TTC? Here are 10 ways to stay sane

It’s one big waiting game when you’re trying for a baby. Don’t let the stress and anxiety get you down…

At the supermarket, you see mums waiting in line with squalling babies in their arms. At the malls, families with kids throng child-friendly attractions and restaurants.

To make things worse, your social media notifications constantly pop up with news of your friends getting pregnant.

Indeed, everyone seems to be having babies ― except you ― which makes the process of trying to conceive just that more fraught, stressful, heartbreaking even.

We are sure you’ve been receiving tons of advice from well-meaning relatives and friends, which can be frustrating ― and even embarrassing. Plenty of people may tell you to relax and it will happen.

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, notes that the emotional challenges are more impactful on women than men. “Societal expectations are high for a female to one day to become a mother and many women see it as a necessary achievement in life.”

He adds that women who are unable to conceive often react with shame, guilt and self-blame. “Psychological illnesses are pervasive in women with infertility and often, anxiety disorders and depression can set in.”

Dr Lim also notes that men, too, can experience disappointment and sadness when confronted with difficulty conceiving. “They feel ashamed if they are the ones who are infertile. Often, the routine of trying to conceive month after month can lead to both physical and mental burnout.”

In addition, when men and women try to conceive at a later age, “knowing that one’s fertility period is limited adds to the stress,” says Dr Lim.

Couples can add to each other’s stress ― particularly if they start pointing the finger at each other and question each other’s commitment.

“Psychological illnesses are pervasive in women with infertility and often, anxiety disorders and depression can set in.”

If the couple decides to go the way of fertility treatment, the process can take a toll on the couple “due to the time needed for treatment and the side effects,” says Dr Lim.

While it’s not easy, here are some strategies to ride out this difficult time.

1. Read up
If you haven’t already, find out all there is to know about conceiving. Get yours and your husband’s health checked, make sure you know what foods to eat and what to avoid, and get clued in on when is the best time of month for that baby-making to happen. If it doesn’t happen for a while, make sure you’re not doing anything wrong, like forgoing lubricant, or not having enough sex.

2. Be patient
Baby-making takes…a while. Rest assured that it will not happen right away, and this will ease your disappointment when you don’t see the double blue lines after your first few cycles. Gynaecologist Dr Christopher Chong explains that a fertile couple in their mid-20s who has sex regularly has a one in four chance of conceiving each month. What this also means is that three out of four will not conceive that particular month ― so take a deep breath, relax and stay positive!

Don’t neglect your relationship with your significant other ― tips ahead!