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Biology can be a cruel mistress, and if you’ve spent your teens and twenties worrying you might get pregnant only to spend your thirties worrying you might not, you know it. Melissa Grelo, co-host of The Social, knows it, too. She and husband Ryan Gaggi tried for two-and-a-half years before conceiving daughter Marquesa, who was born last year. Grelo’s story ends happily, with a new beginning, but she hasn’t forgotten the journey.

If getting pregnant is taking longer than you’d hoped, here’s Grelo’s tested advice for keeping your spirits up:

Before trying to conceive:

Get your AMH (fertility hormones) tested

“Depending on your age, unfortunately there is a thing called a biological clock for women,” says Grelo. “And you never know until you start trying what’s going to happen.” Regardless of relationship status, if you’re sure you want to have children and are nearing what doctors call “advanced maternal age” (35 or over), start a conversation with your doctor.  It can be scary, and admittedly stressful, but the goal is to create a general picture of overall fertility so you know how to proceed when the time is right.

Once you’ve been trying for a while:

Choose a communication strategy

For some would-be-parents, sharing helps, but for Grelo, it was easier not to worry her family. “We decided not to tell them when we were realizing this was going to take a lot longer than we thought, because we didn’t want to a) worry them, and b) we were going through enough stress that we didn’t want to have them constantly asking us…For us, that worked.”

On the flip side, once Grelo and Gaggi were a year into their conception journey, they decided to share with their closest relatives. But the sharing came with a disclaimer: “We’re going through this, and we’re wanting to let you know, but don’t ask us about it until you hear it from us.”

Choose a communication strategy Tina Fey zip it

Find your community

Although she was mum with family, Grelo did reach out to other women she knew who were also struggling to conceive. “It was just nice to hear how they were coping,” she says. “Talking and sharing your story helps you realize that you’re not alone.” An empathetic audience also helped relieve stress.

SATC we made a deal...we're soulmates

Find a healthcare professional you jive with

Grelo switched fertility doctors a year into her conception journey and never looked back. Trying to conceive can be stressful, and if a personality mismatch is adding to discomfort, consider a new approach.

find a doc you trust Mindy Kaling wink

Look at the whole picture

At the first fertility clinic, it was all charts and numbers, but a naturopathic doctor at Grelo’s second clinic forced her to consider lifestyle changes that could promote fertility. At the time, Grelo was only getting four hours of sleep a night. By the time she conceived Marquesa, she was clocking a much healthier seven to seven-and-a-half hours, and felt more energetic.

Consider a holistic approach Glee here I am feeling energetic

Take breaks from trying

If you’re trying to conceive, then you know there’s nothing more irritating than being told to stop trying so hard. That said, some efforts — temperature charting, cycle monitoring, and all those blood tests — can be exhausting. Grelo recommends setting aside time to have fun with your partner and not talk about babies. At. all. 

Homer and Marge having taking a break from trying to conceive

Celebrate the pros of NOT having a baby

Hopefully you will become a parent. In the meantime, there are upsides to a child-free lifestyle, and Grelo recommends enjoying them as much as possible. While she and her husband were trying, they agreed that if a baby wasn’t in the cards for them, they’d do their best to focus on the positives: travelling, completing their bucket lists and enjoying the love they already share.

The Social airs live weekdays at 1 p.m. ET on CTV.