Dr. P (post-surgery): "The next three to six months are your best chances to conceive."
So maybe that's not quite what comes to mind when the phrase "performance pressure" is used. I guess it's more common for that phrase to bring to mind feeling a need to turn in a performance worthy of, er, adult entertainment, or possibly a romance novel. That's not my concern, since the quality or exoticness of the act of intimacy has no (or little) effect on the probability of conception. The performance pressure I'm feeling is a pressure to make sure that there are plenty of well-timed I's on the chart over these next several months. Mustn't waste the best chances, right? On one hand, absolutely! I didn't go through this surgery for kicks and grins. On the other hand, I have a bad habit of "to-do-izing" things, even things that shouldn't be treated as something to cross off the to-do list. And intimacy really shouldn't be just something to cross off a to-do list - unitive as well as genitive, right?
So then the problem is this: how do we maximize our chances by getting plenty of well-timed I's on the chart without making it into a task to be accomplished? My first step has been to acknowledge that I am most likely to "to-do-ize" everything when I feel overwhelmed or have a lot going on. That means I need to pare down what I'm doing so that I have as much time as possible unscheduled and uncommitted. You would think, being a housewife, that I would have plenty of time already, but I started opening my mouth and volunteering for things. I have recently been walking back those commitments; I resigned from serving as VP of my local alumnae club; I decided not to do bible study this year. We'll still be doing our ballroom dance classes, though we might not go to quite as many classes as we otherwise would. I'm still on parish pastoral council, but we're preparing to roll out the new pastoral plan, so we shouldn't be meeting quite so often in the coming months, thankfully.
The second part has been making sure that we are communicating our expectations to one another clearly. We've all heard tales of couples who had 10 (or more) straight days of I's when they conceived, and Husbandido and I agree that aiming for that frequency is beyond our capability. Too many times in a short period makes it far too difficult. Our current plan is every other day once I start observing fertile CM. If I continue using OPKs, we will aim for smiley day (the day I get a positive) and the next 2 days, most likely. (I have found that smiley day is usually within a day of peak day.) As we go through the process, we need to make sure that we keep the lines of communication open and don't start making assumptions.
Lastly, I need to pay attention to how Husbandido is doing at work. He is heading a key project at work that is perhaps the biggest update of his company's biggest product, and the deadline for it to be finished is the end of the year. I need to be aware of how much overtime he is working and how tired he is. Conversely, he needs to be aware if I start flipping out or worrying too much about money. Granted, his OT helps deal with the money stress (unlike most programmers, he gets time and half when he works OT), but it can leave him staying up too late to get his down time in (and fatigue can affect performance - just saying!). So we have to be careful to strike the right balance.
If you have any thoughts on how to get those I's on the chart without pressuring yourself (each other) too much, please share!