"When I first found out that that I had not fallen pregnant the first time we had sex without contraceptives, I was beyond shocked. My husband and I had always been extremely mindful of safe sex as we didn't want to have a child right away after getting married. For the first 3 years of our marriage, I was on the pill in addition to using condoms. I would also rush to the restroom right after sex to make sure none of the little guys dare go anywhere near my cervix anytime before our planned timeline. I wish I knew how silly we were being.
Fast forward to today, we have left no stone unturned in trying to get pregnant. From stuffing myself with so-called "fertility-inducing" foods to trying all the fertility friendly positions under the sun, we've literally done it all. I follow a strict exercise regimen to make sure my body is in perfect shape to conceive and carry a baby. I have tried all different brands and kinds of prenatal vitamins in my quest to somehow not see the dreaded period every month.
I've cried, I've laughed it off and I've pretended to be not bothered about it, I've tried it all. But the truth is, this is my reality. That stares me everyday. Morning, noon and night. And during this most difficult time of my life, had I not found solace in learning from other people's experiences with infertility, I would have probably run amuck thinking I'm cursed."
Savannah, 32, from North Carolina married her high-school sweetheart, Mike 6 years ago. The first couple of years went by in a flash as they travelled around the world trying to create their own little love-story. Having kids right away was never a part of the plan. They wanted to wait for at least 3 years before starting to try. Anything sooner than that would be a nuisance to their honeymoon.
Plus, Savannah had recently switched jobs. Working as a UI design lead in a tech start-up meant working incredibly long hours and many weekends. Mike was in the process of starting his own real estate venture along with juggling a 9-5 job in advertising. The two just could not imagine a kid in the equation right away, They did of course absolutely adored children and wanted to have one eventually but just not at the moment.
28 countries and 3 years later, Mike and Savannah finally started trying to conceive. Birth control pills and packs of condoms gave way to prenatal vitamins and books about pregnancy Kama Sutra. The first time they had unprotected sex, Savannah purchased a home pregnancy test right away. They were excited.
As she peed on the stick a couple of days later, she got slightly disappointed to see a single line. Maybe they're right about using the test after the first morning pee. The next day she repeated the exercise. Much to her dismay, it was negative again. And she started her period two days after. Bummed out about failing the first time, the couple thought it's okay since not everyone falls pregnant right away.
Month after month of trying endlessly for the next three years though, convinced Mike and Savannah that they needed professional help.
"We experienced a rollercoaster of emotions throughout our struggle. The first couple of months were haunting and traumatic. I felt like the only person in the world who couldn't have a baby. I would often find myself mindlessly scrolling through pregnancy photoshoots, gender reveal parties, labor room videos, crying myself to sleep some days. I felt isolated and alone. I felt like every person in the world is capable of getting pregnant except me. At times it like felt my social media feed is being unnaturally bombarded with pregnancy and baby posts. It was driving me crazy. I had no one to talk to. Talking to Mike made me feel vulnerable. I thought he might judge me. I know I was being silly but I needed to vent to someone who had been through the exact same agony. I needed to hear stories of women who'd felt exactly what I was feeling.
The sad reality is that Savannah was not alone. In fact she is just 1 in every 8 women who cannot conceive naturally. It is much more common than we think it is. It's just that we don't have as many safe spaces, online or offline, where women TTC can converse and express themselves.
For Savannah, it was futile discussing her feelings with her friends who had absolutely no clue about what the wait is like. At best, they would only manage to offer her hollow consolations that it'll happen when the time is right. But would the time ever be right? Savannah knew that in addition to speaking to her ob/gyn and fertility specialist, she needed a community to feel that sense of belonging.
Fortunately for her, Savannah was able to find some great TTC forums and communities on Facebook, Instagram and web-blogs.
Being part of an online TTC community does not mean you're getting solicited advice 24/7, nor does it in anyway replace the professional advice you get from fertility experts. But learning about other people who have been through the same emotionally difficult phase in life really helps you relate and cope with your own reality. I was able to get more comfortable in my skin once I got to know the million different factors of infertility and how there's no tried and tested technique or fertility clinic for that matter, that would be the answer to your problems.
I also got tremendous amount of confidence as well as empathy as I found out about stories of many other brave families and couples, each fighting their own fertility battles.
My first and absolute favorite blog that I hopped on. You wouldn't believe the amount of friends I made through this community. Plus, the prose-like style that Alice follows just makes you want to read on and on.
For days when you're absolutely tired of consuming fertility literature, Karen Jeffries will surely put a smile on your face. Her light-hearted blog features countless hilarious memes that are just way too relatable for all us TTC folks.
Easily one of the most regularly updated blog in the fertility and IVF space, IVFBabble never misses a beat. Whether it's academic literature you're seeking or light, uplifting read, this blog has got it all.
Not gonna lie, this app was an embodiment of all the things I thought were missing from the fertility space. Built to connect individuals across fertility and motherhood, Peanut is a great way to meet, chat and learn from like-minded women.
Lastly, Resolve has always been a thought leader in the fertility industry and I was so relieved to find multiple online support resources and communities through their platform.