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When You Want a Baby So Bad It Hurts

Holly is a new mom who has been through the ups and downs of trying to conceive.

When You Want a Baby so Bad It Hurts

When You Want a Baby so Bad It Hurts

Why Do I Want a Baby So Bad?

  • You've recently had a pregnancy "scare" that made you realize you were more ready for motherhood than you thought.
  • You've lost your focus or purpose in life.
  • Maybe you're filling a desire for change with the idea of having a baby. Try signing up for a class you've always wanted to take or planning a weekend trip with your friends to quell the baby fever.
  • All of your friends are having babies. When you're surrounded by baby shower invites and Insta stories of cooing babes, it's hard not to think about it.
  • You just really want a baby!

I'm not going to give you some insensitive mantra disguised as comfort, like "It'll happen when you're not stressing about it"—whether that "it" means getting pregnant, getting your partner on board with the whole baby thing, or getting the funds together to adopt. Because whatever "it" is, it's definitely going to stress you out if it's keeping you from having the baby that you so, so want.

Instead, I'm just going to tell you how I dealt during that season of my life where I wanted a baby so bad that it hurt, and hope it helps you feel less alone.

When the Timing Isn't Right

For a long time, the reason I couldn't start a family was that the timing just wasn't right. I didn't have anyone to start a family with. Then, when I did, he wasn't sure he was ready for a baby.

How to Have a Baby If You Don't Have a Partner

I'll admit, I wanted a baby before I wanted a husband. After years of dating duds and focusing on my career, I briefly looked into solo adoption.

Solo Adoption

While there are obstacles to solo adoption, you can make them feel a lot less scary if you start planning ahead by getting your finances in order. Do you have debt looming over you? Meet with a financial adviser (or just a money-savvy friend!) to create a list of three things you can do to become more financially stable so that when you approach adoption agencies, your bank account won't trip up the process.

Solo IVF or Surrogate

Adoption is expensive, and so are IVF and surrogacy, but for a woman who is financially secure and ready to go it alone these are viable choices, especially if experiencing pregnancy in some form is important to you.

If he hasn't explicitly said he never wants kids, then he probably just needs time to warm up to the idea, especially if he's tackling fears about parenthood.

If he hasn't explicitly said he never wants kids, then he probably just needs time to warm up to the idea, especially if he's tackling fears about parenthood.

If Your Partner Isn't Ready for a Baby

When my husband and I got married, I was ready to start trying for a baby well before he was. He had a whole laundry list of stuff he wanted to get done, career-wise and school-wise, before he felt comfortable starting a family.

If this is what you're going through, rest assured it's pretty typical for men to hesitate when it comes to starting a family. It doesn't mean your husband loves you less than you thought or that he'll never want a family—what it does mean is that you'll probably be having a lot of heart-to-hearts. If it ends up causing issues in your marriage, consider seeking out a marital counselor to help you get back on the right track.

When Working With Children Makes You Want Kids of Your Own

After a couple of years working with preschool-aged students, I recognized that working with kids when I wanted a child so badly might be unhealthy, considering having a family wasn't in the cards for me at the moment. I needed to jump ship and switch jobs, but of course, that wasn't something I could do right away.

If you're working with kids and it's making your desire to have them even stronger, try these things to distract yourself:

  • Make plans to meet single friends directly after work. Do not give yourself time to wallow in your childlessness. Run home, let the dog out, change into some heels, and do something fun where there will be absolutely no children involved.
  • If you must wallow, set a timer. Literally. I would set a three-minute timer on my phone and sit in my car to let myself feel sad. As soon as the timer went off, I forced myself to snap back to the present, at which point I would. . .
  • Name three things about being child-free I was grateful for. Some days this was easier than others, but during flu season I was honestly always really grateful to not be stuck at home with sick kids like my friends with children.
Going out with friends after work to grab a drink, see a concert, or roller blade was an effective way to keep my mind off kids when having one was out of the question for me.

Going out with friends after work to grab a drink, see a concert, or roller blade was an effective way to keep my mind off kids when having one was out of the question for me.

When There Are Fertility Issues

As with most things in my life, I went into the TTC journey armed with years of research, a fertility journal, a basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer, and a boatload of confidence. When getting pregnant didn't happen right away, I still had high hopes. But as the months passed, my gusto waned.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), after a year of trying to conceive, between 12% and 15% of couples will still be facing negative pregnancy tests.

Here are some of the most common causes of infertility in women:

Men can also suffer from infertility, too—things like Celiac disease, alcoholism, and hormone imbalances can cause low sperm count.

What to Say When Someone Asks When You're Going to Have a Baby

Ever since Emily Bingham's viral shout-out against those "When is the baby coming?" comments exploded, you'd think that people would back the heck off from asking a woman when she's going to start a family.

There's so much pain in answering that question when you're struggling with infertility. So how should you answer? The person asking hopefully means well, but the truth is that, as Bingham said, it's really no one's business and it's okay to answer that way. Of course, you might not want to do that, especially if it's someone who you know has been through something similar.

Here are some jumping-off points for politely handling the question while stopping unwanted advice in its tracks:

  • "It hasn't worked out for us yet. I don't want advice right now, but I know that if I ever do, you'll be there."
  • "At the moment, it's not the right time for us."
  • "I appreciate that you care, it's just something I'm having a hard time with right now and don't feel up to talking about."

How to Deal When Your Friends Keep Getting Pregnant and You Don't

One of the hardest parts about not being pregnant when you want to be so badly is watching people you're close to experience new parenthood and feeling a mix of joy for them and sadness for yourself.

When my best friend told me she was pregnant, I felt jealous, angry, and frustrated for myself but thrilled, relieved, and even a little worried for her. I knew that as much as I wanted this thing she was getting, it was new territory for her. Honestly, I didn't handle it as well as I could have so I'm not going to give you advice on what to do, but I can at least give you some advice on what not to do.

Don't Express Jealousy

Literally, don't say, "OMG I'm so jealous." It's okay that you are jealous, and it's okay to express it to someone who is more neutral in the situation, like a friend who isn't pregnant or even a therapist, but expressing your jealousy to a newly pregnant friend will probably make her hesitant to share any more details with you and could put a wedge in your friendship.

Don't Spend Too Much Time Indulging in Her Pregnancy

That being said, being a good friend doesn't mean you need to be there 24/7 for kick updates. It's easy to live vicariously through your pregnant friend's joy if the news doesn't drive you away completely. Be as good of a friend as you were before her pregnancy, but make space for yourself and for friends who are in the same situation as you. Go out for a margarita and a late movie and enjoy where you're at rather than being constantly reminded of babies.

Marriage and Family Therapist Kati Morton on Dealing With Infertility When All of Your Friends Are Pregnant

Don't Get Caught Up in a Fantasy

It may be pretty, but try to remember that what you see on social media is not what anyone is really living. Those pictures of women peacefully breastfeeding their babies don't show the mess of dishes in the kitchen or the tub that needs to be scoured, bath after bath. The posts of mothers going on about what a journey motherhood is don't admit to the moments of yelling or of possibly literally tearing their hair out with frustration or worry.

Yes, motherhood is special to those who choose it, but it's also not sunshine and rainbows. That doesn't mean you should want it less, it just means that it comes with its own challenges. Getting the baby doesn't end the tough feelings—it replaces them with new ones.

Practice mindfulness to help clear your head when you're desperate to have a baby.

Practice mindfulness to help clear your head when you're desperate to have a baby.

How to Relax When You Have Baby Fever

  1. Practice guided meditation. I like the Mindful Meditation podcast, but with streaming, you can really take your pick. Learning to breathe without thinking about anything is incredibly helpful when your heart is fixated on something out of your control.
  2. Find something really binge-worthy to watch that's not about kids or families. I'm totally into Judd Apatow's Love on Netflix, which is a "meet-cute" about a neurotic guy named Gus and an addict named Mickey.
  3. Vent! Find somewhere to vent your frustrations. Friends and family aren't always the best people to talk to about wanting a baby because they love you and they'll just want to spit advice out at you. I love the BabyCenter community for this because there are lots of different forums there. Whether you need a place to talk about trying to conceive or to vent because your husband isn't ready yet, you'll find other people who are in the same boat.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Holly Howard