dumb things people say when you’re trying to get pregnant

i’m not even pregnant yet & i’m already sick & tired of the stupid things people are constantly saying to me about pregnancy, babies, parenting, & trying to get pregnant. i’m going to elaborate on some of the most prevalent &/or most obnoxious examples here in the hopes that people will just stop saying this stuff to me. & yes, i am aware that i haven’t seen anything yet. once i am visibly pregnant or carting around a baby, i expect the unsolicited, unwelcome advice to be a constant barrage. but i think there is a unique subset of things people hear when they have been trying to conceive for a while & it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

“try to relax & not stress yourself out. the stress is only going to make it harder to conceive.” this one is really popular. anyone who has been trying to conceive for more than five minutes has probably heard it at least three million times. because if there’s one thing people love to do, they just can’t seem to get enough of blaming the woman, usually over something she doesn’t have a lot of control over (ie, her stress levels as related to infertility), for pretty much anything & everything.

a couple of months into trying to get pregnant, i started to suspect that i had a low progesterone issue. i asked an aspiring midwife friend if she was familiar with this problem & if she had any thoughts about herbs or other home remedies i might try. i knew i might have to give in & seek medical assistance, but my goal in trying to get pregnant has been to try to do it as economically as possible, & i knew that drinking some kind of herbal infusion was going to be more affordable than seeing a doctor & filling prescriptions. i expected this friend to maybe spend five minutes or so paging through her d.i.y. midwifery/herbal remedies library & suggest some red raspberry tea or something.

instead she said, “oh, wow, i have no idea. no one i know has ever had ANY PROBLEM getting pregnant, haha! you’re probably just over-thinking things. if you stress out too much about getting pregnant, you’ll flood your body with stress hormones & then you won’t get pregnant.”

thanks friend! that’s really helpful! nothing is going to lower my stress levels like believing that if i don’t, i’m doomed to a life of barren childlessness! it’s also really good to hear that out of everyone you know, i’m the only one neurotic & anxiety-ridden enough to have fertility issues. this is news that really makes me want to bend over backwards to maintain our positive, loving friendship.

it’s hard to imagine a time that was more stressful to me than when i got pregnant & had an abortion in 2008. when i got pregnant, i had literally something like $7 in my bank account. i was eating plain spaghetti for dinner every night because i was so broke. obviously an unintended pregnancy did nothing but compound all of these anxieties. if i wasn’t stressed out enough then to prevent a pregnancy, i doubt that asking a friend who supposedly wants to make a career out of counseling & treating women during their childbearing years for a fucking tea recipe is going to do it. if that’s all it took to prevent pregnancy, i sincerely doubt humanity would exist. i’m sure our ancestors were constantly stressing out about the proximity of sabertooth tigers & the dearth of edible berries in the area.

think it through, people! or else i am going to lie in wait until the most stressful, anxiety-causing incident in your entire life & then i’m going to pop up solely to dismiss all of your feelings & entreaties for basic human compassion, rolling my eyes & telling you to just chill out already.

“have you considered adoption?” this one is surprisingly popular in jared’s & my social circle, for whatever reason. maybe because we’re friends with lots of people who are lefty enough to wring their hands about over-population but not quite lefty enough to think about how arguments about over-population are a deflection of real arguments over unequal distribution of global resources, capitalism, & racism? i’m just spitballing here.

none of these people seem to have a working knowledge of how expensive adoption is. not only is a long, drawn-out process involving tons of paperwork, invasive home visits, & interviews that are sure to bring up terrible memories of the last time my disability was reviewed, jared & i are also pretty unlikely to be considered great candidates for adoption at this stage in our lives. i’m on disability & he’s a grad student. we could certainly arrange a private adoption with someone willing to overlook our current modest circumstances & see brighter things for us in the future…but private domestic adoption costs like $30,000. international adoptions are even more expensive. we simply do not have that kind of money. even if we liquidated all of our assets–sold our car, sold off jared’s stock, emptied our savings account, sold everything we own that is remotely valuable–we wouldn’t have anywhere near $30,000.

i’m trying to do this baby thing economically, & i’m already in a tailspin over how poorly that is working out. i’ve spent $500 on progesterone, $20 on clomid, maybe around $50 on books, $150 or so on ovulation & pregnancy tests, $300 or so on labwork…this means that i am in a panic over spending $1000. explain to me how multiplying that figure by thirty is going to be in any way possible, let alone helpful.

i mean, if nothing works & we are still childless in ten years when jared has tenure & our combined household income is actually over $30,000 a year, then we might be able to look into some of the more expensive ways that people have children. such as adoption. but at the end of the day, adoption can be just as expensive as IVF (if not more expensive), & we can’t afford that. so adoption is not on the table right now.

some people have suggested that we are rejecting adoption because we want to have a biological child to carry on our genetic legacies. i don’t doubt that some people have kids for that reason, but it’s so far outside of why we have any interest in having kids that it doesn’t even sound like english to me. it’s near-impossible for me to even think of myself as HAVING a genetic legacy. what does that even mean? my recessive blue eye genes & dominant alcoholic tendencies genes? this isn’t a legacy i really give two shits about passing on. at least 40% of the reason i want to get pregnant & give birth to my own kid is just so i have nine months to prepare myself before the kid gets born.

i suspect this will be an on-going series, but for the moment, i have worked myself up into such a froth that i think i need to go take a walk.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “dumb things people say when you’re trying to get pregnant

  1. Have sex frequently. It may seem like a no-brainer, but given many couples’ hectic schedules, it’s easy to overlook this one. If you’re not timing your cycles or you have irregular periods, you can cover your bases by having sex every other day, say fertility specialists. Figure out when you ovulate. Women with very regular 28-day cycles can just count 14 days from the first day of their period to determine their ovulation date. If your cycles aren’t regular (or even if they are), an ovulation kit can help you pinpoint your most fertile time.

    1. is this some kind of weird spam for your badly-designed website? you obviously did not read the post you are commenting on or you would know that i am dropping HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS for fertility drugs. do you honestly think i’d lay out that kind of cash without first trying the COMPLETELY FREE method of figuring out when i’m ovulating & having sex then?

      but, well-played, drew from “how many weeks in a pregnancy” dot-com. you’ve won our reader prize for actually contributing to the growing body of work on dumb things people say when you’re trying to get pregnant. now get out of here.

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