Few among us relish test taking. Exams don't make many warm fuzzies waft into your mind, I imagine. Actively trying to conceive, though, will likely make testing start to factor in at some point. There's ovulation testing, pregnancy testing, tests to test for testing.
The old condom aisle at the pharmacy will turn into the babymaking testing aisle. Only now you take two steps to the left and drop three times the money.
There's only so much you can do to help out here at a surface level. You can't pee on the stick for your partner, after all. At the same time, it's important for you to have the right mindset going into this. Fertility testing, whether ovulation testing or pregnancy testing, is all very impersonal. It can be the first of many experiences which threaten to dehumanize your partner in the process of becoming a mother.
And then there's the data tracking, God have mercy. If your partner gets a fertility tracking app, there will be merciless, invasive interrogations about the state of her body you'd punt any human being right in the head for asking her:
Are your breasts tender?
Did you have sex today?
What's the consistency of your vaginal discharge?
What's your mood like?
Did you do any pregnancy testing today?
Are you anxious? Worried? Stressed? Angry?
If she wasn't angry before, she probably will be by the time she's done with the third degree from her smartphone. Be supportive. A few things to remember and consider:
The pregnancy testing confrontations in the bathroom are draining.
Every negative result on a pregnancy test will probably feel like a personal indictment to her. Sure, you're "doing this together." But in the bathroom, the test is telling her she's failed - even if she isn't the problem (and the chances are probably about a coin flip that she's not).
Yes, it is okay, and yes, you'll try again, but remember to sit in the moment with her, too. Don't rush her processing of the emotion of the moment just to escape its discomfort. Your cheery optimism is likely unhelpful while she's still holding the test.
Brace yourselves for rejection.
Sure, it's possible you'll have a positive pregnancy test the first cycle you're off birth control. It's much more likely you'll have at least a few negatives though - so encourage patience in yourself and your partner. As a general rule of thumb, medically speaking you're only considered to be having "fertility issues" after a year of actively trying to get pregnant (or six months if your partner is over 35). If you both assume this rather than assuming every pregnancy test will pop positive, you'll be in a better mindset to take the negatives in stride. So, be patient.
…but know when to lose patience.
With the process, that is. You should be aware of when you need to investigate infertility issues as a couple, which goes beyond the simple six or twelve month timeline. There's no use rolling the same loaded dice over and over - if you're working against a medical issue you don't know about, all you're in for is wasted time, wasted money, and frustration aplenty for both of you. No matter how strong your relationship going into this process, struggling to get pregnant can be a significant strain on it.
My hope for anyone trying to conceive is that you have a smooth process. If you're not having a smooth process, please know you're not alone. I've been there. I know what those long silences and frustrated tears are like. I can offer no answers, but if you need a knowing ear, please drop me a line.
Happy human manufacturing to you and yours…but if you need to break out the beakers to get there, godspeed to you, and tell the pharmacist I said hello.
About the Creator
Rambler slowing so my kids can start rambling. Done everything from cattle ranching to law enforcement, clergy work to retail, writing to living in Canada's far north. I try to let all of it inform my writing, but current focus is SaHDs.