Infertility is difficult to live with but sometimes, you make things harder on yourself, not intentionally or consciously, of course. You may not know it can be any other way, or you just don’t realize you’re sabotaging yourself.

Maybe you waited for too long to start a family. Maybe something foolish you did as a youngster has wreaked havoc with your fertility. Maybe you wonder if your decision to do one thing or the other wasn’t the brightest idea.

Or, perhaps you have no idea what could possibly have led to your current fertility woes. But you’re sure it’s something you could have stopped had you only known better. You need to stop blaming yourself. Even if you can find a way to somehow make it your fault, you should still stop blaming yourself. It doesn’t help. It just depresses you.

Most cases of infertility are either not preventable or not predictable. You really can’t know if you could have done something different, just focus on what’s most important now—moving forward and tackling the problem. 

If you have been trying to conceive for more than a year (or more than six months, if you’re over 35), and you have not succeeded, it’s time to see a doctor. You may decide this advice isn’t really for you. Certainly, but it’s not the end. There are some causes of infertility that worsen with time and while you’re praying for your miracle, your chances may be quickly disappearing.

There’s nothing wrong with deciding to keep trying and wait on treatment, or even deciding not to pursue fertility treatment in the end. But you shouldn’t avoid fertility testing. At least find out what is wrong and what your options may be.

Get checked out, both you and your partner, and confirm that whatever is wrong can wait. Then, if you want, set a “miracle waiting” period. Speak to your doctor about how long they think you can try without losing valuable time.

A diagnosis of infertility can hit hard. Sometimes, it’s difficult to see past the next couple of days or weeks. You may feel hopeless, certain that you will never conceive or that your life will never be happy. If you can’t conceive a biological child, maybe you can use donor gametes.

While it’s possible you won’t conceive, you’ll feel better if you can keep your thoughts focused on the positive possibilities. Assisted reproductive treatments work for many couples. Your chances for success may be better than you think. Speak to your doctor about your particular prognosis.

Most couples are extremely proactive in their care. But not everyone realizes they are the decision makers. You are not as helpless as it seems. If the doctor you’re seeing refuses to run an evaluation, go find a new doctor. If a clinic turns you down because your chances are said to be too low, seek out a second opinion.

If your doctor tells you to lose weight, be sure they evaluate and treat any hormonal imbalances that may make losing weight difficult, and ask for a referral to a nutritionist.

When you’re trying to conceive, your life can easily fall into two-week increments: the two weeks you wait for ovulation, followed by the two weeks you wait to take a pregnancy test. The worst part about this is there are no breaks; there’s no anxiety-free time when you’re anxious about ovulating or anxious about feeling pregnant.

While it’s unrealistic to think you’d be able to just drop all the worrying, you should try to live beyond the two-week wait lockdown. You may need support and it’s possible.

Infertility can make you feel worthless. Broken. Ashamed. It’s possible that before you started trying to conceive, and before you ever realized you faced infertility, you probably felt different about yourself—hopefully more positive. 

You need to remember that the old you is still there. You don’t become someone else when you’re diagnosed with infertility. If you were awesome and lovable before infertility, then you’re just as awesome and lovable after. Think about what you’d say to a friend who told you they felt ashamed and worthless because of their infertility. You are so much more than your fertility.

Sex can go from passionate to a chore and can become a reminder of your infertility when you’re struggling to conceive. Before you tried to conceive, you likely thought of sex as something more than a means of getting pregnant. 

However, somehow, after you struggle with conception, sex turns into a broken conception machine. But your sex life is not only about having a baby. Think of what you enjoyed about sex before you started your fertility journey, try to bring some of it back into the bedroom. It’ll take some work, but you can improve your sex life while trying to conceive.

Sometimes, as a fertility-challenged couple, you may wait until you have children to begin your own family traditions or holiday traditions. If you wait to live your life as a family, you may not recoup the lost time. So start living as a family now.

When in the midst of infertility, it’s easy to stop considering your career or your education. The stress of infertility can make it difficult to concentrate at work, and that doesn’t help when it comes to professional aspirations. It’s worth taking a step back and considering what your career goals are.

Whatever you do, stop suffering silently. You probably shouldn’t tell everyone about your fertility challenges, but keeping it completely secret is not only unnecessary but psychologically painful. 

When you keep something like infertility a secret, it festers. The shame just grows and grows. Exposing your fertility challenges to even one friend will shine a bit of light on the shame and lessen the shame you feel.

Even though you may feel alone, and it may seem you’re the only infertile couple among all your friends, be assured that you are not alone in the big infertility world. There’s a good chance someone you know has struggled with trying to conceive, but like you, they are keeping it secret. Don’t be like them. Break the silence. 

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