Image of one pregnant woman and her friend talking over a cup of coffee.

Building and maintaining a strong support network while TTC

When trying to conceive, the journey can be a pretty wild ride. It’s different for everyone, and you might be surprised at just what feelings get brought up when thinking of bringing a brand-new person into the world (No big deal, right?). You might also have questions, concerns, or any number of other complex thoughts running through your head.

How to build a support system when trying to conceive

For these reasons, and many more, it’s meaningful to have a strong support network in place. Strong social support networks can be hugely beneficial for both your physical and mental health. These networks will help you better deal with stress and feel a sense of comfort and security along the way, and these networks can come in many forms.

Healthcare providers

Everyone’s TTC journey is different. For some it’s easy, for others it’s a bit more challenging. To have a meaningful network of healthcare providers who can help you along the way will be immensely helpful.

Whether you are working with an OB/GYN, a general practitioner, or a midwife, these professionals can make sure that you’re in the best possible state for TTC. This can mean ensuring that you’re receiving high-quality care based on your particular health and medical history, answering any questions or concerns you might have about the TTC process, and monitoring your health along the way.

These might be professionals you went to before TTC or they might be individuals who you’ve just started seeing. Regardless of how long your history is with them, they’re the experts that can provide you with the medical support and knowledge you need while TTC.

How to cultivate and maintain a good relationship with your provider? Ask questions, be honest, and stay engaged with your healthcare. 

Loved ones

Friends and family, near and far, in-person or via your favorite social networks – keeping those you love close can be extremely important during this time. While you certainly had these folks in your life prior to TTC, you might be surprised how your relationships with them can deepen and change as you begin your TTC journey.

You might find that you’re very candid with loved ones about your TTC experience – and even find that they open up with you about their own TTC experience in surprising ways – or you might find that you just want to lean on and rely on them to provide the love and support – or even just the laughter – that they normally would anyway.

Whether you call up your mother for some general advice or get into the nitty gritty of TTC with your best friends, it can be meaningful to have these support networks. Regardless of how much or how little you share, you’ll want to nurture these relationships; these individuals can serve as a huge reserve of emotional support. And if things do get stressful, having this social support will actually buoy you and allow you to better handle your stress in a more resilient way than you would be able to without such a network.

How to cultivate and maintain a good relationship with your loved ones? Show and communicate that you appreciate their love and support.

Other folks who are TTC

If some of your loved ones are going through the same thing as you – say a cousin who just started trying to conceive herself or an old friend from college going through IVF –  support can be doubly meaningful. But if you don’t have anyone else in your current support network who is going through the TTC process presently, you might find it meaningful to reach out to and become part of a network of folks who are.

Having other people in your life who are also dealing with this very specific life stage can be hugely beneficial. You can find both formal and informal communities – both in-person and online – that can make for meaningful support networks, and you may be able to find a camaraderie in this community that you couldn’t find elsewhere. For many individuals and many couples, this helps them just not feel quite so alone in the process.

Whether it’s to discuss the finer points of basal body temperature, ask for doctor recommendations, or just vent, you might be surprised by just how helpful you find this sort of a community. How to cultivate and maintain a good relationship with these peers? Stay in touch and be supportive of them too.

Once you do get pregnant, this kind of support network can become even more invaluable as you continue on into the next stage of your journey! Indeed, these relationships won’t end with a positive pregnancy test, but will likely grow and develop in new ways.

Healthcare providers will help guide you through pregnancy, family members will be there to help paint a nursery or assemble a bassinet, and other pregnant moms will be there to chat about weird cravings or stubborn back pain. These networks can provide you with invaluable support through all of the ups and downs that may come with trying to conceive.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Social support: Tap this tool to beat stress.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, April 16 2015. Retrieved August 28 2017.
  • Fatih Ozbay et al. “Social support and resilience to stress: From Neurobiology to Clinical Practice.” Psychiatry. 4(5): 35–40. May 2007. Retrieved August 28 2017.
  • “Manage stress: Strengthen your support network.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association. Retrieved August 28 2017.

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