After my husband and I got married we started trying to conceive right away. It was a busy time of our lives- we were both starting new jobs, and my husband was in grad school. We lived in a busy city and went out to dinner and drinks with friends regularly. We lived far from our families and so had many trips each year to see them. I traveled a lot for work. We were always planning crazy adventures. In the next year and half of trying to get pregnant and eventually being diagnosed with infertility, I think I traveled to over 10 different countries and probably 15 states. As I rushed from work to social event to travel, my anxiety over “infertility” had been growing and I’d started to feel increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated. At some point my acupuncturist (who was really like a therapist) said to me, “Anna, the universe knows if you are too busy to have a baby.”
The universe, aka God for those of you who speak that language, knew I was too busy to have a baby.
My acupuncturist continued, “Babies take a lot of work. They take up your energy, they literally feed off of you, and they are completely dependent on you. You need to prove to the universe that you have the energy, health, and TIME to take care of a baby.”
This set off a light bulb for me. Before this conversation I hadn’t wanted to change anything about my life. What if I quit my fun job where I traveled all over and never got pregnant? Wouldn’t I resent the choice and feel miserable? I wasn’t going to change my life around BEFORE I got pregnant.
My sage acupuncturist continued, “It’s time to get ready for baby. Clear your schedule. Make your home ready for baby. Start planning the nursery. Buy a crib. Tell the universe you are READY!”
So I did. We left the city, moved to the suburbs, and bought a house with extra rooms for kids. I started declining work trips and eventually moved to a new job where I wouldn’t have to travel unless I wanted to. I started saying no to most requests for a social engagements. Although I loved hiking and adventuring with my husband, I started only joining him on weekend hikes when I was pre-ovulatory or ovulatory. If I was menstruating or in the luteal phase I would stay home and relax.
I stopped feeling so rushed. I started having more time to sleep, which meant I had more energy and felt better. My husband and I had plenty of time for the important things- dates, snuggles, long walks, and sex! And, I had time for MYSELF! It was amazing. This was when I started developing my daily fertility mind-body practice. With my extra time I was able to nourish MYSELF through cooking healthy foods, sleeping, praying, meditating, practicing yoga, walking, gardening, journaling, reading, and other things I enjoyed. I remember sitting on my red couch in the sunlight on a lazy weekend day sipping tea and smiling. I probably had a book or a journal next to me, but I was just staring out the window thinking. Imagine that! Time to just stare out the window!
Right around when I started doing ALL THE THINGS for fertility– the full diet, the toxin cleanse, the full mind-body work – I realized that I had simplified my schedule too far. My life wasn’t feeling as full as I’d like it to. I made a list of all the things that brought me joy and realized what I was missing- volunteering. I’d always received so much joy from volunteering and I knew that was what was needed to make my life full while I waited for baby. It was also a way for me to practice gratitude for all I had in my life.
I signed up to teach English as a Second Language to new immigrants at my church. I taught every Wednesday night and it brought me incredible joy.
Before I knew it, I was pregnant. And- my schedule was so clear I was able to find plenty of time to sleep, relax, and enjoy being pregnant.
What can you do to simplify your schedule while you wait for your baby? What can you ditch? Start with eliminating anything that doesn’t bring you joy and nourish your soul.
What can you fill that time with instead? How can you focus on your relationship with your partner, and on nurturing yourself? Now is when you need to really take that time to make yourself happy and whole, because when baby comes (and baby will come, by hook or by crook if you are open to it), your time will be focused on caring for him or her. It’s time to get ready momma!
5 Ways to Simplify Your Life While Trying to Conceive
- Ditch what doesn’t bring you joy. Are you running around like a crazy person doing social activities, going to the gym, etc.? Sit down with a journal and write down what brings you joy. Then write down what doesn’t. Figure out how to ditch what doesn’t bring you joy. Obviously you can’t just up and quit your job if it isn’t bringing you joy- but is there anyway to find a job that DOES bring you joy? If not, focus on the rest. And don’t be afraid to add a couple things that DO bring your joy. Maybe you realize that 2 hours of TV at night does NOT bring you joy, and you’d be better off going to a yoga or dance class. Or even reading a novel! Feel free to leave the time empty, also. I certainly did! Unscheduled life is the best, in my opinion.
- Focus on your home. You are making a warm, comfortable nest for your little baby. Spend time eliminating toxins in it, beautifying it, and really enjoying being there. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, tend it similarly. Fill your home with love. This is also the time to start bringing things closer to home. Doctors, acupuncturists, dentists. What can you change so that your life is closer to home?
- Spend time outdoors. Being in nature makes you happy. It slows down time. Go out on a walk, garden, or just sit on the earth. Practice mindfulness; focus on everything you hear, smell, see, and feel while you are outside. Reconnect with the earth to reconnect with your fertility.
- Practice Self-Care. Carve out time to journal, meditate, pray, do yoga, or other mind-body techniques that nourish your soul. These make you a happier, more resilient person, and thus . . . more fertile! Check out my post on how I incorporated these practices into my day!
- Nurture your marriage. Spend quality time with your spouse. It takes two to make baby, and a happy family makes for happy children. Take the time now to focus on each other and build a solid foundation for the future.