I was blissfully ignorant about the whole reproductive process before I had trouble conceiving. I honestly did not know that the actual window of conception was so short and that on most days of the month you aren’t fertile. Now that I know more about how it all works I am truly flabbergasted at the number of “accidental” pregnancies. Not only are there fewer days than I thought that can actually lead to conception, but there are also a lot of things that have to work perfectly to create a baby. You have to ovulate, the egg has to travel through the fallopian tube into the uterus, you have to introduce sperm in some way to the whole environment at the right time for it to fertilize the egg, the egg has to implant – no wonder that even if everything goes perfectly odds of conceiving are only as high as about 25 percent each month.
With those kind of statistics it is rational to expect that it can take some time to conceive. Rationality, however, is not my strong suit and after about six months I was ready to try to determine what was “wrong.” When I visited my doctor he quoted information that I was familiar with – about 70 percent of couples trying to have a baby will conceive within the first six months and by a year, around 85 percent will be pregnant. After a year (or six months depending on your age) of not getting pregnant after actively trying women are encouraged to see their doctor. So, at the six month mark I was advised to keep trying and not to worry until it had been a year.
At about eight or nine months when I was still not pregnant I began to “re-write” my reproductive history. After all, I had been married for a few years and we were never particularly careful about preventing pregnancy – so I reasoned that those months and years could also be counted as time that we spent trying to conceive. I conveniently “forgot” that we never really paid much attention to ovulation or peak fertility and that times when we were careless likely did not match up to times when a baby could even have been conceived. This impatience, and obsession with timem no doubt did much more harm than good. There is plenty of research that says people have more success if they do not track their cycles and just have regular intercourse on a weekly basis. Experts also say that stress can have a very negative impact on conception efforts. I really wish that I had given myself the year that it often takes for “normal,” fertile couples and that I did not become obsessed and stressed after only a relatively short time trying to conceive. I don’t think the outcome would have been any different, eventually we learned that we just were up against too many issues, but I do think that it would have been much better for my mental and emotional health to have just not worried about a thing until a true year was up.