Deciding to try for a baby is one of the biggest decisions a couple can make.
I remember it clearly. I was ready much earlier than Husband, but he wanted to wait until he was 30 before we created a new life. And, as (bad) luck would have it, once he’d been in the world for three decades, everything was changing.
We were moving from Bristol to London, starting new jobs and it seemed crazy to bring a baby into a world we weren’t yet settled in, so we waited a bit longer.
When we finally decided to start trying, it was a big deal. I came off the pill and we let things take their course naturally.
Except it doesn’t really happen that way. Not for lots of couples anyway. After being on the pill for far longer than I care to mention, my body and cycle were all mixed up.
It takes time for everything to regulate itself and for a baby to be made. But having had the rules of safe sex planted firmly into our brains since we were teenagers, we’d pretty much assumed we’d fall pregnant straight away.
Well, within three months at least. Not so.
What you need to do is take the pressure off mentally, and once you’re in that ‘trying for a baby’ cycle, it’s almost impossible."
Each month came and went as I logged how long it was taking and wondered when would be the right time to book an appointment with the doctor.
It happened to a friend of mine, too. Every time she discovered she wasn’t pregnant (again), you’d hear her in the bathroom, throwing up all the sadness and disappointment it was causing.
Why wasn’t it happening? Stress. And new survey results published in the journal Human Production confirm it’s an enormous factor when it comes to making babies. Stress can actually double the risk of infertility for women.
We’ve known about the links for a while, but this new evidence is the first to find that emotional and mental strains can lead to negative pregnancy tests.
So, if you’re keen to conceive, make sure you chill out. You can do this in any number of ways.
I started seeing a reflexologist (the amazing Rima Shah - in case you’re interested), other people take up yoga or meditation. But even a stress-busting daily walk could do the trick.
We’d pretty much assumed we’d fall pregnant straight away. Well, within three months at least.
It is, of course, much easier said than done. What you need to do is take the pressure off mentally, and once you’re in that ‘trying for a baby’ cycle, it’s almost impossible.
How many stories do you hear about couples failing IVF umpteen times, only to give up and then fall pregnant naturally? The stress you put on yourself to have a child could be stopping you making babies in the first place.
I don’t have a magic answer (though I do swear by reflexology), but stressing less is clearly the key.
Discover what your mind and body needs to relax and you might just have a bundle of joy to worry about in a few months' time.
Claire Spreadbury is Head of Features at the Press Association. She is delighted she can now use stress as contraceptive method.
This article is the opinion of Claire Spreadbury and not necessarily that of BT.