By Kate Brian, journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility
The dawning of a new year can be difficult when you’re trying to conceive, especially if you have been experiencing fertility problems for some time. Rather than a cheerful new start, it can feel like a depressing reminder of yet another year passing without achieving your goal, and it may be particularly tough if you’ve had to watch friends or family members conceiving and having babies.
A positive outlook
The last year may have been hard, you may have faced many challenges and it may feel as if your hopes have been dashed time and time again. What’s key now is to look forwards rather than dwelling on the difficulties you have faced in the past, and to try to think ahead to the future.
It’s easy to become very focused on the negative things in your life when you are longing for a baby, and to forget some of the more positive ones. If you are taking stock at the end of one year and the start of a new one, it’s an ideal time to think more positively. You may be having problems getting pregnant, but you may want to have a baby because you are in a happy relationship with someone you love, you may have a successful career, a beautiful home, a loving family or great friends.
You may have started to focus on the negative things about yourself too, as women who are trying unsuccessfully to conceive can feel their fertility problems are starting to have an impact on their personalities, making them feel jealous of friends who are pregnant or constantly negative and miserable. Don’t forget that these feelings are just a reflection of the situation that you are in and that it is perfectly normal to react in this way – you are still the same person underneath, and still have all your positive characteristics which are what you should try to focus on.
A fresh start
It will help if you are able look to the year ahead as an opportunity for a fresh start, although that doesn’t meant you need to make lots of very strict new year’s resolutions that you will find it difficult to keep!
What may be more helpful is to look forward in broader terms, so you may want to aim to lead a healthier lifestyle which can only ever be a good thing when you are trying to get pregnant. Taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating well and cutting back on alcohol and caffeine will all make you feel better and can have a positive impact on your fertility. Don’t forget that enjoying life is essential too, so giving yourself a little leeway and allowing treats every now and then is part of being happy and healthy.
Of course, it’s not just your physical health that you want to think about, but also your emotional health. It is difficult to live with a fertility problem and to go through treatment, and it is inevitable that you will need help along the way. For the year ahead, you can resolve to seek out support for the emotional aspects of fertility problems too. Making time to see a counsellor can be beneficial, and is a positive step to helping yourself. You may also want to find peer support either online or by joining a support network, as there is a lot to be gained from getting together with others who understand how you are feeling and sharing experiences.
Finally, remember that this is about you and what makes you feel happy. It is not easy to experience difficulty getting pregnant, but you will help yourself if you can make 2015 the year when you find time for the things you enjoy, try to focus on some of the positive things in your life and resolve to take care of yourself both emotionally and physically.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.