If you’re trying to get pregnant (which, if you’re reading this, you probably are), you know the stressors and uncertainties of navigating the new terrain of attempting to build your family. Unlike the happy-go-lucky world shown prominently in the media, such as picking the name and buying outfits for your future bundle of joy, a lot of careful planning and sometimes nerve-wracking doubt and confusion can accompany preparing for pregnancy. Questions about every aspect of your life can come bubbling from your subconscious to the surface– should you change your whole diet? Are you taking the right vitamins? How often should you be visiting your doctor? Are you doing ANYTHING right?
The panic is normal, but knowing that doesn’t make it any less agonizing. Thankfully, with the internet connecting us effortlessly in so many ways, it’s easy to feel at-ease and receive support from all over the world instantly with the TTC Community.
TTC stands for “Trying to Conceive”, and it is a world-wide effort to unite people attempting to get pregnant. Safe spaces to ask questions, get advice, and hear different perspectives abound in every avenue of the world wide web. This week, we take a look at some of the best places online to get involved, and provide a few hand-selected recommendations to get you started.
Sometimes, the best way to connect is to bond from a distance through stories. Stories have a way of uniting us and making us stronger than the sum of our parts. As the character Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones famously said, “There is nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.” Blogs can be as interactive as you’d like; you can enjoy from afar by following updates, or submit your thoughts and leave a public comment.
thisisalicerose.com/blog: Blog author Alice does a great job articulating the ups and downs of her journey with an honest vulnerability and beautiful prose– if you like reading well-written personal accounts in the style of short stories or essays without the “dos and don’ts” lists, this blog will be your cup of tea.
hellobee.com: This super-site has it all! Not only is there a blog to follow, this page has message boards to interact with other readers, along with a classifieds section to buy, sell, or trade baby and pregnancy goods. One of many websites you can justify browsing for hours!
notafrumpymum.com: Author Jo writes on many aspects of life (fashion, fitness, food, decorating, etc.) but her motherhood entries, especially those discussing her struggles with IVF, are especially poignant and inspiring.
If you don’t mind your personal information being tied to your posts, Facebook is a wonderful tool to connect with those in the TTC community near and far. While your personal Facebook will be tied to your comments within the groups, they are designed to be safe spaces– many groups are secret or private to ensure no one outside the group can view your activity. It’s great for finding people near you should you wish to take the plunge to an in-person support group meeting, or to post pics, ask questions, and be part of a lively, fast-paced discussion.
Facebook Group Recommendations:
Fab Fertile Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/451444518397946/)– This group is run by Fertility Coach Sarah Clark. The best thing about this group is the freebies– free fertility yoga videos, free downloads, mini-raffles for free fertility coaching sessions, and more. She also does a FB live video series where you can ask questions. Sarah does a great job of being present within this group and providing support.
Fertility Warriors Support & Chat Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/fertilitywarriors/)– This is a group led by Infertility Warrior, writer, and blogger Robyn Birkin. She is passionate about creating a tribe of women who support themselves in their quest for a baby. She leads the group in special days- Manifest Monday, Grateful Wednesday, and Feel Good Friday. This is a great group for emotional support! She also runs a podcast, which we will discuss later in this article.
There’s no doubt that Instagram is one of the easiest ways to spend time on your phone or computer. A flick of the thumb can transport you from runway looks to stimulating slime videos to delicious recipes. Now, you can add gurus of the TTC community to your feed as well!
Man of IVF (@mansivfview): When most people think infertility, they think of it solely as a women’s issue. Many don’t realize that infertility affects men deeply as well, as both participants and loving partners. Even when male-factor is not the main cause for infertility, the journey of trying to start a family is mentally and emotionally taxing. On @mansivfview, a 30-something-year-old man shares his view of the IVF journey. Though she posts less frequently, his wife also shares her perspective on a separate account @themummydream
Natalie Crawford, MD (@nataliecrawfordmd): With the amount of misinformation on the internet, particularly regarding healthcare, physicians across the country are using social media as a way to educate beyond the geographic area in which they care for patients. Natalie Crawford is a board-certified OB/GYN, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility physician living in Austin, Texas. Through her Instagram account @nataliecrawfordmd, blog and podcast As a Woman, Dr. Crawford shares fact-based information regarding fertility and women’s health with the goal of promoting fertility awareness.
Hilariously Infertile (@hilariously_infertile): Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. With her account @hilariously_infertile, author Karen Jeffries is on a mission to make others who have struggled with infertility laugh and with more than 54,300 followers it must be working. Her profile reads: part teacher, part mom, part wife, fully inappropriate and forever infertile. This account is sure to be a bright spot even on the most difficult days.
Additionally, you can make your own Instagram account specifically for your TCC journey and make new friends by utilizing hashtags. Many choose to keep these separate accounts private so that they can be candid without fear of prying eyes of friends and family; this means you can share a connection without putting your information on blast for the world to see.
If you want to start a TTC account on Instagram here is how to do it:
- Pick a name that makes it obvious you are trying to have a baby. People use names like: makingbabyjones, myivfrainbow, ttcbabyjones, ivfbabydust, ttcscienceandfaith, thejonesbabyproject, waitingformyrainbow, etc.
- Make sure your Profile Description is clear. Many women have private accounts and they specifically say “TTC-only please,” which means that only other women trying to conceive should ask to follow them. Many women put their whole TTC journey into the short amount of characters Instagram gives them. It will be something with images that shows when they were married, how long they’ve been trying, any babies in heaven, and what they are trying now (natural, IVF, Clomid, etc.).
- Start posting– and use hashtags to find community and build a following. You both USE hastags on YOUR posts and you can search for hashtags to find other people’s posts and start following profiles you like. Here is a list of commonly used ttc, fertility, and infertility hashtags: #fertility #infertility #ttc #ttcsisters #ttcjourney #ttccommunity #infertilitysucks #ivfjourney #miscarriage #pcos #pcosawareness #ivfsisters #endometriosis #infertility #sisters #infertilitycommunity #ttcwithpcos #ttcwithendo #ovulation #infertilitysupport #unexplainedinfertility #infertilityjourney #fertilityjourney #infertilityawareness #ivf #iui #fet #pcosfighter #conception #getpregnant #letsgetpregnant #fertilitydiet #fertilefoods #ttcafterloss #ttcaftermiscarriage #POAS (pee on all the sticks) #miraclebaby
If you feel asking a question to a wide audience of people in similar situations, or would like to directly contribute to a discussion in real-time, all without leaving your home or speaking a word, a message board may be the right support for you. Forums usually offer some form of anonymity (no need to use your real name, unless you’d like to) while still be moderated by a person or group of people dedicated to making the board as positive and helpful as possible.
trying-to-conceive.supportgroups.com: If you are new to forums in general and want a low-stress environment that still has regular updates from several different users, this is a good place to start. This board is friendly and helpful, but won’t bombard you with comments.
reddit.com: Reddit has a lively message board for anything you can think of under the sun. Not only do they have a forum for TTC in general (aptly called r/TTC), but there are subreddits for if you are trying to get pregnant for the very first time (r/FirstTimeTTC), if you are over 30 years old (r/TTC30), if you are recovering from the loss of a miscarriage or stillbirth (r/ttcafterloss), and many, many more. No matter how specific your situation, there is almost certainly someone on Reddit who has been there. Be prepared for fast-paced and frequent contributors, as Reddit is still one of the busiest sites on the internet.
For those who prefer to talk it out without a screen to separate them, support groups are great ways to meet other people in the same boat. They give you the chance to experience a real, human connection with people in your area, and can be a wonderful opportunity to make friends and learn additional resources. If you prefer eye-contact to text, a support group or meet-up is the way to go.
meetup.com/topics/ttc: There’s a Meetup group for EVERYTHING– artists, skateboarders, wine connoisseurs, and even those in the TTC Community! There are groups all over the world, and even ones that focus on specific aspects of conception, like preferring to conceive naturally, or those trying to get pregnant with PCOS.
resolve.org/support/find-a-support-group: RESOLVE, also known as the National Infertility Association, hosts support groups all over the country so you can talk to others with similar experience face-to-face. They also put on educational events and provide the means to host your own support group if you feel like giving back.
Wouldn’t it be great to get the support you crave and information you need without lifting a finger or typing a word? Good news– the future is now! Whether you prefer to enjoy your media curled up on the couch or during your commute to work, these TTC podcasts and YouTube channels can get you involved in the community quickly and easily.
The Fertility Podcast: Natalie of The Fertility Podcast is a case study in successful fertility treatment. She delivered a healthy baby boy after dealing with infertility. According to Natalie, her best friend was her saving grace during this difficult period, listening to her frustrations and just being there for her. In her ongoing podcast, Natalie hopes to bring this same level of support to other people struggling with conception. She’s talked with fertility doctors, researchers, nutritionists, and other hopeful parents nearly each week since 2014, providing a library of support and education.
The Fertility Warriors Podcast: You often don’t know what you’re capable of living through until life puts you through the wringer. For Robyn Birkin, founder of Modern Day Missus and the Fertility Warriors Podcast, that wringer involved a stretch of infertility and a miscarriage. She knows the struggles many women with infertility face on a daily basis, and she understands how isolating infertility can be. Now a mother, Birkin hosts her podcast to help women living through the same experiences. She interviews experts and other women to create a safe place of support.
Youtube Channel Recommendations:
Vee’s Diary: YouTuber Vesta began her channel to inspire hope in others struggling with infertility. In fact, before becoming a contributor herself, Vesta was a viewer just like you. She started watching TTC videos after suffering multiple miscarriages and decided that when she finally got pregnant she’d give back to the community by posting her own online diary to encourage others. “I promised myself that once I had one child I’d do it,” she says. “I just wanted to encourage people and tell them that you shouldn’t just sit there and do nothing.”
Ysis Lorenna: Another great channel comes from yet another woman inspired by seeing others post their fertility journey on YouTube– Ysis Lorenna. In a recent interview, Ysis confessed that before stumbling across other TTC videos, she couldn’t have imagined that she’d lay bare her vulnerabilities for the world to see. “I never thought I would even consider sharing that much about my private life, including our TTC journey and some very painful experiences like my ectopic pregnancy.” Now, she shares her stories and experiences to people the world over.