I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, TTC can drive a person crazy. From the crazy emotional highs (ovulation occurred – high five!) to the crazy emotional lows (the arrival of dear Aunt Flow), it’s enough to make a person mental. Here’s what I affectionally refer to the as the Five Stage of a TTC Cycle.
Stage 1: The Depression Stage
Every cycle begins with the start of your period (or AF in TTC terms). Unfortunately the arrival of AF makes one thing glaringly obvious – you’re not pregnant. Despite still POAS (peeing on a stick) “just in case” this is when it really sinks in that it just isn’t your month. As much as I try to stay upbeat and hopeful during this time, I find it’s best to wallow for a bit and give myself a good cry. Wine helps. Wine helps a lot.
My last two cycles started on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Let me tell you, I was a real hoot this holiday season. The goal was to have a drink in my hand every time I spoke to a new relative. I found this tactic helpful in making it abundantly clear there was no bun in this oven and avoiding the awkward “do you have something you want to share with us?” smirks and winks. Plus, as I said above, wine helps.
Stage 2: The Game Plan Stage
Now that the gut wrenching realization you’re not pregnant has worn off, it’s time to start working out a game plan for this cycle. Every new cycle means a new tweak, whether it be tweaking timing, quantity, supplements, or any new tricks you just read about online. For instance, I just read somewhere that eating a pineapple core right after you ovulate helps with implantation. Guess who’s already planning their pineapple diet for this cycle? Good thing I like pineapple!
Stage 3: The Anxiety Stage
AF has come and gone, you have a plan set, and now it’s time to play the waiting game of when “O” will arrive. (O= ovulation) Since my cycles are somewhat irregular (I’ve ovulated anywhere between CD15 and CD23 in the four cycles I’ve charted), it’s really anyone’s guess when that will happen. I start OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) somewhere around CD12. OPKs are great for giving you a heads up that your hormones are surging and you’re about to ovulate. I like the ClearBlue Digital Tests, which give you an empty circle (no surge) or smiley face (surge ahead! You better step on it!). The anxiety really settles in when you’re on your 10th day of testing and all you’ve seen are empty circles.
Stage 4: The Make-a-Baby Stage
Stage 5: The Two Week Wait
I like to say your mental state during the two week wait is comparable to your mental state while tapering before a big marathon. You put in all the work, now it’s time to rest up and “trust your training.” Only, who really listens to that advice? Instead we start questioning every little twinge and obsessively google weather reports, race recaps, training run data, etc. (or if you’re in the two-week wait, it’s obsessively googling symptoms, reading BFP success stories, and comparing your chart to every other chart you can get your hands on). In the end we have no control over anything during this period, but it’s nice to think we might.
And then it starts all over again….