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If at first you don't succeed

We all know the saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, but what if you try, try and try some more and still don’t succeed? What impact can it have on you and your partner?

This is a battle fought every day by millions of couples who are trying to conceive, whether it be naturally or through assisted conception. These people are holding on to their hopes and dreams and trying everything they can possibly think of to achieve their goal of a happy, healthy pregnancy and baby.

It is a relentless, and, at times disheartening emotional roller coaster, which impacts on their lives far more that many would care to admit. It is also a topic that everyone feels that they can comment on, whether they have experienced it or not.

This becomes abundantly clear when people make comments like; “it’s fun trying though, isn’t it?” Well, actually no, it isn’t “fun trying”, not when “trying” requires more military precision planning than the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace!

Then we have the advice from the medical professionals; in the words of the great man himself no less, “relax, and it will happen!” Oh, Dr Hillary please stop talking.

I used to believe this advice, trying to trick my body into thinking I was ‘totally cool’ with not being pregnant again. The trouble was that also in that body was my broody, baby obsessed, trying to conceive brain, and it knew that I was living a lie. It knew my desperate plight to have children and do you know what it said? “RELAX?! Are you crazy?!!” So you see, this advice is useless.

Infertility can be a very lonely place, and I know that I felt alone a lot of the time. Everyone around me was having babies at the drop of a hat (or pair of knickers), and there was I, at 23, recording temperatures, changing my diet, being injected with fertility drugs and buying a million pregnancy tests that all came back negative. It was heart breaking.

With the rise of social media, my eyes have now been opened to the amazing TTC (Trying to Conceive) community and the fact that everyone is in the same boat with the same feelings and the same issues. The support that they offer each other restores my faith in humanity. If you are struggling to conceive and you are looking for support from people who really understand the emotional strain, perhaps you could find some support there. Instagram has a particularly amazing network of people. I will add some links at the end of this post for places that can offer advice and support.

I am co-writing this blog post, with a fabulous friend of mine, Haya Kalechman, a Love and Relationships Coach and founder of Beyond Sex. Love. She is someone whom I wish I’d met a long time ago. We hope that, between us, we can offer some useful advice and support to anyone who is trying to conceive. The link to Haya's facebook page is at the end of this blog post.

Here are Haya’s top tips for looking after your relationship when you are on your TTC journey.

Tip 1:

Learn to become open and vulnerable with each other: talk to each other, share your feelings and emotions, take off your masks and let go of pretences: you are both going through a tough time - share the burden and offer each other support. Listening is often enough. Take responsibility for how you feel.

Tip 2:

Become aware of the potential difficulties to come: read books, watch videos, talk to people that have gone thought this process. Not only will this help you understand what you are going through, but also it will help you prepare mentally and emotionally, thus coping and supporting each other better.

Tip 3:

Accept that you may feel at loss, frustrated, angry and resentful. Both of you. With yourself and with each other. You will. Even in the best of circumstances, even with the best preparation, even if you have a daily spiritual practice, you are a tender, vulnerable human being. Implementing Tips 1 & 2 should help greatly with that though. And if you are not already, do go into a daily spiritual practice: meditate, chant, breathe, walk consciously, practice yoga, Qi Gong, Japanese calligraphy, art, swimming, running. Anything that will free your mind, make yourself focus on your well being and bring you peace.

Tip 4:

Stay - or become - physically close; other than to “make babies”. With awareness, and consciously making and taking time for it, hold each other, stroke each other, massage each other (aah the wonders of a foot rub!), hug each other, connect energetically with each other, breathe with each other, gaze at each other - OFTEN. Just for a few minutes several times during the day.

Tip 5:

Discover the delights of being sensual - indulging in the senses - together. For example, cook and taste the food together, go to an aromatherapy class, smell the flowers in the garden, take a walk and rejoice in a beautiful landscape, sunbathe together, take a bath together, tell each other stories, go to a concert. Commune (be together and intimate!) through your senses and generally speaking through what you both love.

Bonus Tip:

To implement Tips 1 to 5 with more ease, please go and see a therapist or counsellor on your own or a couple’s therapist or marriage counsellor or love & relationships coach together.

Please go as early as possible in your desire for pregnancy. Go as soon as you begin to feel something is not quite as easy as you thought it would be. Or rather, go and seek support even before that, when your hopes and dreams are high.

Becoming a family is a BIG thing. Even if “everybody does it”, it doesn’t mean it is easy and it certainly doesn’t go without stress.

Remember Tip 3: You are a tender and vulnerable human being. Gift yourselves support. Gift yourselves a space to express your concerns. Gift yourselves a caring, supportive new perspective and an opening into the field of possibilities for yourselves and your relationship.

I believe in prevention: make sure you embark on your journey well informed, prepared and with the right support.

Love Haya.

So there you have it, top tips from Haya. We hope that this post has been helpful and informative. If you would like to speak to either of us in more depth, please visit our websites (links below).

Sending you all lots of love. Thank you for reading our first joint blog post.

Sarah and Haya. XX

This blog was first published on 28th September 2018 on my reflexology website

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