A few months ago I was talking with a client about her options for moving forward on her fertility journey.

She had had her first child five years prior without any trouble, but the second time around was proving to be a bit more of a challenge.  Despite two years of trying and no medical issue that the doctors could see, she had yet to fall pregnant and was starting to feel desperate.

She started telling me about her plans to visit a fertility clinic and discuss trying IUI or IVF, when we reached a pivotal moment in the conversation.  I asked her how she felt about going forward with an IUI, and her response was:

“I just want this to be over.  I just want to fast forward ahead five years when having a baby will be out of the question so I never have to think about any of this again.”

We both looked at each other and from the expression on her face, I could tell that she almost didn’t believe what had just come out of her mouth. Then it was my turn to say something surprising:

“Well, lovely, it sounds like it’s time for a break.”

As a Fertility Coach, I love helping my clients get pregnant, but my first priority isn’t the babies that have yet to be conceived, but rather the women who I have right in front of me. When we get to the point when we are literally wishing years of our life away just to have everything settled one way or another, that’s a red flag that something needs to change.

Sometimes we need to keep pushing forward, but many times, we need to pull back. 

Although it can feel like missing just one fertile window is tantamount to missing your last chance at motherhood, many women find great relief in taking a vacation from all things TTC (trying to conceive).  At least for a little while.

How do you know when it’s time to take a break?

That decision is different for every woman, but more than likely you:
  • feel emotionally and physically exhausted.
  • feel like your whole life is revolving around trying to conceive in one way or another.
  • fantasize about reaching a time in your life when having babies won’t be an option any more.
  • are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression as a result of trying to conceive.
  • are no longer enjoying your relationship with your partner and want to reconnect as a couple.
  • need time to process failed treatments and grieve past pregnancy losses.

What does taking a break look like?  Well, that’s up to you.

Here are some ways that you might want to try:
  • Stop having vaginal intercourse during the fertile window (unless it’s with a condom).
  • Stop having vaginal intercourse altogether.
  • Put a limit, or even a full stop, to conversations revolving around TTC and possible fertility treatments.
  • Begin living your life as though you no longer had motherhood in mind, devoting energy to projects that you’ve put on hold.
  • Plan a special getaway with your partner to put some physical distance between you and all of your past TTC struggles.
  • Eat according to what your body wants and not what you think will be best for your fertility. 
  • Stop following TTC accounts on social media that trigger you.  This might mean all of them.

In the case of my client, she decided that she would avoid sex during the fertile window and start focusing more on her new business venture.  She also prioritized quality time with her partner and her son and scheduled a vacation away for the three of them.

After a couple months had gone by, she told me that she had had her first appointment with the fertility clinic.  When I asked her how she was feeling about everything, she responded:

“So good!  I feel like I’m ready to begin this whole new process and am excited to get started.  Thank you so much for encouraging me to take a time out.  I really needed it!”

It’s tempting to think that the more we “do” the more we’ll “get.”  That the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.  But what if the thing you’re resisting, in this case taking time off, is the very thing that will bring you closer to your ultimate goal? 

What if, by giving yourself permission to breathe, you welcome a new life that is waiting to just be?