Any woman who is struggling to conceive knows the saying "just relax" doesn't help the situation. The more you try to relax and not think about babies, the more you think about babies.
Getting married and having babies has been drummed into us since childhood. You know how the song goes. Ed and Lucy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage! For some, the dream of becoming a wife and mother comes easily and quickly. For others, well, not so easy or so quickly.
For some, the dream of becoming a wife and mother comes easily and quickly.
When you start trying to make a baby, it's all exciting, and you're confident that it will happen quickly. First, you innocently download an ovulation app a friend told you about - she got preggers within a month of using it. But when it doesn't happen immediately, you feel disappointed and start looking into taking the right steps. This can quickly descend into buying all kinds of trying to conceive (TTC) kits such as ovulation sticks, sperm-friendly lube, and prenatal vitamins.
A few months go by with no luck, and it becomes an obsession. You start to wonder whether it could be your diet, so the next plan of action is to try fertility-boosting foods. You try things like drinking matcha, kale juice, bone broth, and whatever else is out there. All your friends and family keep telling you to "just relax," but how can you when you want a baby so badly?
A few months go by with no luck, and it becomes an obsession.
We women are so used to being in control of our lives and making things happen that when faced with a situation we can't control, we begin to panic. Unfortunately, becoming pregnant is one of those things, no matter how much you try and plan for it. Only a small percentage of couples can get pregnant within the first few months. It's common for women to experience delays or infertility whether you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s.
Stefan Molyneux caused outrage on Twitter by telling women to have kids before they are 30 because after that 90% of their eggs are dead. The tweet went viral and received many hateful comments unsurprisingly. It also gained attention from media who weren't happy with his tweet either. Regardless of his intentions, it turns out scaremongering is not the best way to reach women. Maybe, deep down, we knew there might be some truth to that tweet - and that's what was so upsetting. As it turns out, there is.
According to research from the University of Edinburgh, about 95% of 30-year-old women have only 12% of their ovarian cells left (possible future eggs). Once a woman reaches 40, only 3% of those cells remain. But don't let this freak you out. Females start with around 600,000 cells before birth. Even if you lose 88% of them by age 30, you still have 72,000 cells left!
95% of 30-year-old women have only 12% of their ovarian cells left. Once a woman reaches 40, only 3% of those cells remain.
It probably is wise to have children in our 20s, but society can often deny this. For example, most of us are in college and trying to establish careers in our 20s, which doesn't leave much room to think about family planning.
Children after 30
We know that fertility declines as we get older, but we also know that many women go on to have healthy pregnancies in their 30s. For example, Anne Hathaway is currently pregnant at 36, Duchess Meghan Markle gave birth at 37, and we all know someone who has done the same. There is also pressure from family and friends. You only need to log onto Facebook to be bombarded by photos and posts of babies; it's enough to send you into a downward spiral.
We know that fertility declines as we get older, but we also know that many women go on to have healthy pregnancies in their 30s.
The important thing here is to be kind to yourself and don't compare yourself to others' social media. Remember that everyone is at different stages in their lives and has different gifts. Try to be genuinely happy for others and let go of any insecurities. When you let go of negative feelings, you will feel a sense of calmness and peace. Redirect the energy and focus on positive things that are going on in your life.
Stress doesn't help in any situation, let alone trying to get pregnant. Stress can cause a plethora of conception issues such as worry, anxiety, depression, and makes the experience more difficult and painful than it should be. When you find yourself feeling under pressure or stressed, it's harmless and might be helpful to consider stress-reduction techniques. Things like running, yoga, journaling, meditation, and mindfulness can all help take your mind off it.
Stress can cause a plethora of conception issues.
While stress can contribute to fertility struggles, it's not the whole picture. If you have a condition that causes you not to get pregnant such as a blocked fallopian tube or hormonal issues - no amount of destressing or mindfulness will help you cure it. If you have been unsuccessful after a year of trying, you should seek a fertility doctor to see if there are any underlying medical issues.
When the Time Is Right
Sometimes though, having a baby is down to pure timing, so we have to be patient with ourselves and trust that our bodies will do what they're designed to do. Keep trying, yes, but also keep busy with hobbies and passions so that it doesn't take over your life. Whether you love to write, cook, paint, or spend time in nature - keep doing the things that fill you up with life. Try to let go, stay balanced, and stay positive.