Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, July 12, 2010

On Being Less Crazy During Wedding Planning

Now that Matt and I are going through the conception process, I find that there are a lot of parallels to the wedding planning process. For one, it can be full of anxiety. In fact, the more of a control freak you are, the more anxiety-producing the process can be.

Take conception, for example. There is a long window of time during which you may or may not be pregnant, and there's very little you can do to figure it out. So being the obsessive planner slash over-analyzer that I am, I find myself constantly asking, "Could I be pregnant? Is this symptom a sign of pregnancy? Let's see what Google has to say." I ask these questions in my head all the time, and then I subject my best friend and my partner to the same obsessive questioning: "It's now day 35 of my cycle. My last cycle was 33 days, but the cycle before that was 35 days. But my longest cycle in the past year was 43 days. So what do you think? Am I pregnant?"

Holy moly. I am annoying myself just by recounting all this...

So anyway, I am learning a lesson during this process, that might come in handy for you, when you find yourself getting crazy-obsessive or unnecessarily worried: Stop talking about it.

I know, I know. It's easier said than done. But here's the thing: The more I think these thoughts, the more I talk about them with others. The more I talk about them with others, the more I think about them. It's a downward spiral that has got to stop.

I may not be able to reign in my crazy thoughts, but I can control my actions in response to that craziness. I can stop myself from talking about it and dragging others into the craziness. I can prevent myself from taking any crazy actions in response to my crazy thoughts (for example, I can stop myself from incessantly peeing on pregnancy tests).

My theory is that the less I talk about the craziness and the less I act on it, the less it will control my life. Also, when I find myself starting to think obsessive thoughts, "Was that cramp a PMS cramp because my period is coming or was it a uterus expanding cramp because I'm pregnant?," I will give myself a little mental nudge to move onto other thoughts. I have lots of other stuff to think about aside from conception.

Now, I'm not saying that we should repress all of our craziness. It's good to get it out. But there is a very distinct line between getting your craziness out by sharing it with someone else and getting their help to work through it, versus talking about it obsessively and making it worse. Those of you who have the kinds of crazy thoughts that I have know what I'm talking about.

So let's stop talking about it, okay?

(Although I do think it would be perfectly suitable for you to talk about it in the comments section to acknowledge what it is that you are going to stop talking about).

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Chelli bean said...

I know exactly how your feel. I plan so far in advance and like to research into everything, so when we were trying to conceive, I stressed myself out. Unfortunately I miscarried at 7 weeks, I can't help but wonder if the constant thinking about it just stressed me out. I will really have to try to not think about it next time I'm pregnant, easier said than done, when you are worrying about not having a miscarriage.

Kacey said...

Great post! My caterer actually said basically the same thing to me the other day. I have been stressing about two possible reception sites, and essentially driving myself crazy. And I've been dragging my friends into it to (I even bemoaned about it to the best man). It is so true that by thinking about it too much it becomes an obsession and starts to skew your perception and take control. I am so tempted to write about the situation here in the comments section just to hear some kindred spirits weigh in. But I won't. Unless someone thinks they could offer some good advice. Sigh.

Alex Vendt said...

I did the same thing just before my fiancé and I got engaged. We've been together since we were 13 and knew we wanted to get married a while ago. I got so excited about moving into the engagement period that I drove the poor man nuts. =/ Needless to say, I am avoiding that with our wedding planning process as best as I can.

diana said...

There are definitely parallels. There were things in wedding planning that drove me nuts. I really had to learn to just relax, and fix it if I could, and stop worrying if I couldn't. In the end it was fantastic. My husband and I are also trying to conceive. The first month I was totally obsessive, and the two week wait was awful. I probably wasted 4-5 tests by testing too early. This time I'm not counting days and testing repeatedly. I'm sure that as we continue I will probably start counting and testing more, but right now I'm trying to focus on work and other things and just let thing go as they are. Much easier said than done, but really it's been crucial to my sanity and that of my husband.

Therese T. said...

Yup. I hear ya.

I am planning my Manila wedding and sometimes I check out, only to go back in with renewed vigor. It's nice to take a break sometimes.

We will be trying to get pregnant after our Austin wedding, I think. And I am attending a nat. family planning class for the Catholic church. So we'll see how that goes!

rosemeg said...

Not related to planning or craziness, per se, but I was annoyed about something the other day and vented to the wrong people -- people I knew would be outraged on my behalf -- and, by the end of a brief conversation, I was whipped into a heart-racing tizzy instead of just annoyed like I'd been before.

Different situation, but another very clear example of how we can choose whether or not to engage in negativity, whether it takes the form of outrage, anxiety, etc.

Take a deep breath, and good luck with your baby making!!!

sara said...

I definitely relate. I'm planning a casual wedding this summer and trying to conceive! So I switch back and forth from thinking too much about one and then the other. I think the conception thing is winning out though.

To make matters worse, after recently sharing or over-sharing with someone, they told me all about "hysterical pregnancy" - one more thing to worry about right? That said, learning more about it has been motivating for me to just relax and work harder at letting go of my attachments in this whole process. What will be, will be.

Lizzie [Ten Thou Bride] said...

It's the word vomit of Mean Girls in our real lives, definitely. I would think conception would be 10x what wedding planning is! It's a baby, maybe!

I agree with Rosemeg: Venting to the wrong people can only make you more crazy, you have to re-vent to the right person and add that you vented to a bad choice of ears...blah blah. I'm the same way, Sara, I am all up in my own head and it definitely helps to quit talking about it.

As usual, good luck!

Angie said...

Um... this post is so appropriate for me right now.

Thanks! As always! And good luck!

Anonymous said...

haha! sara you make me smile! i love your craziness. and how lovely that you have a partner in awesomeness that loves you for who you are, crazy and all.
I agree that taking active steps to stop talking about it will help.
Plus i think you should be trying to keep stress free at this time.. instead of obsessing about making a baby why dont you try and redirect that energy into your relationship, try to "make love" instead of "make baby".
also redirect that into staying healthy (not super skinny) eat a bit more of the good stuff, take stress busting bubble baths, pamper yourself.
I know you and matt will make the most beautiful baby! (born with year planner and running shoes on!)

Anonymous said...

If you track your basal body temperature, vervical mucus, and add ovulation predictor kits, it takes all the guess work (and therefore stress) out of trying to conceive.

I use fertilityfriend dot com

I know exactly when I ovulate (helps time sex perfectly), and by default exactly when my period is due to arrive. No period = time to test.

The College Lie said...

Sarah - just found your blog, and it's great. As a previous comment mentioned, you can track your cycle very easily with basal body temps and observing cervical mucus. Since you have long cycles, you probably don't ovulate until much later than 'normal' - the first half of your cycle will vary, but ovulation to menstruation is almost always 12-16 days.

Find a copy of Toni Weschler's 'Taking Charge of Your Fertility'. Knowledge is power, but knowledge also reduces stress enormously, because it puts you in control of the process. Good luck TTC!

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