Does it seem like everyone’s getting pregnant but you? Infertility, in and of itself, is one of the harder emotional and physical experiences a woman can face in life. It triggers a range of uncomfortable emotions, questions and new realities — and that’s especially true if you feel like you are the only one struggling to conceive. Indeed, being surrounded by friends with babies and bumps is a constant reminder that you are still not pregnant. But however tough your fertility journey may be, there are ways to cope. So don’t isolate yourself from all your expecting friends just yet.
Here are 6 tips to overcome any frustration when everyone’ getting pregnant but you, or so it seems.
1. Don’t compare yourself. One of the more common ways we start judging ourselves is relative to those closest to us. Though we inherently know that comparing ourselves won’t ease our pain, it doesn’t really keep us from looking at our friends during a baby shower and wondering what might be wrong with us. First, remember that you don’t know someone else’s story (especially not their sex life). Though you may think your friend got pregnant in no time, it may not be the case. After all, a lot of people keep their fertility struggles to themselves. Plus, conceiving isn’t a competition. It doesn’t matter how easy or hard getting pregnant is for everyone else but you. So try to stop comparing your journey to that of others. You may end up feeling more positive, which could actually help you get pregnant.
2. Get support. If you feel overcome by negative feelings and can’t be around pregnant people without starting to compare yourself, seek the help of a therapist, a counselor or even a dear friend. Surrendering to the comparison mindset can become very isolating and spin out of control, eventually posing a threat to your psychological well-being. The simple fact of talking about your pain can not only make you feel safe, but also help you put things into perspective.
3. Feel your feelings. Yes, you can feel sorry for yourself. Honoring your feelings and giving yourself permission to feel them is a crucial step towards recovery and acceptance. So if you’re feeling angry or sad when a friend announces her pregnancy, don’t repress or deny your feelings, and give yourself some time to get them all out. Write in your journal, talk about your pain to your partner or someone else you trust… However you choose to let it all out, give yourself a time limit and try to find perspective.
4. Set boundaries. You can decline a baby shower invite. Especially if you just experienced a pregnancy loss or got yet another negative sign on the pregnancy test. The same holds true for inquiring minds. It’s ok to say you’d rather not talk about your fertility experience. Setting limits will give you the space to work through your feelings. Plus, communicating those boundaries will also allow you to open up about the fact that you are having a difficult time and just need understanding.
5. Become your own ally. When you’re dealing with any kind of social pressure, the first thing to do is to admit that you’re having a tough time. So many women who are going through fertility treatments maintain a strong facade instead of admitting to and accepting their own struggle. Acknowledging your needs and emotions as challenges arise is the first step to self-care; and being able to treat yourself in a kind, gentle and loving way during your fertility journey is essential. Whether people around you are getting pregnant or not.
6. Make the most out of your baby-free life. Having a baby will change your lifestyle. There will be diaper blowouts, lots of spit-ups and, needless to note, sleep deprivation. So before you become mom and your life changes forever, do all the things you’ve been wanting to do. Plan a getaway across the globe, go skydiving, or go on a wine tasting trip with your girlfriends. Whatever is on your bucket list, do it and make the most out of the freedom you have right now. Like that, once you do have a baby around and use dry shampoo for the fifth time in a month, you won’t have any regrets.
This article originally appeared on Well Rounded.