How to cope when you can’t fall pregnant

We all have those friends or family members who seem to fall pregnant the instant they decide to have a child. This is fantastic for them, however, for those who have been trying for months to conceive, or maybe years, the news can be bitter-sweet.  What hurts even more is when people ask “when are you going to start a family!?”, not realising you have been trying and agonising over it, or when you see, yet again, ANOTHER negative pregnancy test result.

Every month, if you have a 28-day cycle, is a waiting game. There’s hoping, but also not wanting to get your hopes up. Lots of Googling about what could possibly help with falling pregnant. Oh, and don’t forget all the money you’ve spent on ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, and (for those further along the journey) specialist appointments. There’s the feeling of grief when you get your period, there’s tears, feelings of inadequacy, anger, and sometimes sheer despair.

A lot of people don’t realise that you don’t have to lose a child or a pregnancy to experience loss, stress, grief, and a sense of hopelessness.  They also don’t realise that when you reach out for help and to talk it out, that “you’re stressing too much, try to relax” is not helpful.

This is why accessing professional support can be so helpful.  Falling pregnant can be extremely difficult, and more distressing than most people realise (unless they have been through it themselves). And whilst I would love for you to call us and book in if you are facing this very issue, I know that your journey is yours, and you need to do what’s right for you at this point in time. So, what can you do to help yourself?

  • Get educated – You need to learn how your cycle works – start tracking it in an app. Many women have cycles which are not 28 days in length, which could mean you aren’t trying to conceive when you are actually ovulating (you can purchase ovulation kits to help you work this out).
  • Speak to your GP – they may be able to conduct some tests, provide you with some more information, or refer you to a specialist if they have reasons to believe you need extra intervention.
  • Take better care of yourself – this means eating well, taking time to unwind, to exercise, and have fun. Start cutting out things that aren’t good for your body, such as smoking, binge drinking, or taking illicit drugs. Think about what makes you happy, and DO IT. Do the things you may not be able to do as easily if you start a family.
  • Connect with others on the same journey – there are lots of supportive Facebook groups you can join where people share their stories, resources, and a laugh.
  • Remember, you have options! IVF has come a long way and is now more accessible and affordable than ever with private (e.g. Monash and Melbourne IVF) and public IVF clinics available in Melbourne (e.g. Adora Fertility, formerly Primary IVF).
  • Talk it out with someone you trust – sometimes just talking it out can make the world of difference. Bear in mind, your trusted person will try to alleviate your worries by offering advice or solutions, but if you just need them to sit and listen, let them know. If you want them to distract you, say so. Ask for what you need.
  • Let go of your expectations, “shoulds” and the comparing – Don’t compare yourself to the person who fell pregnant within their first month of trying. Mind you, this is quite unusual – 8 months is the average time it takes for a woman to conceive! Also, let go of all the “shoulds” you have (e.g. “I should be pregnant by now”). These thoughts are not helpful. If you find yourself doing this, kindly remind yourself that you’re doing your best and do something nice for yourself.
  • If you’ve been trying to fall pregnant for over a year, ask your GP to refer you to a specialist – Specialists can check if you are actually ovulating, if there are any medical issues which need addressing (e.g. PCOS, partner’s low sperm count), and guide you on the best way to move forward.

Remember, this is a journey, and your journey is unique. How you navigate your way through is totally up to you.  If at any time on your journey you’d like some extra support, give our office a call. We’re always here to help.



 About the author:

This blog was written by Laura Forlani, Director and Clinical Psychologist at Your Mind Matters.      

Laura has experience helping adults overcome a wide variety of difficulties such as mood and anxiety disorders, problems arising due to changes in personal circumstances (e.g. family breakdown or a change in career) and has a special interest in helping clients on their journey to becoming parents.

Laura’s approach to therapy involves education, collaboration, and evidence-based interventions such as cognitive-behaviour therapy, skills training, and relaxation strategies.