In early 2019, the year Maya and I got engaged, we began having serious conversations about our wishes in creating a family together. It was clear from the beginning that Maya wished to attempt in becoming pregnant and wanted to do so as soon as it was the right time for us. We have other plans for more children and how we hope to have those children, but as they say, one thing at a time!
There are multiple things we did in preparing ourselves for the process of trying to conceive (TTC). The following lists all of the things we did, of which some you may find relevant to you or would like to consider. Even if you’re merely thinking about having kids, it wouldn’t hurt to get started early. Much of this process may not fit your timeline once you deem yourself “ready” to begin. The list is in the order we conducted after we decided Maya would try to conceive via artificial insemination.
- Start Having Conversations: Simply that. In spaces which you feel safe and comfortable, consider opening up about your hopes in becoming a parent through conception. Even though you may be subject to criticism (those stinkers can mind their own business), you are potentially gaining insight as you navigate this journey. This is a journey that you don’t have to do alone. If you have a billion questions, that’s okay! Talk about your fears. Talk about your concerns. Talk about your excitement. Break the silence and connect. After initial conversations, you can continue the conversations you wish to continue.
- Seek a Mentor: Before you think this is something formal or requires a financial investment, it doesn’t. The way I see it, this can be much more organic. If you know of someone who has gone through assisted medical procedures in trying to conceive, you could consider asking them to be your mentor. A mentor can be someone you already know well. Now, you don’t have to use this title – mentor – if it doesn’t fit you. A mentor (or otherwise) can be someone who provides emotional support. They could provide mutual understanding with this process. Our mentor is a dear friend of mine with whom I consider to be part of my chosen family. I’ve known this person since I was 18. They witnessed me through many trials and tribulations in my young adult years. They also are in my shoes as the non-bio parent to two children so they’ve been able to provide moral support throughout this journey.
- Ask Your Employer: Your employer/company/agency may have some family building benefits that may be useful to you. These are not usually advertised or provided to employees voluntarily so it would be good to double-check with your Human Resources office or employer. Meanwhile, learn about your place of work’s parental leave policy to prepare.
- Track Aunt Flo: Maya downloaded an app called P.C. (Period Calendar) which has a pink background and a white flower icon. It looks like a cute little diary! There are various apps like this one so you can choose which one you prefer. While you track your period, be aware about the patterns in your ovulation cycle. The further in advance you do this, the better. This information will help you and your doctor to determine your reproductive health and knowing when you’ll ovulate.
- Join a Facebook Group: We joined two private groups: (1) TTC LGBT IUI IVF RE ONLY & (2) LGBTQ+ Moms. We found these groups to be incredibly empowering. The members of these groups are open and willing to share about their experiences as well as discussing any concerns/challenges others have in the process of TTC. You can ask any questions you have. You’re bound to get a plethora of answers. These groups helped us not feel so alone in this journey.
- Schedule to Meet with Your Physician: Inform your primary care physician (PCP) that you’d like to talk about your general health and reproductive health. They can help you confirm that all vaccines are updated. Additionally, you can discuss any health concerns and/or what treatment plan could be best for you to consider prior to initiating the process with a fertility clinic. Your PCP also can provide recommendations in improving your health lifestyle in regard to your diet and exercise routine.
- Begin Prenatal Vitamins: It is widely recommended to begin taking prenatal vitamins a few months before you plan on trying to conceive. Because my sister-in-law was pregnant during the start of our journey in exploring our options, we asked what brand she took. She took “Nature Made” prenatal vitamins so we did too. They’re usually available at a grocery store or pharmacy.
- Save Now: Even if you’re not ready to officially begin the process of TTC, save your money now. There is no way of telling how much the how process may cost in accumulation. Be prepared for insurance to NOT cover your procedures. If they do, that’s phenomenal! Share your insurance in the comments for others to know about. Even with insurance, costs will emerge in places you aren’t told about or don’t anticipate. The bills will come. Have a stash prepared.
With these tips in mind of preparing yourself for TTC, next week we will share the next stage in our journey: the research in picking insurance, a fertility clinic, and a reproductive endocrinologist.
Have at it!
If you haven’t had the chance to yet and would like to be notified when we post new content, go ahead and enter your email address to subscribe!