OK, ‘fess up. Raise your hand if, even after you’ve completed your family through adoption or successful infertility treatment, you still secretly do one (or all) of the following:

  • Track your ovulation (not through ovulation predictor kits, but in an offhanded way of noticing symptoms and timing), and make sure that you have a romantic evening during that time.
  • Look for pregnancy symptoms towards the end of your cycle.
  • Feel disappointed when your period comes because your body once again failed you.

You are not alone. The longing to be pregnant is hard to kill.

Yearning to be Pregnant

Still imagine you might be pregnant

It’s a weird thing – this desire to be pregnant. For some, it almost feels instinctual. If asked, you would likely say you’re happy with your family just the way it is. You might even say that you are glad to be finished with diapers and two-year-olds, and you’re probably very glad to be finished with fertility treatment. And yet, if your period is one day late, that little seed of hope starts to grow and you analyze every symptom (are your breasts a little more tender, are you more tired than usual, are you craving more meat) and the wondering begins. By the second day late, you may even start planning.

What is wrong with you?!?

What in the world is wrong with you??


You didn’t get to experience this part of life – pregnancy, birth, genetic continuity.  Your desire to experience this part of womanhood may be diminished, but that doesn’t mean it is completely extinguished.

What to Do?

If it’s a momentary feeling, then just knowing you’re not alone should help. If, however, the cycle of hope then disappointment is wearing on you or interfering with your joy and appreciation of your life and family, then seek help, preferably from a therapist who understands infertility grief.

Coming to Terms with Infertility Grief Before You Adopt

Although it’s not for everyone, I know of a number of women who start using birth control after they adopted a child. Even though they are infertile, doing this ensures that they no longer have to wonder each month if this might be the month that their body finally starts working.

Have you ever had this experience of imagining a pregnancy each month after you adopted or completed your family through successful infertility treatment? We’d love to hear more about it in the comments!

Originally published in 2014; Updated in 2019
Image credit: Laura D’Alessandro