It’s called a “fever” because it can come on suddenly and powerfully. Men and women both experience it, though women talk about it more openly. You don’t need a doctor to diagnose it.
You know from the swooning in your stomach, an almost visceral ache that you’ve got a bad case of baby fever. All you can think about in that moment is having a baby in your arms.
It can be painful, and though there’s no easy remedy for it, we have some tips to help you cope so you can still enjoy your summer.
Breaking the Fever
You know you have it bad when your social media feeds are dominated by mommy bloggers and nursery inspo. You’ve got dedicated boards on Pinterest (secret, of course) and opinions on strollers. You wonder what your kids will look like, who they’ll be like and what kind of parent you will be. You fear you’ll never get to know.
You aren’t alone. Everyone who comes to us has a similar story and so in addition to our treatment options, we have some advice to help. In our experience, the best way to break the fever is to pair it with a good strategy--and start taking action.
Though everyone who wants a baby experiences baby fever, every situation is a little different. Below are some of the most common causes and some advice to work through it.
Dealing with Infertility
An estimated 10% of women in the US struggle with infertility. There is no sugar-coating the pain and fear and sorrow that accompany it. Most of the time we talk about it as a women’s issue, but fertility issues are equally likely to arise in men as they are in women. If you’re feeling alone, consider that about 6 million women struggle, and approximately the same number of men.
Given that virtually all couples face issues with fertility at some point, talking with other men, women and/or couples about your experience can be helpful. Find a support group online or in person, or seek the help of a professional. Not only can the experience be hard emotionally, but sorting through the treatment options can be overwhelming. Get information and support from others who have been through it.
When Timing Isn't Right
Getting timing right can be tricky. Maybe you’ve frozen your eggs--or are planning to. Perhaps you’re looking for the right donor, or you’re saving money, or looking for the right partner/surrogate/life circumstance. All kinds of things can interfere with good timing.
Meanwhile, time keeps speeding along and you have planning to do. The good part is that you can use this time to plan without the pressure of a due date. Bookmark your favorite sites and articles. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Talk to moms. Make your Pinterest boards. Dream as much as you want. Remember that one day, the time will be right.
Saving for the Future
Parenthood comes with a price tag. No matter how ready and eager you are to have a baby, you may simply not be able to afford it--yet. It’s easy to get overwhelmed feeling like you’ll never have enough for your future family. All parents-to-be feel this way, and they all figure it out.
Often insurance helps with costs, including with infertility treatment options, but there are also household budgets to tweak. Talk with your insurance company to find out about your coverage. Will they cover infertility treatment? How much? What about prenatal care and delivery?
Armed with that information, now look at your budget. About how much money are you going to need each month with a baby? With your budget, consider three things: what you can easily cut; where you can reduce (like gas and groceries); and where you can increase your earnings (selling clothes instead of donating them). Save the difference. You may be surprised how much you can save in a year.
When to Say Yes, When to Say No
No matter where you are in your fertility journey, here are two more tips to keep you sane and healthy this summer:
Say No.To feeling bad, to feeling “wrong” (as if there is a right way to feel), to feeling hopeless. Say no to baby showers. You’re not an awful person; it’s just bad timing. Say no to babysitting, even if it’s your favorite nieces and nephews. Love them from afar. Say no to feeling sorry for yourself. Say no feeling like not enough. Fertility is a journey, sometimes a really tough one. Say no to apologizing for it.
Say yes. To people who love you. To good friends. To things that bring you joy. Time passes, even in hard times. This time will too. You don’t know what the future holds. Instead of feeling dread and hopelessness about it, say yes to possibility. So you don’t know what your life will look like 4 months or 6 months or 18 months from now. Don’t put your life on hold because of it. No one knows what’s next. No one. Take this as a chance to say yes. Everyone has a pre-baby bucket list. If you don’t, make one. Say yes to all of it.
With kids out of school in the summertime, they seem to show up everywhere--at the grocery store, on your evening walk, dashing in front of you at the park. And because it’s summer, it seems like everyone is throwing a baby shower or giving birth. Baby fever is real and so are all the complicated feelings that accompany it. It’s easy to feel isolated and hopeless. And though we tend to associate baby fever and infertility with women, men struggle, too.
Next time you’re struck with that familiar ache, remember that you’re in good company. Find people that you trust and reach out to them for support. Online and in person, there are people, tools and resources available to support you through it. If it helps, think of it as a real fever. Wallow a bit in how miserable you feel and be extra nice to yourself for a day or two. Then, get up and get back to your life. You’ve got your future to prepare for.