The anxiety and stress experienced when you're struggling to get pregnant can be incredibly difficult to bear. It’s understandable that not being able to conceive can cause feelings of frustration and despair.
If you're yet to get that positive pregnancy test and are finding things tough, here are some tips to help you cope.
According to world-renowned therapist Marisa Peer, if you’re prepared to put the time in, you can actually talk yourself out of your anxiety.
"Listen carefully to your negative self-talk and as soon as you catch yourself saying something like ‘I’ll never get pregnant’ or ‘There must be something wrong with me’, make a conscious effort to turn your thoughts around," she recommends. "Instead, tell yourself that ‘I am getting pregnant soon’ or ‘I am healthy, my body is healthy, my partner is healthy, we have everything we need to make a baby’."
You can even get your friends, partner and family on board to remind you too when they catch you being negative. "If you can get into the habit of reframing your thoughts, you’ll create new and positive neural pathways, you’ll feel more relaxed and give yourself the best chance of conceiving," said Marisa.
Acknowledge your emotions
It's ok to acknowledge feelings of sadness when you discover your period has started. "However, try not to dwell on the fact it hasn’t happened this month," reassures Marisa. "Instead, remind yourself you have four short weeks to get ready for the next opportunity."
Be open with your partner
Don't forget that your partner is going through this experience with you and is also likely to feel stress and pressure so make an effort to speak with them about how you are feeling and listen to where their head is at too so you can support each other.
Spend some time reconnecting with your other half that doesn't involve fertility or babies. "Make time for date nights and watching movies that make you both laugh," suggests Marisa
Take a break
It might seem like the last thing you want to do but it's ok to take a break from the baby-making if it's all feeling too much. Sometimes you need to step away briefly to allow yourself to take a breather and you may find that you feel all the better for it afterwards.
Stress can lead people to make unhealthy choices such as drinking more alcohol, bingeing on junk food, sleeping too much or too little or going off sex. "None of this will make you feel good, will certainly add to your stress and you’ll find yourself in an ever-downward spiral," says Marisa.
"Make healthy choices and reinforce these with new positive affirmations - 'I will drink more water to help me get pregnant', 'I will eat healthy foods to help me get pregnant' and so on."
There is a lot going on in the world at the moment which can exacerbate feelings of stress. "Try to avoid the news or anything that lowers your mood. Don’t fixate on taking endless pregnancy tests - try increasing the time in between using them on a month-by-month basis," recommends Marisa.
Speak to your baby
"Choose your moments, but try talking to your baby as if they were already living and growing inside you," Marisa says. "You can talk about what you plan to do together, what your home is like or how you’re planning to decorate the nursery."
Writing down on paper how you are feeling about your baby-making journey can go some way in helping you to process your emotions. It doesn't have to make sense and you don't have to write much, heck you can always shred or burn the paper afterwards if you want to.
Talk to a professional
If you're experiencing a continuous low mood or sadness and feeling hopeless and helpless for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks, make an appointment with your GP to discuss how you are feeling. Need to talk to someone? Here’s how to get help when you need it
Meet the expert: Marisa Peer is a world-renowned therapist and best-selling author. She developed the therapeutic method called Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) that can help support people’s mental wellbeing more quickly than some traditional approaches. In 2017 she established the RTT School and has helped to train thousands of therapists globally. Her latest book, Tell Yourself A Better Lie, is available from Amazon.
As an exclusive offer to Mother&Baby readers, Marisa is giving away her Perfect Pregnancy audio which normally retails for £30. Simply follow this link and enter the promo code MOTHERANDBABY100 to claim your copy.