Pregnancy after infertility can give rise to unexpected feelings like anxiety and self-doubt. It's important to be aware of that.

Pregnancy After Infertility: Four Feelings I Wasn’t Prepared For

In Pregnancy by The Modern Belly25 Comments

My long-time readers may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet recently. I now finally feel ready to share the good news that our recent IUI was a success and I am now 9 weeks pregnant, and what’s more, with twins! (I’ll address the whole twins thing – and it’s a big thing – in a different post.) I always imagined the moment I find out I’m pregnant as pure happiness, and in many ways it was. But after the first burst of joy and excitement, more feelings emerged – ones that I didn’t expect. I knew deep inside that infertility changes you, and that getting pregnant won’t miraculously undo all the damage that infertility does to your mind. And sure enough, although I was ecstatic to be finally pregnant, the infertile in me gave rise to some very unexpected feelings.

Self-Doubt

Some women have elaborate plans for how they’re going to let their significant others know of their pregnancy: wrapped onesies, a positive pregnancy test in a box, a message in a fortune cookie. After I got the call from the nurse with my positive beta results, here’s how I told my husband: “So… it looks like there’s a chance that we may be pregnant. But we won’t know for sure until the second beta.” Our next few weeks were a series of “we won’t know for sure until”s – not until we see a gestational sack, not until we hear a heartbeat, not until the pregnancy symptoms really kick in. When you’re so used to disappointments, it’s really hard to suddenly let yourself celebrate. You try to protect yourself from the potential heartbreak of losing the pregnancy by denying it even exists.

Guilt

I love the online infertility community – these women (and occasional men) are the best support group I could hope for. They are always there for each other, to encourage, to answer questions, and to give a warm virtual hug when things go wrong. In a way, getting pregnant feels almost like betraying them. So often we vented together about our struggles with infertility and how painful it is to see all those pregnancy announcements, and now I’m suddenly on the other side. It feels unfair that not all of them are getting their good news now as well.

Anxiety

Another side effect of being involved in the infertility community is knowing too well all the ways that things could go wrong. Miscarriage, ectopic, pregnancy loss – you see these terms way too often and you know that this might happen to you too. Whenever one of my pregnancy symptoms subsided, even for a short while, I was concerned that this might mean the pregnancy is vanishing with it. It’s 10pm and I’m not exhausted? I hope it’s not a bad sign. My boobs didn’t hurt when I woke up in the morning? My body must be trying to tell me something. During my struggle with infertility, I often misinterpreted side effects of drugs as pregnancy symptoms, only to find out that they were not. Now I finally had pregnancy symptoms, and all I was doing was thinking how they might be going away.

And there was one more feeling I wasn’t prepared for.

Next Page

Comments

  1. I know this is an older post but it really hits home, especially the self-doubt and anxiety. We were so shocked that our final iui worked that it was like we didn’t believe it. I think it sunk in a little more for my husband after the second hcg. Now I have anxiety over what if something happens and we have to start all over again. My hcg was quite high so hopefully that’s a good sign, two weeks until the ultrasound. Maybe twins?!

    1. Author

      Hi Emily – Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy! I hope the self-doubt and anxiety will start melting away soon.

  2. Hi everyone, getting pregnant is now my full time job. I dont want to do anything else but i dont like waiting , dissapointments and baby showers. Sometimes i sneeze so loud i feel like this is why i can get pregnant it gives shock to my tummy. Its my first cycle of ovideral and getting pregnant on my own. We only tried 3 days after i injected the harmone. So my question is 3 days enough?

    1. Author

      I hear you on both the disappointments and the baby showers. Dealing with infertility is rough and exhausting. Check out my detailed Ovidrel article for more information, but rest assured that the 24-48 hours after the injection are the most crucial time to have intercourse, so if you’ve got that covered, you did good.

  3. Wow thank you for putting this down on paper. I’d also started to worry that I wasn’t connecting to baby, but I’ve come to realise that I was just protecting myself from the possible hurt of losing it. Now I can feel movements at 21w it feels suddenly quite real! Still worrying about everything that could go wrong, however less often and hope is growing too. Good luck.

  4. Your post is so refreshed to read and describes how I feel exactly. I’m 5wks tomorrow after my 4th ivf cycle. My 1st I miscarried at 8wks and my 2nd I lost twins at 11.5wks. My 3rd was a bfn. I’m finding it hard to relax and haven’t even celebrated my pregnancy as I’m so aware that’s it’s very early and things could go wrong.

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing. It’s so hard to overcome the fear and stress after everything you’ve been through. I really hope that this time around you’ll finally get the healthy and happy pregnancy you’ve been longing for!

  5. We are currently struggling with secondary infertility, we conceived our son naturally without any wait. Even though it was easy to get pregnant, I experienced all the feelings you have listed above, I think all mom’s (fertile or infertile) do, I worried the whole time that something would go wrong, I felt guilt for my friends who were not pregnant and I worried about how that baby would change us, etc. My son actually ended up being born with pretty significant issues (that were undiagnosed) and he spent nearly 6 months in the hospital before he could go home. We are in the process of IVF right now, egg transplant and it is more worry. After all the issues we have had I wonder how I will be able to relax and not stress once we get pregnant. I was happy to hear above that you were able to relax as your pregnancy went along. Thank you for sharing this, you are certainly not along.

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing and good luck on your IVF. I hope you get a healthy and worry-free pregnancy very soon!

  6. I love your post! I’m from Hoping for a Herd and am still in the midst of infertility. These are things that I have thought about though once I do get pregnant. I feel like I will be so worried all the time that I won’t be able to enjoy the pregnancy. Congrats to you and best of luck! I will continue to follow your journey!

    1. Author

      Thank you, and good luck to you too! As the pregnancy progressed, I slowly started to enjoy more and worry less…

  7. I am so glad I am not the only one who feels this way. I am 38 weeks along and still have the fear of something bad happening. I fear that at the moment I become overwhelmed with excitement I will lose this child. Don’t get me wrong of course I am happy but this late in pregnancy I thought all those bad feelings would go away. I have had an amazing pregnancy and because of this fear I haven’t been able to thoroughly enjoy it.

    1. Author

      I know what you mean. Honestly, I feel like the fear never goes away entirely – after all, worrying for your child is at the core of being a parent. But it’s so important to acknowledge all the good (your amazing pregnancy and all the wonderful experiences you’ll have with your child) and not let fear dominate you. You’re about to begin an incredible new chapter in your life, and I’m really excited for you and hope that you’ll thoroughly enjoy it!

  8. You have just put EVERYTHING i have been feeling into words. The wanting to be excited but so scared, the nervousness to tell other people, the guilt…….this post sums it up perfectly. I am 11 weeks and keep saying ‘this appt, this week’ will be the time i can relax and it will feel real but i’m unsure if that moment will ever come.

    1. Author

      This moment will come. It builds up slowly, but every day it feels a little more real than before. I don’t think we can ever get rid of the anxiety and fear, but other, more positive feelings, will start becoming more dominant. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  9. Hi. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I came across your post on twitter.

    Having been on the infertility roller coaster for around 9 years i too had the same thoughts and feelings when i eventually became pregnant.

    Each appointment was another hurdle to get over. Each time i prepared myself for bad news. Even when seeing scans and being told everything was fine i couldn’t get past the what if, is this right, its not meant to be.

    Happily, i gave birth, 4 weeks early, to boy girl twins, who were both healthy and beautiful.

    It took some time to get used to being a mummy and i would often wonder if it was a dream or if someone was going to come and take them back.

    The impact of infertility never leaves you, it gets put away and i think helps keep a good perspective on life.

    My amazing children are now 8 years old, and life is great. Infertility will always be part of who i am and i am a stronger person for it.

    Wishing you lots of joy and happiness
    Xx

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and your very happy ending. It’s so good to know that over time, you were able to process the infertility journey and turn it into something that makes you stronger. And I’m so excited for you that you have a happy life with your amazing twins now!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly – and congratulations!! I am still in midst of my infertility journey, but I’ve started to realize that I am actually terrified of getting pregnant. After waiting for so long (and having a miscarriage at 10 weeks a little over a year ago), the pregnancy part seems so scary. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone in these thoughts – pregnancy after IF really is unique.

    1. Author

      It certainly is unique, and that’s why I’m so grateful for the online IF community. It helps so much to be able to share and understand that we’re not alone and we’re all going through similar things.

  11. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am not surprised to read these feelings. I’m still on the TTC-wagon, but I’ve often thought to myself I probably would have the hardest time believing that I could get a BFP. After months and months and months of disappointment, I think it’s like a safety shield protecting you from possible sadness. Very happy that you finally made it! Enjoy every second of your pregnancy. Your little miracles are going to be here before you know it!

    1. Author

      Thank you! I think that being prepared for these feelings is probably the best way to deal with them. I hope you’ll soon be pregnant too, and I’m sure that your awareness to the safety shield we all put around us will go a long way in helping you to gradually shed it off.

  12. This is absolutely everything I’m feeling right now. I’m at 10w2d, and this was our 3rd IVF – every day I kind of feel like I’m just waiting for the comedown, waiting for the inevitable bad news. Even seeing a strong heartbeat and a baby at the right size for dates two weeks ago, and being told my chances of having a healthy baby are now around 98% hasn’t made the anxiety go away. I’m less bloated than yesterday? I MUST BE MISCARRYING. I fell down in the street yesterday, and immediately made a panicked phone call – trans-Atlantic, ON A MOBILE – to my mum, so she could reassure me that the fall wouldn’t hurt the baby. I see everyone else on Tumblr and Twitter and in the TTC forums going through all kinds of heartbreak, and I feel incredibly guilty that I got my BFP – I mean, what did I ever do to deserve this that they haven’t also done?

    I think the fact is that we’re always going to be different from Fertiles in how we approach pregnancy and parenting. Infertility has changed us as people, and a healthy pregnancy doesn’t erase that. We’re always going to have that different perspective, and those different experiences that have made us who we are.

    Congratulations on your twins!

    1. Author

      This: “Infertility has changed us as people, and a healthy pregnancy doesn’t erase that. We’re always going to have that different perspective, and those different experiences that have made us who we are.”
      So true. The infertility experience was one of the things that shaped us to be who we are today, and we need to embrace it and accept that our feelings are perfectly normal.
      Congratulations on your pregnancy – may it be happy, healthy and uneventful (in the best sense of the word)!

  13. Congratulations on 9 weeks! I’m visiting from Amateur Nester and just had to leave you a comment. I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant after infertility and I couldn’t agree more with all these feelings! I experienced all of them. With the first few doctor appointments I was nervous for days…now I just get nervous when I’m sitting in the waiting room. Progress! I don’t think the worry will go away until I have a baby in my arms (and even after that I’m sure it’ll just be replaced by a different kind of worry) but thank the Lord for getting to experience even this much of pregnancy. 🙂 Best wishes for a happy, healthy continuing pregnancy!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jen, and congratulations to you too! It really helps to know that these feelings are shared by so many infertiles, because it shows just how natural they are. At the end of the day, worrying is a price I’m more than willing to pay. Have a lovely and healthy pregnancy!

Leave a Comment