When Trying Stops Being Sexy

I had always wanted a baby. Get married. Buy a house. Have a baby. I never knew how much I actually wanted a baby until I couldn’t get pregnant. Then it was the only thing I wanted.


I got an app that tells you when to go for it. My life was busy and hectic but I felt fine. We had some savings. I felt energized; I would admit that there was stress but nothing I couldn’t handle.

When my husband and I first agreed it was officially time to “try,” the idea of having sex for the purpose of having a baby was beautiful and exciting. We were innocent in our belief that all we needed to do was have sex a few times and … Bam! Baby.

“Babe, you’re going to get pregnant the first time,” he would say to me, with the faintest bit of wanting to wait another month or two because he believed it so.

How little we knew.

   We try. We go through the motions of sex. After about ten minutes he rolls off of me.

Months passed and suddenly it was no longer exciting or fun.

I’d walk through the grocery store and count the pregnant women I passed. There was the adorable pregnant woman in a green tunic picking out lettuce and artichokes. The sophisticated pregnant woman in a maxi dress pushing her cart down Aisle 2. The pregnant couple, hand in hand, strolling out of the market, happy as can be. All of a sudden they were everywhere, as if my lack of fertility had somehow impregnated the entire city.

I tried not to begrudge the world their happiness. I was happy for my pregnant friends, even though I was sad for myself.

Projected ovulation days became the center of our world. Well, my world. My husband was over it.

There was no, “I’m tired,” or “Maybe later.” There was only: “I really don’t care. Let’s get it done.” And: “Fine.”

I peed on sticks every morning to test my ovulation. But sometimes my body and the sticks sent me different messages. One time, in mid-July, we’d been having sex for nine straight days. I was sure the time was right.

On the tenth day, I walked into our bathroom and tore open the plastic foil on the ovulation stick. The sound that used to give me so much hope now made me tighten. I peed into a cup, a mug that said “Do Your Best” on it. Some days it made me laugh. Dipped the stick in. Counted … 1, 2, 3 … 9, 10. I could already see the line. No need to wait ten minutes. I was ovulating. After nine days of forced sex, based on previous months and averages, now I was ovulating? WTF?!

My body tightened. I was exhausted. We’d wasted all his sperm over the past week. Why didn’t I wait for the stick to say I was ovulating? My mucus told me I was fertile four days ago. My body doesn’t work.

“Babe, we need to have sex,” I called from the bathroom.

No response.

“Babe ….” I walk into our bedroom and he just looks at me.

“I don’t know if I have anything left.” He looks defeated. Not because his masculinity is being questioned, but because he doesn’t know if he can give me the one thing I’m asking of him.

We try. We go through the motions of sex. After about ten minutes he rolls off of me.

“Babe, I can’t. I am done. There is nothing inside me. No pressure at all.”

I am enraged. I blow up. This is the time we need to be having sex. This is the day we would make a baby! I don’t remember the rest; the incidents blur together. I probably spit some awful words at him and cried. He probably stayed silent or said, “I’m sorry.” Because that’s how it went.

  All of a sudden pregnant women were everywhere, as if my lack of fertility had somehow impregnated the entire city.

It was devastating. I cried many nights. As a woman, I felt I was not functioning as I should.

Whenever I got my period, the real feelings would come out. Tears of disappointment and frustration, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and confusion as to why this still hadn’t happened for us.

Of all the things in life that make you realize you don’t have total control over your life, trying to conceive—or “TTC” as they say in the forums, which I compulsively read, to my great detriment—is up there with the best of them.

How much control do we actually have in life?

This is the question that has kept running through my mind. There’s a part of me that wants to believe we have much more control than we think we have—that we can make positive decisions and have a positive attitude and that, eventually, we’ll see positive results.

But then there’s the part of me who lays awake at night and googles: “does a pulsing in your right wrist mean I’m pregnant?” and then reads the dozens of articles that confirm, yes, a pulsing sensation in your right wrist does, in fact, possibly mean you could definitely be pregnant. That part of me is the same part who feels so sad and hopeless each time my cycle ends and the strip comes back blank.

I researched alternative methods. We took a month “break” to relax my body. I researched nutrition and read articles from herbalists. I took yoga classes; began to meditate; pondered how one might eat a pineapple core; saw an energy healer; journaled; drank red raspberry leaf tea; cut out caffeine and alcohol; cut out dairy and grains; spent obscene amounts of money on supplements; removed all plastics from my house; switched my beauty products and food over to organic and filtered our water. I did everything short of human sacrifice to will myself pregnant.

Nothing worked.

How could I be doing everything “right” and still not get pregnant?

Extreme self-loathing took over. My infertility had become the focus of my life—and I kept failing at it.

It dawned on me that we both needed to make some space—not just for a pregnancy, but for our new life with an actual person in it. The change shouldn’t happen after I got pregnant or the moment the baby arrived. The change needed to happen now.

So I did something radical. I created space. Not in the way I was used to, which was creating space so I could accomplish more. This time I was creating space so I could exist in that space and just be.

Create space to be.

Big inhale.

Long exhale.

And just be.

It scared the crap out of me to dive into this new concept, but it felt so necessary to achieve what I really wanted. Even more holistically, it felt necessary to achieve the level of peace I craved, beyond any goal of a baby, of a family. This new way of creating space To Be took me beyond anywhere I had been so far.

I didn’t need to hide anymore. I was on my own right track. This space brought me a security and confidence I had not experienced before. I stopped comparing and contrasting.

I realized most of the time I was living life like a child inside a grown-up’s body. And the child within me yearned for attention, understanding, care, and support.

I think we may all have times when we live like that. We may try to silence these deeper longings with alcohol or drugs, with promiscuity, gambling, over-spending, overeating, working too hard, self-harming, and altogether avoiding the real and deeper needs we have. Needs which we haven’t allowed ourselves to become fully aware of, or to find a way to sufficiently meet.

If I became pregnant I would be able to give all my care, support and love to this baby. Not becoming pregnant allowed me to turn inward and begin to heal the deeper cravings I was projecting outward.

I am currently taking care of myself, which I believe will make me a better mom. Giving to myself in ways I would a child. Nurturing my intuition, my body, and my mind.

Not getting pregnant changed my life.

7 responses to “When Trying Stops Being Sexy”

  1. Maggie trela Maggie trela says:

    So beautiful. I especially relate to this: “I realized most of the time I was living life like a child inside a grown-up’s body. And the child within me yearned for attention, understanding, care, and support.” Nurturing that child inside of us helps us to become the adults that we are. So powerful!

  2. Jodi Sky says:

    Really moving and beautifully expressed piece Jamie! I relate so much with what you said about ‘creating space’, it’s realisation my husband and I have come to and have been working on creating for ourselves in recent months. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and your wisdom. 💕

  3. Jennifer says:

    Your honesty is beautiful. It is quite interesting how willful we can be on our paths, certain it is our role to make things happen and yet so little do we ultimately control. I admire your surrender and opening your heart to the entire experience. And, yes, it is beautiful preparation for being mother and shepherding anorther Soul’s journey. You are already a gorgeous Momma!

  4. LLeza says:

    Beautifully expressed! Thank you for your transparency. It’s inspiring❤️

  5. Lianca says:

    So moving! this brought ears to my eyes. It’s hard for others to understand what it’s like to feel like your body is failing you and your partner. I wish you luck on your journey <3

  6. molly says:

    this gave me chills. I think it’s beautiful how you chose to face this and how you chose to perceive it and how you chose to grow from it ✨ thank you for sharing

  7. Meg @thesoulwork says:

    Love this whole share. I’ve been on my own fertility journey. I think everyone needs to talk about this so much more and I applaud you.

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