Reading the comment on yesterday's blog made me realize that many women have no idea there is two different kinds of "relaxing" when it comes to TTC. And in those two different kinds there are varying degrees for each individual.
For most couples when you first start trying it is completely relaxed, and most couples don't even realize that in all reality you really only have about 9 days where becoming pregnant is possible as long as the couple has healthy sperm and eggs. I don't know what school teaches now, but they never taught me that. Sperm can live for approximately 7 day in the most fertile conditions and an egg will be viable anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. This is the most optimal time for conception.
Most women also don't realize that their body is constantly giving them signs as to what part of your cycle you are in. When I was in school I was taught that if you have your period you are most likely not going to get pregnant, the rest of your cycle you can easily get pregnant. I understand the scare tactic, I really do, but it's definitely not truthful. The truth is, approximately 48 hours after you ovulate until you start menstruating, you have less chance of getting pregnant than any other time in your cycle.
I would say somewhere around the 6th month of trying most couples start to wonder why they aren't pregnant yet. In reality this is only 6 tries at getting pregnant, but 6 months feels like forever. This is where the women start doing research on "how to get pregnant". This is also when they learn about all the myths of infertility, like relaxing, or this sex position increases your chances, or put your hips in the air... the list can go on and on.
Eventually you either read about you Basal Body Temperature (BBT) or you go see your doctor and they tell you about it your BBT is the simplest at home way to tell if you are ovulating. I won't go into details, but basically you chart your temperature every morning, and you keep track of any discharge and cramps you may have. Most doctors, before proceeding with testing will require you to do this for 6 months. You get to know your body very intimately.
And here is where type one of relaxing ends. After 6 months of seeing that you are ovulating and paying close attention to what your body is telling you, it's kind of hard to stop. At this point doing a "relaxed" cycle pretty much just means that you aren't going to take your temperature every day, you aren't going to use ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) and you are going to try like hell to not take a test until after the day you expect your period.
But it is about impossible to stop paying attention to what you feel in your body. Especially if you have experienced pregnancy before. Every cycle you just know "this is it", when I got pregnant before I had cramps this many days after ovulation, or my breasts are tender this month, I have to be pregnant, or such and such only happens when I'm pregnant. But guess what, these things are never true. Many pregnancy symptoms are the same as your menstruation symptoms and no two pregnancies are the same. So every month you say "we're just going to relax" you do just fine until you notice your discharge is becoming fertile, and then you are ok for about a week until you realize "it's about time for implantation". And then your head spins and you don't know if what you are feeling is real or not.
If there is any infertile out there with advise on how to "relax" more please give the advice.
Even on a cycle where we have said "we're just going to have sex for fun this month, no timing, noting" I can't help but know that it's my fertile time. After months of keeping track of when you are fertile, you just know. And when you want a baby, you can't help but make sure you don't miss a chance.
I appreciate your comment Olive Oyl, and in all honestly what you suggested is exactly what we have been doing for the last 6 months. I charted my BBT long enough to confirm I was ovulating and that was it.
If anyone wants to learn more about their body and their cycle I suggest the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book has taught me so much and I plan to have my daughter read it when she starts learning about reproduction in school. It teaches you how to know when you are fertile and when you are not and how to use your cycle signals as a natural family planning method.
I hope this all makes sense to everyone. It kind of just came pouring out.