
@xELENx that sounds tough, but I think high risk means you will be consultant led and have more support/scans etc to make sure you're baby is OK.
purplefig · 06/06/2019 10:51
I cannot second the therapy suggestions enough. The issue isn't TTC, the issue is your anxiety. TTC is just a trigger for it.
ts triggered by not being in control and so obviously this has really flared up my anxiety
I can totally relate to this. I used to struggle pretty bad with anxious thoughts and it would flare up anytime I felt out of control. But through therapy and studying mindfulness/meditation I've come to realise that we're never truly in control of much at all and it's only in accepting that - and learning to live with the ebbs and flow and changeable nature of life - that anxiety has lessened it's grip on my life.
If I were you, I'd seriously look into getting some therapy soon. CBT is proven to improve anxiety, but I just did talk therapy with a local therapist and even that helped. Because while this particular issue might be resolved by getting that BFP, your underlying anxiety will simply manifest elsewhere in your life e.g. pregnancy, parenting etc.
All the best and wishing you very, well well!
xELENx · 06/06/2019 12:58
Thanks @Sleepyhead11 I'd read that PCOS puts pregnant women at higher risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. All of which are concerning but if you are monitored more closely/regularly then I suppose these issues can be addressed quite quickly x
Rosieposy89 · 06/06/2019 18:54
Congratulations @BaweB - I am glad you get there in the end. Maybe I will try temping and just keep myself busy. Its so easy to lose perspective when anxiety takes root. Thank you sharing your experience, I feel less alone x
Rosieposy89 · 06/06/2019 18:59
@xElenx I'm sorry you have health anxiety too, it is awful. Mine has been steady for years but I had a bladder scare end of 2017 which triggered a massive relapse and has left me vulnerable to it I think. I think if I do get pregnant I will worry excessively too - and about another human too. It's so hard. I guess loss of control is a big factor as you feel helpless. Good luck xx
Rosieposy89 · 06/06/2019 19:04
@purplefig - you talk a lot of sense and I really really appreciate. That's the thing with anxiety you move the goalposts all the time and I tell myself I'll be ok when I get the BFP and then it'll be i'll be okay when baby is born. Maybe I should use this time to try and fix these issues or at least lessen it. You are completely right in everything you say. Thank you xx
yellowgreenbluepurple · 06/06/2019 19:07
I struggle with not being able to fully control something. Personally I found OPKs made it easier for me as I knew when I was likely to ovulate. I have a friend who is the opposite through and she just found them more stressful. Do what is right for you, but I do sympathise as I found it took over my life whilst we were TTC.
xELENx · 06/06/2019 21:01
Hi @Rosieposey89 I'm sorry to hear about your health scare, it really does add fuel to the fire when your fears become reality!
I'm sure that when the time comes, we will be absolutely fine (I have to keep telling myself that).
I'm confident that there are people within the health system that specifically deal with anxiety ridden mums-to-be and support will be at hand if/when we need it 🤞
Good luck to you to, I'm sure it'll all be worth it in the end x
BaweB · 07/06/2019 01:28
@sleepyhead11 The best therapy for OCD is a type of CBT called ERP. It's the gold standard of treatment and can be adapted for any sort of OCD-type behaviour. In a nutshell, the key is to try and accept the uncertainty rather than engaging in behaviours or obsessive thought patterns where you try (and fail) to neutralise them and just end up reinforcing them.
So, for example, the thought, "I will never get pregnant" should be met with: "Maybe that's the case but you have no evidence to support that right now" rather than trying to Google reasons you may or may not. Does that make sense?
My therapist said that anxiety around TTC is natural but you need to be able to separate the OCD-type behaviours from the totally understandable anxiety. It's reasonable to track ovulation by BBT (some would say even sensible!) but it's not reasonable to take 5 pregnancy tests in one hour (I have done this...) Try to decide what is best for you - for me it was tracking BBT to ensure I was ovulating and then leaving the rest to nature by just having sex every other day around that time.
I hope this helps but please DM me if you want further help or advice! I've been there - I really get it!
Sleepyhead11 · 08/06/2019 08:47
@BaweB thank you, that all makes so much sense. I'm finding it difficult to focus on anything else atm and spending so much time googling other people's pregnancy tests by dpo. I might PM you later if that's OK? Thanks Xx
Marshmallow1992 · 08/06/2019 19:32
I was crippled with anxiety. We started ttc August 2018 after our wedding and it was all I could think about! I genuinely never thought it was going to happen to me. 9 months later, April 2019 and I was pregnant. Currently 7 weeks. I totally get how you feel. I don’t really have any advice sorry but just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in your feelings and just try to think a bit more positive. It will happen.
ER12 · 05/08/2022 17:54
Hi All, new here and first post.
I know this is an old thread that hasn’t been posted on in some time but I relate to all of the above and am currently going through TTC anxiety which DH is finding hard and doesn’t really understand I don’t think.
We have been trying for 8 months and have paid for a few tests privately which so far are not indicating any issues. I know I should feel grateful and relieved and we are still so early on still but my health anxiety is out of control as to why it hasn’t then happened yet and that there must be an underlying issue (close friends group have all fallen very quickly in the last year which hasn’t helped matters). Just wondering 3 years down the line how you got on and any tips for coping with the anxiety (if any!)? Thanks
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