Let’s talk about babies. I mean, if you’re trying to conceive (TTC), they’re already on your mind right? It seems like every girl at church, in the grocery store line and at work is either pregnant, carting around a kid or two (while pregnant) or announcing their pregnancy. You’ve been trying for a few months (or a few years) and you are READY for that baby.
I remember when we first started trying, as soon as we decided we were ready, I just wanted a baby. All I wanted was a baby. I didn’t care about birthday gifts, possessions of any sort (literally, I gave away/donated/sold a TON of our belongings), making new friends, developing hobbies, or anything else. I just wanted a baby. My thoughts were CONSUMED by pregnancy symptoms, baby showers, baby clothes, nursery ideas, pregnancy announcement ideas, our “perfect” timeline, birth stories, parenting techniques, etc. I literally could not think of anything else.
And then when baby didn’t come (still hasn’t, by the way) after a few months, those thoughts had me spiraling into dark places. Negative thoughts corrupted my mind. Everything became offensive. And my life was a pit. (At least that’s what I told myself) And those baby thoughts that consumed me were still the only things I could think about. I would “research” because this month was going to be THE month.
Let’s be real: it got pretty unhealthy fast. I was obsessive. I was addicted. And I was angry.
Does this sound like you?
If it sounds like you, allow me to introduce you to my most used tactic for staying positive, hopeful, less stressed and ultimately not consumed by thoughts of babies:
THE ART OF DISTRACTION
We were at a point in our journey where, in all honesty, our marriage, relationship, and friendship were suffering because of my obsession with having a baby. (And yes, it was both an obsession and a problem) At this point in time, I had half a hobby, zero job, no friends and I was a newlywed that didn’t have much of a relationship with the family that was close by, the family that I was close to lived 300+ miles away so Parker was my only friend, the only person I talked to (basically ever), the person I complained to (daily) and also a person who liked being at work more than he liked being at home because home wasn’t very homey.
When I stayed home, I watched a lot of TV, did laundry, cleaned our apartment, scrolled Instagram (aka watched other people live their lives), scrolled Pinterest (aka pinned baby stuff and then cried). While I was “being productive” by cleaning the apartment and keeping up on laundry, I wasn’t fulfilled. Not even a little bit. I was positive that fulfillment from staying home would come as soon as we got pregnant and started having babies. So I was waiting for that day.
Until one day, I honestly don’t know when it happened exactly. But one day, I decided that I was going to do more photography. And then I decided that I would get a job. I applied for a part-time job and got it. And then I applied for another part-time job and got that. All while working on growing my photography business. Then I decided to go to some photography conferences and workshops. I met peers, I met friends, and quickly, I didn’t have time to think about babies (or the lack thereof) very much anymore.
As I continued to meet and work with new people, I gained friendships and relationships that were mine based around things that we both enjoyed— not just because we married into the friend group or went to church together. (Please note, those friendships I made in those example situations are incredible and I love you and care about you if you are one of those people!!) they were friends that I made on my own and relationships that I worked to cultivate. As I networked, I grew. I was introduced to new hobbies, new places and new ideas.
I began growing as a person and soon found that even though my life looked NOTHING like I had planned, it was still good. I began seeking out other ways to distract myself from thoughts of babies and soon found a love for crocheting, taking care of our new puppy, building businesses (having a side hustle really distracted me) and expanding relationships with friends.
Another way that I have distracted myself is through using my Good Grief Journal. When I can feel myself spiraling or getting triggered, I pull it out and write down how I'm feeling. Then I put it away and move forward. Good Grief has been a God-send for the days that I need to express really deep feelings that I don't want to share online.
While The Art of Distraction may seem like a silly thing, it is important to note that our brains are wired to do what is easy, what is regular and what we've trained it to do. So you know when even though you just went to Pinterest to look for a dinner recipe, 45 minutes later you are somehow down the nursery decor or pregnancy announcement rabbit hole and you find ourselves depressed? This happens because you've created grooves in your brain over the past couple months have told your brain that once you go on Pinterest, you'll need to check for baby announcement ideas or nursery decor, etc.
SO in order to change those habits or reroute those grooves, we have make a conscious effort to do things differently. When we make a conscious effort to NOT do those things that trigger us-- search for baby related things on Pinterest or Google Pregnancy Symptoms on Cycle Day 14 (#guilty) or whatever it may be that flips that switch to thinking about babies-- we are training our brains to do something different when we feel triggered or like we are spiraling.
Like I said earlier, I choose to write in my Good Grief Journal, work on my businesses, and take photos (specifically with my clients because it gives me human interaction). I also like to clean my house, change up my routine (drive home a new way or change up how I get ready in the morning) or go to the movies. I try REALLY hard not to use my phone as part of my personal art of distraction because I find myself working my way back to those triggers (remember the brain grooves? Our brains really like those things...)
So if you're struggling with constant thoughts of babies on your TTC journey, I would recommend giving The Art of Distraction a try! The way you choose to distract yourself is completely up to you. It's so fun to try new things, so get out there and try something new. There is life to be lived in the waiting. Don't miss out on it.
You've got this. Keep going.