The truth about conception: part III

We’ve been speaking to couples who didn’t conceive immediately – asking how they felt, whether they had treatment and what helped them to become pregnant. Today, we hear from Ruth and Ollie about their conception journey…

Ruth, 28, and Ollie, 33, started trying to conceive in December 2014. seven months later, they are expecting their first baby. They talk us through the waiting, anxiety and realisation that a change of lifestyle was necessary. 

She says:
“I didn’t think too much about how long it would take as I knew that if it was going to happen, it would take the amount of time it was going to take. My thoughts were more on if it would happen at all and if it did would I miscarry.

When I was feeling stressed about other things I became more confused and frustrated with not becoming pregnant. What would stress me the most was waiting to see if I would have a period and it turned into a vicious cycle because I was stressed anyway, my menstrual cycle was becoming irregular.

After about four months of trying and nothing happening we decided to stop trying and to focus other things going on in our lives. However, we would always change our minds on this and then think about trying to get pregnant again.

We didn’t seek medical advice because I knew that they would say we hadn’t tried for long enough to receive any treatment. I also knew that the reason I wasn’t conceiving was because of stress and I needed to focus on how I was going to eliminate or change this source of stress.

I think that if I had changed my lifestyle and there had still been no luck I would have gone to see a doctor. I like to do a lot of forward planning and am quite a determined person, so if the cause of not getting pregnant wasn’t what I was assuming (a high-pressured job), I would have wanted some reassurance and guidance about my next steps.

I resigned from my job and six weeks later we went on holiday. I became pregnant as soon as I took a break. This was seven months after we had started trying. When we found out I was full of different emotions. My husband was over the moon, but all the practicalities of being unemployed and pregnant filled my mind. All of a sudden I felt incredibly irresponsible even though this was something I had wanted for so long.

After a few days – and with the support of my husband and family – I allowed myself to feel the excitement and happiness that I had been scared of. Together we have made a bit of an action plan as to how we will financially support ourselves. I have been comforted in thinking that most people seem to think there is never a perfect time for a baby and we are so ready that even though when we found out I felt panicked that it wasn’t the right time; it now feels like the right time regardless of other circumstances.

It is an incredibly personal and sensitive subject, which everyone has an opinion about

I’m not sure if the waiting has changed how I feel about being pregnant, as I think I would feel the same about any pregnancy; relief, happiness, excitement, worry etc. But I am really looking forward to becoming a mum and I know we are incredibly fortunate as even though it felt hard at the time, we didn’t have to try for so long in comparison to others and thankfully we are able to conceive naturally.

When other people announced pregnancies, before we’d conceived, I felt happy for them. I don’t think that we had suffered the pain of not conceiving for long enough to feel anything else.

My advice for other couples trying to conceive: relax and don’t stress. Going on holiday worked for us! Also think carefully about your lifestyle before/when trying and try and change as many factors as you can that you know have an impact on fertility.

It is an incredibly personal and sensitive subject, which everyone has an opinion about. I think now that I am experiencing it I will be a lot more sympathetic to others in the future.”

He says:
I thought it would take one to two years. I felt quite relaxed about the whole process because I knew whatever happened would be the natural path for us, though I did – at some points – feel concerned that it might not happen.

We didn’t seek any medical advice or have any kind of treatment. If it hadn’t happened after trying for more than two years, I might have considered going to see a doctor. But if my wife had thought differently I would have probably changed my mind.

When we find out I was very excited and happy. I’m not viewing the pregnancy differently, having waited longer for it to happen.

When we were trying, if other people told us they were expecting a baby, we felt happy for them; other people’s lives are not a direct reflection on ours.

My advice for other couples trying to conceive? Relax! Talk to each other and be honest so you understand how you are both feeling about the journey to parenthood.”

Names have been changed