Resolutions for Anyone Trying to Get Pregnant

刘 秀荣

Resolutions for Anyone Trying to Get Pregnant.

Resolutions for Anyone Trying to Get Pregnant

Whether you’re just starting to try to get pregnant or dealing with infertility , these 12 resolutions will guide you to get the help you need, cope better, become a more empowered patient, and improve your health while boosting fertility.

Each resolution explains why it’s good for those trying to conceive and offers several possible take-action tips.

But I don’t expect (or recommend!) that you make all 12 resolutions today!

Instead, consider picking just one resolution per month. From the take action tips provided with each resolution, you may decide to tackle just one or try a few.

Here are resolutions for you to consider.

Resolve to Get Help Getting Pregnant

What the resolution is:

To talk to your doctor , find a fertility clinic , or take the next step in getting help to get pregnant.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

Surveys have found that many couples put off getting help for their fertility , despite trying for over a year. Some causes of infertility worsen over time, and if you’re over 35 , increasing age can reduce your odds for success.

Even those who have made the initial appointment may procrastinate on getting testing done, finding a fertility clinic, or making treatment decisions.

Don’t waste time. Get the help you need!

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Depending on where you are on your trying to conceive path, your actionable steps will be different.

  • Just starting out trying to get pregnant? Make a preconception appointment with your gynecologist.
  • Have you been trying for six months (if you’re over 35), or for a year (if you’re younger than 35)? Make an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss your fertility challenges.
  • Do you already have a referral to a fertility clinic? Start looking for a fertility clinic.
  • Already find a clinic? Make your next appointment, whether it’s for an initial consultation or just the next appointment.
  • Are you supposed to schedule a fertility test and not yet done so? Is your partner supposed to have a semen analysis ? Schedule it and get it done.
  • Are you struggling to decide between your fertility treatment options ? Or can’t decide or agree with your partner on what to do next? Make an appointment to meet with an experienced fertility counselor .

Resolve to Make a Financial Plan of Action

What the resolution is:

To get your finances in order, cut down debt , and begin saving money so you’re ready for the expenses of parenthood or, if you should need expensive fertility treatments, in a better position to pay.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

There are two very good reasons every person trying to conceive should get their budget under control:

  1. If all goes well, you’ll have a new little person soon. Little people cost a lot of money.
  2. If you have trouble trying to conceive, and you should need cash for fertility testing or treatments, you’ll be much better prepared to deal with the financial impact.

I understand that for the new trying-to-conceiver, the idea of saving money in case you need fertility treatments may seem unnecessary. So don’t do it for that reason. Tell yourself it’s for the baby. And then , if you should be so unlucky to need fertility treatments, well, how great is it that you’ve saved!

For those already deep in infertility land, it’s even more important to have a financial plan of action.

A study in The Journal of Urology had 332 couples keep an expense diary, tracking how much they spent over 18 months of treatment. The average out-of-pocket expense was $5,338. Couples who used just medication spent an average of $912, while those using IVF averaged around $19,840.

Not surprisingly, a separate study found that cost was the biggest source of anxiety for over 80% of IVF patients.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Just starting out trying to conceive? Here are ways for you to start a financial action plan:

  • Go over your monthly bills and expenses. Make a budget and savings plan.
  • Make a realistic plan to start paying off your credit cards.
  • Commit to spending less on pregnancy tests. (I can see your secret stash from here!)
  • Consider wise investing if you’re already debt free.

Facing IVF or other high-cost treatments? In addition to the above tips, here are more ways for you to take action:

  • Set a time to meet with a financial advisor at the fertility clinic to discuss possible options. Ask about clinic discounts and possible scholarships.
  • Call up other clinics and compare prices (while, of course, also taking into consideration the medical care you can expect to receive there.)
  • Discuss your financial limitations with your doctor and ask if there are any lower cost options. Ask if everything you’re being recommended to do is really necessary, and ask to cut out what isn’t.
  • If you’re open to the idea, ask your doctor about egg sharing (where you share your eggs with a woman who needs an egg donor) or embryo donation (where a couple donates their embryos to you).
  • Make a date with your partner to go over your bills. If you’re considering borrowing money , make a realistic pay-back plan before you get a loan.
  • Look into your funding options, which may include insurance (even if you think you’re not covered), flexible spending accounts, crowdfunding , borrowing money, grants , IVF refund programs and multi-cycle bundles, and clinic payment plans.
  • Research several funding options before you decide what to do , so you don’t go for a bad deal. (For example, the credit line offered by your fertility clinic may have worse interest rates than other borrowing options.)

Resolve to Reach Out for Emotional Support

What the resolution is:

To stop trying to get through trying to conceive stress alone and reach out for support, whether from loves ones, from fellow trying-to-conceivers, or from a professional counselor.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

Infertility can be a stressful, emotional time . Research has found that the emotional pain associated with infertility is comparable to those who go through cancer, HIV, or chronic pain.

Support can help alleviate the stress, so reach out. Don’t do this alone!

Depression is common among those with infertility. If you think you’re depressed, please see a counselor. Some research has found that depression can impact fertility, and while you should get help regardless of your conception odds, maybe knowing this will help motivate you to talk to someone.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some possible action steps you can take to get more support:

  • Tell a close friend or family member about your fertility struggles, and actually talk to them when you’re stressing out. Stop keeping your infertility a secret.
  • Teach your friends and family how to support you.
  • Contact RESOLVE or your fertility clinic and ask about joining a support group .
  • Start a fertility blog , and get involved in the infertility online community.
  • Make an appointment to see a therapist . (Being experienced with infertility counseling is a bonus, but not necessarily required.)
  • Consider “coming out” about your infertility to your friends and family. (Though this isn’t for everyone , and should be considered carefully.)

Resolve to Eat Better and Move More

What the resolution is:

To improve your diet and add exercise and regular movement to your day not only because you’re trying to get pregnant but because you are worth taking care of.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

While the effect of diet on fertility is not yet clear, many research studies have found possible correlations between what we eat and our odds for getting pregnant.

We do know that being over or underweight can negatively impact fertility . Some studies have found that a 5 to 10% weight loss can have a positive effect on fertility, so if you have a lot of weight to lose, and your ideal goal weight seems unbearably far away, consider aiming for a 7% weight loss instead.

Eating healthier and engaging in regular exercise can also improve your overall mood. Given that infertility is emotionally stressful, whatever you can do to improve how you feel is worth doing.

Just beware of making diet or exercise resolutions with the sole purpose of getting pregnant. If your main reason to lose weight is so you can get pregnant, you may fall back on unhealthy eating habits after negative pregnancy tests or when you’re feeling less than hopeful.

So don’t resolve to eat better to get pregnant. Do it because it’s good for you!

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to put this resolution into action:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your diet and fitness plans. Ask for resources to help you be successful, and be sure your doctor rules out medical causes for weight problems.
  • Make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist . (If your doctor gives you a referral, this may be covered by your insurance.)
  • Check out the local gym or YMCA and sign up for a fun exercise class.
  • Decide to dump an unhealthy habit .
  • Call up a friend and make a regular walking date.
  • Consider making an appointment with a personal trainer , either to get a plan you can work on by yourself, or in order to set up regular appointments together. (Ask your local gym if membership includes access to a personal trainer.)
  • Learn what you can about fertility and diet and fertility superfoods .
  • Add more vegetables – in a variety of colors and shades – to your daily diet.
  • Shun fad diets and cut back on excessive exercise , which can harm your fertility.

Resolve to Become an Empowered Patient

What the resolution is:

To take responsibility for your health care by asking questions, researching your options, and choosing your care providers wisely. This resolution can also include helping to empower others, by becoming a health advocate or activist.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

To be empowered means to have the power to do something. In fact, all of us have the power to ask questions and make decisions regarding our medical care, but not all of us act as if we do.

Dealing with fertility problems tends to put people in a position they may not have experienced before. Suddenly, you may need to take more proactive steps to get the information you need to make difficult or complicated decisions.

Especially in America, where fertility treatment isn’t required to be covered by insurance in most states, you also have more financial decisions to make than before, and those decisions also impact your medical treatment.

Should you try mini-IVF – which is less expensive but not for everyone – or regular IVF , which costs more but has more research behind it? Should you transfer a single embryo – which will reduce your risks of conceiving twins, but may possibly mean you’ll need additional treatment cycles before you succeed – or transfer two or more embryos, which might boost your odds of conceiving in particular cycle but put you and your babies at risk if they all “stick?”

Ways to put the resolution into action:

The more you know, the more you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your care. The more you take responsibility for your care – instead of leaving it all up to the doctor (or fate) – the better care you will receive.

  • Pay attention to your body. Share what you find with your doctor, even the symptoms that you’re not sure are related or the symptoms you’re embarrassed about . You may be holding information that will help your doctor help you.
  • Learn whatever you can about fertility. Read books on fertility and infertility from trusted sources; be brave and dig into the backs of books, where the research studies are frequently listed.
  • Always ask your doctor about the success rates and risks of any proposed treatment. Ask for general information, but also ask about their experience with patients similar to your.
  • Before you go to appointments, write your questions down so you a) don’t forget to ask them, and b) feel braver about speaking up. It’s ok to ask your doctor questions. Really!
  • If you’re unsure about your options or what to do next, get your doctor’s opinions, but also speak to a fertility counselor who is not directly connected to the fertility clinic.
  • Does your current doctor not listen to your concerns or answer your questions? Consider finding a new doctor or switching fertility clinics.
  • Empower yourself by empowering others: Became a fertility activist. Get involved with your local RESOLVE chapter, or start a fertility blog .

Resolve to Practice One Stress Reducing Activity Daily

What the resolution is:

To make a stress reducing practice – like yoga, prayer, meditation, or journaling – part of your daily routine.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

As you already know, trying to conceive can be stressful . There are a number of activities and relaxation techniques that can help us cope better, but many think relaxation is limited to vacation time. Or that stress reducing techniques should only be used during a stressful moment (which, by the way, is when we’re most likely to forget to use them!)

But we’d all be a lot happier – and less stressed! – if we took time every day to relax. Also, if a stress reducing activity is part of your daily routine, you’ll be more likely to remember it when you need it most.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

For best results, choose something that can be done in a short period of time, and make a decision to do it at the same time every day. Some options include:

  • Yoga . Attending a yoga class is great, but your daily practice may include just five minutes of poses in the morning or evening. Maybe you’ll do a few sun salutations , some chair yoga at your desk, or this 10 to 15 minute series of yoga poses .
  • Meditation . I especially like Headspace , which is a free app you can use on your phone or on your computer.
  • Guided imagery . You can listen before bed. There are fertility specific programs, but any guided imagery program can help.
  • Walking . You can meet with a coworker and go for a stress-reducing daily walk at lunch, or go walking in the morning or evening with your partner or by yourself.
  • Art or writing. You might try writing in a daily journal, scribbling in a sketch book, or even buying a coloring book meant for adults. (Yes, they make coloring books for adults!)

Find more options in this list of mind body therapies for fertility .

Resolve to Reclaim the Non-Fertility Aspects of Your Life

What the resolution is:

To remember and embrace the things you did before trying to conceive took over your life.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

Can you remember what you used to do before you started trying to get pregnant? What did you do for fun? Who did you hang out with? What did you read? What was important to you?

If you can’t remember – or you can, but it feels like a distant memory – why not bring some or one of those things back into your life?

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to reclaim what you used to love doing:

  • Have you been neglecting any old friends? Make a list of people you haven’t been in touch with. (And no, reading and liking their Facebook statuses doesn’t count.) Call them up, either just for a chat or to make a lunch date.
  • Can’t remember what you used to do? If you’re lucky enough to have digital or hard copies of your calendars, look back and see what you scheduled before fertility tests and fertility drug injections filled your day planner.
  • Go digging in your closets or storage room. Got any old yarn in there from when you used to knit? Or puzzles? Or easels? Piles of unorganized photographs? Or even a musical instrument you haven’t touched in years? Pick it back up and start again!
  • Sit down with your partner and make a list of things you would love to do. They can be things you once did or things you haven’t yet tried. Write down the realistic and the crazy, the things for now and the things for “the future.”
  • Pick one thing from the list you made with your partner and take action to do it.

Resolve to Get Better Sleep

What the resolution is:

To get the sleep you need, at the hours you need them.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

While the role of sleep and fertility isn’t complete understood, some studies have found a correlation between those who don’t get enough sleep and an increased risk of irregular menstrual cycles , endometriosis , infertility, and miscarriage.

Not getting enough sleep may also lead to eating an increased amount of calories the next day, which then can lead to weight gain. Being overweight can negatively impact your fertility.

Getting more sleep may also help you handle stress of trying to conceive better. (Hormones + lack of sleep + another negative pregnancy test = Meltdown waiting to happen!)

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to improve your sleep.

  • Are you a shift worker? If possible, seriously consider switching to daytime hours, just for while you’re trying to conceive.
  • Start a bedtime routine .
  • Set an alarm to remind you to get ready for bed about an hour before you hope to be asleep.
  • Stop using computers, smart phones, and televisions an hour before you’d like to fall asleep. The artificial light can make your brain think it’s still daylight.
  • Read before bed, but not on a backlit screen!
  • Try out guided imagery .
  • Try out a sleep app.
  • Use thick curtains and turn off or cover all electronics so no light disturbs your sleep.
  • If anxiety or depression is leading to trouble sleeping , consider speaking to a counselor.

Resolve to Find Some Compassion for Yourself

What the resolution is:

To see and treat yourself in a kinder light, and let go of shame and self-blame.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

Infertility tends to attract judgments from other people and, unfortunately, from yourself. You need someone on your side. Why shouldn’t that person be you?

Research has found that infertile couples are more likely to experience shame and negative self-judgments. They are also more likely to be shamed by others. (Hence the need for articles like What Not to Say to an Infertile Friend .) Infertility patients with high levels of shame are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as well.

Alternatively, self-compassionate people are less likely to experience anxiety from stress and less likely to catastrophize negative situations. (To put it into context, they are less likely to believe their “life will be over” if they never get pregnant.) They are also more likely to take pro-active steps to improve their lives, and are less likely to let fear of failure hold them back.

The good news is self-compassion can be learned.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to find more compassion for yourself:

  • Have inner conversations on paper. Write a letter to an imaginary friend, and spill out what’s troubling you. Then, write back to yourself as you would to a dear friend. Be that wise, compassionate friend to yourself.
  • When you catch yourself judging yourself harshly, take a few deep breaths, and remember that you wouldn’t let anyone speak to your best friend that way.
  • Let go of blaming yourself for your current fertility problems.The past is over; focus on the present and the near future.
  • Pick up some books on self-compassion, like The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher K. Germer or Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff .
  • Watch Dr. Brené Brown's TED talks on vulnerability and shame . Also check out her book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) , which includes a great section on infertility. (The entire book, though, is a must read.)
  • If you find yourself constantly beating yourself up or battling negative thoughts, consider therapy. A good therapist will model compassion, which you can learn from her.

Resolve to Obsess Less

What the resolution is:

To cut down on the time and energy spent on trying-to-conceive obsessions.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

How many pregnancy tests have you taken in the past six months? If it’s more than five, you’re probably overdoing it. Also, if you took more than five, you’re probably taking the tests too early . Even if you know you took it too early, seeing a negative pregnancy test can make you feel terrible.

How many hours do you spend on fertility forums? Or reading infertility blogs? There is a fine line between getting support online and online “support” becoming a problem.

And what about charting ? Do you pour over your body basal temperature chart multiple times a day? Like a psychic might over tea leaves, looking for a clue of whether this cycle will be the cycle?

If you’re guilty of any of the above, know that you’re not alone. But also be aware that you can choose to cut back, and that cutting back will be good for your well-being and health.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are ways to cut back on obsessing:

  • Set aside a particular time every day for “obsessing.”  When you feel the desire to check your BBT chart off hours, remind yourself that you can do it during your scheduled obsessing time.
  • Watch your urges to obsess. When you feel tempted to take an early pregnancy test or check the fertility blogs, go get a drink of water, get up from your desk and walk around, go look out a window. The delay may be enough to stop you, and if not, being aware of the urges will gradually help you cut back.
  • Remind yourself that it’s practically impossible to tell the different from normal two week wait symptoms and pregnancy symptoms .
  • Don’t keep a stockpile of pregnancy tests in your house. If you don’t have the tests, you won’t use them.
  • Use software that blocks or limits the time you spend on addictive sites, like Leechblock , StayFocusd , or Anti-Social .  Check out RescueTime if you want to see how long you’re spending on certain sites.
  • Consider taking a break from trying to conceive .
  • Talk to a therapist if your thoughts about trying to conceive are getting in the way of living your life, or if you feel unable to take control of your habits yourself.

Resolve to Reclaim Your Sexiness and Your Sex Life

What the resolution is:

To remember and reclaim sex as more than a means to get pregnant.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

Once upon a time, before you started trying to conceive, you likely looked at sex differently. Sex wasn’t only about getting (or not getting) pregnant. It was a way to connect with your partner, to show each other love, to have fun, and to feel good.

Infertility can have a strong negative effect on how men and women see themselves sexually, and on how they view sex. Add in depression, or needing to work around fertility treatment restrictions, and sex can feel like a burden instead of a pleasure.

Your body is not just a broken fertility machine. The body and sexual excitement you had before you had trouble trying to conceive is still there for you, somewhere hiding. You can rediscover it.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to reclaim your sex life and your sexiness:

  • Read up on how infertility affects sex , so you can see that you’re not alone.
  • Give up on timed sexual intercourse if it’s bringing down your libido or relationship. Frequent sex – two to three times a week – is less stressful and can still help you get pregnant.
  • Take the time to take care of and pamper your body.
  • Enjoy non-sexual touch together, like massage.
  • Speak to your doctor if sex is painful. This may be a symptom of something more serious, and there may also be treatment available.
  • Consider seeing a sex therapist who has experience with infertility.
  • Find more ways to spice things up when trying to conceive here.

Resolve to See Yourself as More Than Your Fertility

What the resolution is:

To see yourself as more than your fertility.

Why trying-to-conceivers should resolve to do it:

The desire to have a child is a key part of many people’s lives, and when you’ve grown up assuming that of course you’ll be a mom or dad, thinking that may not happen can be heartbreaking.

However... your life is so much more than your fertility. And while I know you may feel like not becoming a parent would “destroy” your life, it really won’t. It’ll just change it.

You’ll mourn, and yes, you’ll feel loss. But you’ll also go on to be and do many more things in your life.

You are much more than your fertility.

Ways to put the resolution into action:

Here are some ways to see yourself and your life beyond your fertility:

  • Make a list of statements that fill in the blank, “I am ____________ .” and “I am a ________.” One of those may be “I am infertile.” But what else are you?
  • Look at the “I am a _______ .“ list that you wrote down, and pick one “identity” to focus on. For example, if you wrote “I am a teacher,” consider how you can further embrace that part of your life.
  • If you're coping with secondary infertility , you may have even written, "I am a mother/father." How can you refocus on the child or children you have?
  • Make a list of what is important to you. The list can include anything from the personal to the political. Once you have your list, choose one thing on that list to get more involved in.
  • Consider starting a gratitude practice , which may help you see the small good things in your life even when times are tough.
  • Take some time to imagine and consider your Plan B. What will you do with your life if you can’t get pregnant? Would you adopt? If not, what would your life look like? Seriously discuss with your partner these plans, in a realistic non-catastrophizing way. Just having the Plan B, even if you never use it, can help you remain calmer in times of infertility stress.
  • Consider what it would take to decide not to pursue further treatment . (There are no right or wrong answers to this.)
  • When you’re ready, consider alternative ways to be involved in the life of a child besides parenting. You can do this in the midst of trying to conceive as well as after. (In other words, this isn’t just for those who will remain childfree.)