1. It's tough! Getting pregnant sometimes is not as easy as they make it seem in health class. In fact, even when everything is perfect, there still is something like only a 20-25% chance of conceiving every month. It can even take several months for a couple with perfect fertility to conceive, and can take much longer than that if there are any problems. Conceiving can be hard (very hard) and can (and probably will) put you on an emotional roller coaster. When this happens, it is absolutely essential to make sure you have an outlet to vent your disappointment and frustration. To know that there are others out there that are going through the same thing you are really can make a world of difference!
2. Take charge! If getting pregnant is more difficult than you expected, try to take more control of it! Sitting back and just waiting for it to happen just builds up the frustration, disappointment, and stress. It may seem silly to start doing things like charting or using ovulation predictor kits right off the bat, but I think if it saves months of disappointments and heartache, it's not silly at all. In fact, it is one of the smartest things you should do!
3. Educate yourself! I was amazed to discover that there was so much more to the "birds and the bees" than what I was taught! Things like charting your basal body temperature, checking cervical mucous, determining if the luteal phase is sufficient, and the important role progesterone plays were basically foreign concepts to me before I started trying to get pregnant. I basically thought conception = sperm + egg and was shocked to discover how much more to it there was than that!
4. There is an abundance of fertility aids! I never imagined how many products were specifically designed for increasing someone's fertility. Herbs, teas, fertility monitors, ovulation predictor kits (OPK), charting software, sperm-friendly lubricant - the list is endless! Some I used and found really helpful, while others were a complete waste of money. If the conventional methods aren't working and you want to try something new, search the internet for reviews on fertility products and there is bound to be something that will be of interest to you!
5. Scheduled sex is not fun! No matter how great a sex life you and your partner have before TTC, having to perform "on-demand" will inevitably suck the fun right out of it. There are ways to try to combat this (trying out new things or fantasies, planning a romantic date around it, etc.) but sometimes, it WILL become a duty. I discovered it's easier just to accept this fact than getting upset about it.
6. Infertility can take over your life! Before trying to get pregnant, I thought myself a pretty level-headed, practical person - not obsessive or neurotic at all! But all that changed when I was (unsuccessfully) TTC. I became absolutely obsessed with all things related to TTC, pregnancy or babies. I spent hours and hours on the Internet each day, looking for that one bit of information that would help me. Baby showers, pregnant women, and diaper commercials became too much to bear. It got to the point where I could honestly think of nothing else and nothing else seemed to matter. Although this is not good or healthy, I do think it's more common than people realize.
7. Men and women handle it differently! The longer we spent trying to get pregnant, the more obsessed I became and the more I needed to talk about it. My husband, however, handled it much differently. I think because it was something he couldn't "fix", the longer we spent trying to get pregnant, the more he ignored it and DIDN"T want to talk about it. He would show up for his "duty" of having sex on demand, but other than that, I think he really tried his hardest to push it out of his mind. This caused many fights between us, which only added to the stress. I wish I had known now that it wasn't that getting pregnant wasn't important to him, it was just that he handled the stress of it differently than I did.
8. Enjoy the time before pregnancy! As hard as it is, I think people should try to enjoy the perks of not having kids when trying to get pregnant. I know that sounds like a somewhat of a contradiction, but when you finally do get pregnant and have a child, it really is true that your whole world will change. It will change for the better, but there will be things (sleeping in, running out on a moment's notice, having dates without worrying about a babysitter, etc.) that you will miss. So try to enjoy those things, and it might make the trying-to-conceive struggle a little less difficult!
9. Miscarriages are common! As horrible as that statement is, I found out the hard way that it is unfortunately very true. Especially with early home pregnancy tests and people finding out they are pregnant so much sooner than they have in the past, it is evident today how many pregnancies really do end up not making it. However, even though they are common, that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt and it is not a huge loss.
10. It's definitely worth it! Now that I have a precious little newborn, I know that no matter how hard the struggle, it is all worth it in the end. And I would will do it all over again in a heartbeat.