Whether you are trying to conceive a baby naturally or you decided to use the help of assisted reproduction technology, this time is never easy for you or your partner. Struggling with infertility often means frequent pregnancy tests, timed intercourse, scheduled medical procedures, daily hormone injections and so on. All this may take its toll on both you and your partner/husband. So how to relax when trying to conceive and how to protect your bond with your partner?
EggDonationFriends have asked 3 wonderful women to share with us their advice on how to keep your relationship healthy while trying for a baby. Burke, Monica and Nina are authors, writers and bloggers and they have walked the infertility path before.
Nina Leicht-Crist, blogger of Millions of Peaches, a mother and the author of “Love, Faith and Infertility” published in March 2017 shares her family’s wisdom:
My great-grandma would have said, “Too many cooks in the kitchen will ruin your food” and by that she meant if you listen to too many people you wouldn’t gain advice, but only get confused and frustrated. However, when trying to conceive you will notice just about anybody will eventually offer help and “advice”- if you want it or not.
Some of the unsolicited advice, such as “you just have to relax and a baby will come” or “try having intercourse this way for guaranteed results”, you can delete from your memory almost and certainly immediately. I can say that with full conviction because my husband and I tried to conceive naturally and with the help of REI specialists for a total of 13 years and the only REAL advice I would want to give freely and with utmost respect is:
- Listen to each other and support each other’s dreams, hopes and wishes. Unconditionally!
- Pick up the slack when the other is physically, emotionally or psychologically unable. You are a team!
Because the truth is: waiting for your baby takes a lot of patience, faith (in your God, medicine, and nature), love (for each other and yourself), and hope – never give up!
Monica Haim, a writer and producer, shares with us 6 great tips on how to look after your relationship when you are TTC:
- Focus on what you DO have, versus what you don’t. Because until you achieve the goal of having a family — however, it ultimately happens — your relationship IS your family.
- Join forces with your partner to embrace the free-fall of the experience. Surrender together to the not-knowing, and hold on to one another firmly throughout.
- Understand that your partner may be feeling even more helpless than you. Don’t shut them out, even when it feels like you’re the one who is carrying the physical burden of fertility treatments.
- Observe and talk about one another’s feelings, even if they are painful — but try not to linger there indefinitely. Work hard to transcend the gloom.
- Make a pact to trust the vicissitudes, to fall into the plan that the universe has laid out for you two as a team.
- “We refuse to be joyless” should become your joint mantra. And commit to filling your days with the good stuff: love, laughter, togetherness, adventure.
Burke Barr, American blogger of Baby Blues, shares 2 great tips.
- Listen to each other and if that does not work seek a therapist with experience treating couples struggling with infertility.
Any couple trying to conceive will undoubtedly fight because of the stress and lack of understanding of each other’s feelings. In my marriage, the fights and disagreements started when more than one reproductive endocrinologist suggested egg donor IVF, after four failed attempts at IUI/IVF. Despite my husband’s best efforts, he did not understand my hesitation and distress over having to use another woman’s eggs in order to conceive. In fact, after our first consultation, he was ready to move forward with egg donation, and I was not. Our marriage suffered from a disconnect stemming from an inability to listen and hear the other’s point of view. The result was several tearful fights. I finally realized that we needed a safe place to discuss feelings and ideas. For months we went weekly to a therapist, who is no stranger to infertility. Over time we found ourselves understanding each other and better able to communicate our concerns, hesitations, and feelings.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your spouse/significant other
As a follow up to my first tip, I suggest that in the process of trying to conceive each person take a moment to stand in the shoes of their partner. A man will never understand the physical and emotional toll infertility and treatments take on a woman. He can never imagine what it is like to be a woman without a child, or have the pressure of an unbending biological clock. At the same time, a woman cannot forget that it is never easy for the man in her life. Even though he does not have the same biological pressures, he may be struggling with his own fertility issues or insecurities. All too often we fail to consider what our partner is feeling or experiencing during this process, because we are caught up in our emotions and feelings. I see the toll infertility takes on my husband. I often fail to consider that he may have feelings of failure or inadequacy because he cannot produce a child, which is tied into many men feeling that they should be able to do “their job” and overcome infertility no matter how difficult. Empathy and understanding are integral in the process of trying to conceive. So the next time you think to yourself, “he does not understand,” take a moment and consider if you are in fact guilty of neglecting his feelings.
How long have you been trying to conceive? Do you have your own tips on how to look after your marriage or relationship during this stressful time? Share with us in the comments.