The baggage of TTC

Way before we got pregnant I (jay) remember reading people’s blogs and sometimes feeling astonished that pregnancy wasn’t all a bed of roses. Of course, I respected bloggers’ views, even if I didn’t understand them, but I really thought that being pregnant was kind of the answer to everything. For us, anyway.  But it so isn’t.

I’m typing in slow motion here – when I usually churn out dozens of words by the minute – because I’m finding it hard so to articulate this whole thing, but I do have to get it out, somehow. So if there is more waffle here than usual, I do apologise. Truth be told, I’m really scared about posting this.

Um, yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon that vee is pregnant and I TOTALLY can’t wait to be a mum, but I don’t feel as “cleansed” as I thought I might.  It’s so weird. I feel blah a lot of the time. Before we got pregnant, I was taking St John’s Wort as I had a kind of mild dull depression that I couldn’t shake off, but I didn’t want or need anything more hardcore (been there, don’t want to again). St John’s Wort suited me fine and I guess we always saw it as a temporary thing that would come to an end when we found the answer to everything – pregnancy.

But that didn’t happen. OK yes there was the initial disbelief and euphoria, complete with pee stick art and whatever. Certainly, there was that. Optimistically, I figured I didn’t need my St John’s Wort any more, so stopped taking it. But then after all the excitement wore off a little, I started feeling crap again. Then I started feeling crap about feeling crap… how fucking ungrateful did I have to be?!  Fuck, baby on the way and all that. I couldn’t believe myself. It was beyond anxiety – it was like having PMT all the time!

Trying to explain that to the handful of non TTC friends who know we’re pregnant is not easy. Two of them simply Don’t Get It at all, and kind of sway between being exasperated and just downright confused that we aren’t bouncing off the walls with glee. Another two friends kind of get it, which helps and makes me feel less crazy.

Of course, though, vee gets it, and after a good talk the other day, we came to the realisation that I’d underestimated how quickly I’d be able to pull myself back together again after all that time we spent TTC. So now, I’m back on the St John’s Wort and feeling a bit better. You’ve got to walk before you can run, right?

This is so weird. People say things like, “oh, from this point onwards, you never stop worrying.” Yeah, great. The thing is, I can totally understand how people get postnatal depression. I don’t know how, but I just can. I guess only time will heal and I’ll be able to get rid of all my TTC baggage and have a smiley happy outlook to life again – because yeah, I did use to, though I can hardly remember what I/we were like then. Sociable? Political? Humorous? Probably.

So there you have it. TTC for 2 or 3 years and in the end when you get pregnant, you’ll have permanent PMT and worry about symptoms, the lack of them, and goodness knows whatever could go wrong.

I’m sure this will become fun eventually…!?  This weekend we take another stab at telling my family after our failed attempt a couple of weeks ago, which I’m actually looking forward to – the surprise element’s bound to shake away a bit of baggage.

Oh there she goes, that ungrateful pregnant. She is me. How did that happen?

Blah, blah, blah.


22 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t have much helpful to say… just be gentle with yourself, okay? You are completely riddled with hormones right now. Don’t worry, it should resolve itself in 7 months or so. :/

    Really. You feel how you feel. My best friend was batshit insane straight through her pregnancy — crying at the drop of a hat, depressed, anxious. She’s usually a pretty steady person. She went back to normal a few weeks after delivering. There is powerful shit coursing through your veins right now. Don’t read too much into your feelings, just get through it however you can by taking care of yourself in the very best way possible.

    Wishing you & Vee & Bonus Ball the best.


  2. Duhhhh I’m an idiot. I just realized that it was Jay posting etc.

    Well, the fact is, 90% of what I wrote stands. There’s powerful shit going on right now, even if it’s not going on in your body, and you’ve just gotta surf it out best you can. And doubly true with “be gentle with yourself.”

    Sorry about that, really hope it didn’t make you feel worse. *headsmack* durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


  3. You are not ungrateful, please don’t be so hard on yourself. You have been through a lot and it doesn’t just magically fade when two pink lines appear. We haven’t been trying all that long but I am already feeling the effects of failure. I am sure that will stay with me long after we get PG. In fact, rigth now I am in a terrible slump after our c/p. I can’t do anything and just kind of float through the day. I understand and am so sorry you feel poorly. I am sending you hugs.


  4. i think it is so important that you realized so quickly that you were feeling this way and you are attending to it. kudos my friend.

    it can be so seducing to think that if just… (we were pregnant, or fill in the space with any damn thing really) everything would be swell and all the demons we struggle with, the vulnerabilities, the weaknesses, etc. will vanish.

    that you are seeing this and considering what to do with how you are feeling about life and how to be in the world having gone through this life changing TTC hurricane is SO important…

    any work you do emotionally on this now will help you be a stronger woman, mum, partner, friend…

    if you can, really resist the urge to just shift the focus to, well once we GIVE BIRTH than it will all be perfect… and take this opportunity to, with the support of the st john’s wort, embrace that nothing is perfect and the hard stuff you went through TTC is real and you have grown by going through it with vee and you can keep growing.

    ok, sorry about the gush here… can you tell i feel strongly?

    with love, mulberry


  5. Expecting something then being disappointed when it turns out differently than you expected doesn’t make you ungrateful – it makes you human.

    Anticipation is my favorite drug in the world because whatever happens once you get there, you’ve still had the anticipation.

    Having kids means there will be good days and bad days. Hell, there will probably be good months and bad years, but that’s life right?

    Hoping this upward swing takes you where ever you want to be (like visa!)!


  6. It got better for me as the pregnancy continued…..but yes, be gentle with yourself. It’s not just an on/off switch, you know?


  7. Posted by starrhillgirl on August 8, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I feel like ttc has become so all consuming that the end of it – being knocked up – will fix everything. All will be blissful happy from there on out. I *know* that’s not the case, but sometimes it feels like it is. I’m glad to read this – to remind me of that.


  8. You know what? Here’s to you being an “ungrateful pregnant.” Eventually you’ll be an “uncomfortable post-partum.” I’m convinced that it is all training for parenting and eventually for allowing your child to grow up and leave the house. You might be extremely happy but I don’t know that you’ll ever be extremely comfortable. It is just part of being entirely responsible for another living person. Embrace it.


  9. Right-o.

    I tend to fall for that whole trap of thinking that “As soon as X/Y/Z, then I’ll be . . . ” myself.

    As Shrike told me once, back when we were house-hunting, and I was talking about organizing and cooking and such “in the new house:”

    “So, do you think when we buy a house, we’re going to turn into different people?”


    I’ve found myself doing the same thing, re pregnancy and Peeper’s arrival.

    I had this fantasy that I would be Ms. Perfect Pregnant Mama, but you know what? I don’t fucking want to excercise or eat spinach. And don’t get between me and that chocolate bar, buddy.

    Somehow, I suspect I won’t become Betty Crocker or June Cleaver or Earthgoddess SuperMama when she gets here, either.

    But I’ll try to be the best Mama I can be, and will have to hope that’s good enough, and somehow we’ll muddle through.

    It’s the same thing. As elated as I know you are about little Bonus Ball, being pregnant doesn’t solve all your problems.

    It only solves that one “we’re not pregnant yet” problem.

    Then it brings a whole boatload of new shit to wory about.

    (I don’t think the pee had dried on my stick before I was saying, “On my God, what the fuck were we thinking!?!?”)

    Just try to relax and enjoy the pregnancy (ha ha ha, says me – crazy obsessive completely freaked out paranoid pregnant chick!) but allow yourself to continue to be you – the good, the bad, and the meh.

    After all, that’s the only person you know how to be.



  10. I really related to this post. I agree that it seemed to get better as the pregnancy progresses. But fertility struggles are traumatic and they have wounds like anything else. I think it takes a while to heal and you don’t always have the innocent joy about a pregnancy that the people who got easily pregnant might.


  11. Posted by scarredbellybutton on August 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Being pg after IF is such a mindfuck, especially as it can be unexpected. I’m glad the StJW is helping. You might want to stay on it when the baby’s born as well, in order to avoid PND – you don’t have to be a bio-parent to get that, believe me.


  12. There is so much to learn from feelings. they are so fleeting and permanent all at once. I hope you can always reflect on the things in life that trigger certain patterns in your emotions and overall demeanor–the more reflection, the better.
    be well.


  13. everyone here has such great advice and comments I can only repeat what they’ve said. Just hold on, keep talking, and remember you can post your feelings here.


  14. Posted by yup, another sara on August 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I love this post because I think you capture all the many feelings that are present post-positive. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by a culture that only wants to allow room for the shiny, happy feelings associated with pregnancy and n0t allow any room at all for all the other feelings–

    In addition, as you so eloquently write, many of us have spent so much time in the trenches that we have to deal with all the baggage from all the struggle and fear and disappointment as well.

    This is a wonderful and honest post. Thank you so much for writing it– it just makes me an even bigger fan than I already am–


  15. Posted by Att on August 8, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    I think the word “ungrateful” doesn’t suit it. It’s more like exhausted. I can sort of relate. Though there’s no “woohoo! pregnancy” to be exhausted about, it’s this new apartment.

    I thought all my problems, all our problems would get solved when we moved and were on our own. I didn’t realise that we had a lot more baggage to deal with. Fil thinks I’m ungrateful, unsatisfied and a lot of ‘un’ words. But I’m really just exhausted, and stressed.

    Sure, it’s not a lot to relate to, but you’re not alone Jay. We’re all human, and when we’ve relied so much on one thing as the cure-all and remedy to our life problems, that remedy gets so much hype and gets this huuuuge pedestal. But goddamn does it rarely match up to what we thought it’d be. We tire ourselves out on the “when this happens, it’ll all be okay” that we don’t take time to realise how much we’re asking of these things.

    Take your time being “ungrateful” and exhausted. 9 months is a lot of months to learn to love the little knot of cells, and 18 years is a long time to keep on lovin’. I doubt s/he’ll care about the few months y’all spent in blah-land, corner of ‘who’ and ‘cares’.

    P.S. I totally look up to you and other bloggers who have the nads to post honestly and frankly. Maybe one of these days I won’t fear retribution.


  16. Everyone here has already said the magnificent things I was thinking. I’m glad you are continuing to take care of yourself and of each other. I’m still not over the TTC thing, and we’ve already got our wee one.


  17. So unbelievably true. I felt the exact same way, except that I was the pregnant one. I was SUPPOSED to feel fantastic. But I didn’t. I felt like crap. And I felt so guilty for that. But try and give yourself a break. After trying for so hard for so long, it is only natural that we make it into some “cure all” for life. Because that’s the way that it feels. But what you are feeling is completely normal. And once you can get past the guilt for not feeling as euphoric as “you’re supposed to” then you will feel better. And you will love this pregnancy and this child. You just have to allow yourself to have the feelings you are having now. I went through the exact same thing. My son is now 2 1/2 and I am about to start trying for #2 and this time, going into it, I know the beginning is going to suck. And I think just giving myself that freedom to feel that makes it so much easier. You are completely normal and so, so brave for talking to us about it. We are cheering for both of you!


  18. you are in my head, reading my thoughts. I just had to stop taking my anti-D (which my primary doc joked and said I didn’t need them any more b/c she prescribed them for my depression connected to infertility.) It feels like hours of holding your breath…
    love you both


  19. Pregnancy hasn’t solved all our problems either. Vanessa’s a little happier and more relaxed, but I’m not. I have a post percolating in my head about this, too– mostly about how I feel like a bitch complaining about anything b/c I finally have what I’ve wanted for so long. Every time I even hint at discomfort, I get a resounding “You ASKED for this” from somebody.


  20. Yeah…. I hear you on this……

    Yesterday I told someone how surprised I was that I was having such bad backache now that my belly is getting quite large…..they responded with “well what did you expect pregnancy would be like?” i wanted to hit them. Just because this is what we wanted, doesn’t mean that it is just going to be a bunch of roses….and it doesn’t have to be. you should be able to express any feelings and thoughts openly and without anyone beating you up (including yourself). Your TTC friends will understand if they are TRUE friends. Pregnancy can be difficult (for both partners)….and I think you are allowed to not feel 100% happy-all-the-time. xoxo


  21. Only thing I can add is that I don’t think that being sad, or worried, or stressed, or melancholy, or any of it = ungrateful. You and Vee have two or three years of loss to deal with and process. The first trimester of a pregnancy can’t make that go away. Doesn’t mean you’re not grateful to be pregnant. Hugs.


  22. Posted by reproducinggenius on August 11, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    It makes perfect sense that this is how you feel right now. You’ve been down the road of everything going wrong so many times that it is hard to believe something could go well. I’ve been there in other aspects of my life, and I’m fairly certain that’s where I’ll be when I do get pregnant. You needn’t feel bad for feeling the way you do, though. Anyway, hugs to you both.


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