How to get along with your partner while trying to conceive

How to get along with your partner while trying to conceive

Making a baby should be fun.

You’re in love, you want to grow your family, you get to have sex.

Unfortunately this scenario can turn into the opposite pretty quickly.

You’re disagreeing, you’re not talking and you only have sex when required.


If you are shifting into this second scenario, know that you are not alone.

With the existing stress of work deadlines, finances and family, throwing a long, uncertain waiting game of challenged fertility into the mix can create a new level of stress.

Here’s a few things I see and what you can do about it.

1.   Imbalance of effort

Often the woman feels she is putting in way more time and energy than her partner.   She is probably right.  Frankly it is usually the woman doing the research, trying new foods, going through medical tests.

Solution:  There are ways your partner can contribute that can make you feel more supported.  For instance he can agree to ask you how you are feeling or what you are learning.  He can agree to take X supplement and stop eating Y food.

It’s important to have a conversation about what you request from each other in supportive, non-aggressive way.


2.  Different philosophies

Often the female wants a more natural approach and her partner wants things to be more medical.  Or maybe the female partner is ready to try an egg or sperm donor, but the male partner refuses.

Solution:  When you don’t see eye to eye, one solution is to create a timeline of what you are wiling to try until when.  You may agree to stay the natural course three more months before trying IUI, or maybe allow six months before considering a donor.

It’s important to not constantly reevaluate these timelines.  You may decide to change your mind, but constantly reconsidering a decision causes stress.


3.   Your sex life is suffering

This is an area where the male partner often gets resentful.  He feels as if you only want to have sex when you’re ovulating, and may feel you only care about his sperm.

Solution:  You both will enjoy sex more when you spend time trying new things or focusing on connecting instead of the fact that you just ovulated.

It’s important to remember that your connection to your partner is why you want to have a baby.  Keeping that connection strong now is as important as ever.  Dealing with infertility is not easy, but learning to work together through the hard times is a valuable skill.



What has helped you and your partner keep the love alive through thick and thin?


Engaging those who question our choices

Pursuing natural alternatives to more traditional medicines and treatments is a deeply personal decision, and one which many of us do not take lightly. My husband and I often spend hours analyzing research and weighing our findings against our beliefs, our health history, and our personal preferences. Sometimes we decide that a more traditional medical approach is best, but most of the time we pursue more natural alternative therapies.

The thing is, no one raises an eyebrow if we mention that our doctor recommended such and such treatment. But you can probably imagine the looks and questions we get when we mention an herbal remedy, essential oil, or diet change that we’re trying for a common (or sometimes not so common) ailment.

I think sometimes people assume that because we choose a natural remedy or therapy, we are just crazy hippies stuck in the last century who must not have done our homework, and who are diametrically opposed to modern medicine and science. And sometimes I struggle with how to respond to questions from people who I know disagree with our decisions.

Oh but the need for grace pops up everywhere, doesn’t it? We stand in constant need of grace from others, and likewise, they stand in need of grace from us.

Engaging those who question or disagree with our decision to pursue natural alternatives    (

I’ve found three tips to remember when engaging friends and family members who disagree with, or question our decision to pursue a more natural lifestyle and alternative medicines:

1. Remember that just because a natural remedy or practice is best for me, it may not be for everyone.

When we’re faced with perceived criticism or questions regarding our health-related decisions, my husband and I strive to remember that our decisions and preferences are unique to us. We often remind our friends of this by simply stating, “We know this isn’t for everyone, but we’re pleased with our decision to _______.” Sometimes a simple acknowledgement that we aren’t trying to convert or convince anyone to do it our way helps keep the conversation peaceful.

2. Remember that for many, we’re the “expert” on the matter. But really, we’re not experts.

I’ll never forget the time I suggested to a friend to try essential oils for a migraine. I’d personally alleviated a migraine using essential oils, so I felt confident in recommending they try it too. Unfortunately I failed to consider that this friend had a long family history of debilitating migraines, while I’ve only had a few in my life. When they asked why essential oils would work, I had no answer for them. I just knew that they had helped me.

For many of our friends and family members, you and I are the most knowledgeable person they know when it comes to alternative remedies and practices. But very few of us are actually experts, and oftentimes our expertise is experiential (though many times there are loads of data and research to back up our great experiences). And some personality types just don’t give much credit to experiential testimonies, it’s not personal, it’s the way they’re hard-wired.

3. Sometimes people ask questions because they really want to know.

Unfortunately, often times when we’re learning something new we don’t know how or what to ask. The depth and strength of the relationship helps us gauge if someone is asking because they are interested in learning, or simply because they are interested in our story. Sometimes it is both, but very rarely is it neither.

I have friends and family members who are not interested in learning about alternative medicine and natural remedies, but they are deeply invested in our story. For these dear relationships it is so important to me to establish a mutual respect of one another’s medical and health-related choices. And a genuine respect results in genuine support, even when our choices seem to be so different.

What about you? How do you respond to questions or comments regarding your decision to pursue natural alternatives to traditional medicine?


Ways to Nurse a Waiting, Hurting Heart

This time of year can be hard on a broken, waiting heart.  There is something magical about this season, and the weight of infertility seemingly strips away the magic and wonder of Christmas.

We see their smiles and hear their giggles, and we’re reminded of just how much Christmas spirit children bring to the world. We’re reminded of our own empty arms and quiet homes, and we see our stockings hanging lonely on the mantle. There are moments of joy and beauty, but there are few things that can soothe the ache in our hearts.

Over the past few Christmases my husband and I have been intentional to discover (and sometimes create) ways to nurse a waiting, hurting heart. I’d like to share those ideas with you.

Five Ways to Nurse a Waiting Hurting Heart

Five Ways to Nurse a Waiting, Hurting Heart

1. Count your blessings.

It sounds too simple, and a bit cliche, but sometimes it is in the darkest moments of grief and frustration that a tiny flame of  hope and thanksgiving is kindled. This time of year I am keenly aware of what I don’t have: children filling my home with laughter and excitement. Bitterness is an easy response – it is familiar to my heart; but it is now, when I am tempted to that bitterness, that I must take inventory of the things for which I am thankful. From intangible things like fond childhood memories, to my most prized processions like the scrapbook I created of our first year of marriage, there are countless things for which I am immensely grateful, and I’d like to dwell on those things I have, rather than the things I don’t.

2. Have a strategy.

Last Christmas was tough, my husband’s cousin had just given birth to twins and I was scared I would have to see her and those precious newborn babes at Christmas. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see them, but I was in such a dark place that I truly didn’t know if I could handle seeing everyone dote on those tiny babies.

I suspect you know your own vulnerabilities, you know what situations and which people have the potential to bring up that monster of bitterness and that cloud of depression. My challenge to you: go into the holiday season with a strategy of what you can say, where you can go, and how you can graciously escape those situations that are too much to bear. Don’t be afraid to be proactive in protecting your heart, but remember to offer kindness and to seek peace when you must excuse yourself from a conversation or situation.

3. Go see a kid movie.

I admit it can be pretty tough to be the only childless couple in a theater crowded with children. My husband and I squirm a bit at the beginning of movies because we feel out-of-place: two childless adults at the latest Disney Pixar film. But hearing the laughter of children in a dark movie theater will help you see the movie through the eyes of a child, and it is so much fun! Sometimes we just need to laugh heartily, without reservations, and the unreserved laughter of children is contagious and good for the soul.

4. Take a kid Christmas shopping.

It always saddens me that I won’t be helping a little one pick out Christmas presents for my husband. Several years ago I realized that I can experience this joy by investing my time and excitement into the lives of my friends’ children. I asked a sweet friend of mine if I could borrow her daughters for the day, and told her that I wanted to take them Christmas shopping. I treated them to dinner and took them to all of their favorite stores. Watching them debate about what to get for their mom and dad was refreshing to my spirit. We sang along to Christmas music, braved the cold weather, and had fun wrapping presents. It was truly the highlight of my holiday season.

5. Invest in the life of a child.

There are so many ways to invest in the life of a child. Many families sponsor children all year round through World Vision, Compassion International, or a similar ministry. Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree, and other seasonal ministries allow us to impact a child’s life specifically during the Christmas season. I think it is important to remember that there are children who need a positive, loving influence in their lives, and not just at Christmas. It is hard to be childless during the holiday season, but there is a peace that comes in knowing that I’ve invested my time and energy into the life of a child who is also hurting during the holidays. Helping with homework, stringing popcorn garland, and going to look at Christmas lights, are simple ways to impact a child, and there’s a good chance they will impact your heart as much or more as you impact theirs.

What about you? How do you protect your heart and embrace joy in spite of infertility? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How to survive infertility during the holidays

How to Survive Infertility During the Holidays

The holiday season can be one of the most bitter seasons of the year for those of us who are struggling with empty arms. Almost everything is geared toward family and children and the normal feelings of mourning for the things we’ve lost can take a depressing turn if we’re not careful.

Here are five tips to keep your holiday season beautiful:

1. Start making a list, right now, of things you are thankful for.

Grab a copy of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (on Amazon here) or just pick up a notebook and start listing the beautiful things in your life. They don’t have to be big, any simple little thing will work. I have notebooks filled with lists that look something like this:

25. cinnamon tea on cold days
26. a new calf in the barn
27. the smell of fresh apples
28. a new striped maxi skirt

Focusing on our blessings will automatically make every day better. I promise.

2. Create traditions

It’s easy to think, “Someday, when I have children…” and list off all the fun holiday traditions you want to do. Don’t. Nothing kills joy faster than wishing for something other than what you have. Celebrate today. Invent traditions that you can enjoy right now.

  • make a thanksgiving pie while watching a favorite movie 
  • exchange Christmas ornaments each year with a friend
  • go for “Christmas light drives” after dark
  • build a snowman (don’t forget the top hat!)
  • invite a few friends over for an adults-only candlelight dinner

3. Focus on others.

For years I tried to think ahead of time about ways to make the holiday season easier for myself. I’ll give you a little tip: this doesn’t work. You will never be happy when you’re focused on yourself. Instead, choose something you can do just for the pure pleasure of blessing others.

  • watch your friend’s children so they can go Christmas shopping
  • invite your nieces and nephews over to make Christmas cookies
  • work at a soup kitchen
  • visit a nursing home
  • show up on a friend’s doorstep with dinner and a board game
  • go shopping and put together as many boxes for Operation Christmas Child as possible

4. When you’re struck with sadness (and you will be), don’t get upset. Just deal with it and move on.

One Christmas Eve when we were getting ready to leave my brother’s house, his daughter, the one who looks just like me, came running over to tell us goodbye. “See my jammies,” she said, pointing to her inside out footie-pajamas, “when my mama was little she used to wear her pajamas inside out so it would snow for Christmas.”

She was all giggles and happiness but for some reason I was paralyzed with this deep, horrible sadness. I don’t have a daughter to celebrate fun little mommy-daughter memories with. I cried, right there with my niece’s chubby arms around my neck. She patted my cheeks and asked what was wrong and I just shrugged. My husband scooped her up and told her that sometimes aunties cry.

And it was okay.

It’s always okay to mourn.

Just don’t camp out there or you’ll miss the moments of beauty. 

Like when my husband and I walked outside that night and it was snowing, big fluffy white flakes. We stood for a moment and watched it swirl in past the bare branches of the maple tree in the front yard and he dryly commented, “Guess there’s something in that inside out pajama thing.” We burst into laughter and then twirled around the driveway in a mini-waltz with snowflakes coating our jackets and hair.  

5. Worship.

As a Christian, I believe that every day should be spent for the glory of God but during the holiday season it’s easy for me to get caught up in all the nostalgia and family celebrations and forget that it’s all about Him.

He is. Creator. Savior. King. And a holiday season that is spent worshiping Him will be a beautiful season indeed.  

When you’re feeling low, sad or hurting, put on some worship music. Stand quiet. Lift your hands in surrender. Praise Him.

It will heal you up, dear ones, when you look at who He is. Always good. Always full of love and grace. For in Him there is rest and peace and safety.


Tell me a favorite holiday tradition that you have or want to start!



Four tips to handling the holidays while trying to conceive

The holidays can bring up many emotions when you are trying to conceive, so let’s talk about why this is and some helpful solutions for getting through.

infertility and the holidays

Here are some of the issues:

1.  The holidays are a naturally sentimental time.

We are around loved ones, kids and family.  This, of course, tends to highlight our ‘lack’ of pregnancy or baby.  I can remember when I was dating my now husband and I went home to visit my folks for Christmas.  The airport was full of kids, and it got me thinking.  I got home and gave him ‘the talk’ about how I wanted to start a family!  Luckily he was on board.

2.  We have more time on our hands.

In our busy lives, we don’t have as much time to reflect.  Time off work means time to reflect, and often feelings come up that we haven’t dealt with yet.

3. We have well-meaning, nosey relatives.

If people know you are trying to get pregnant, or have the opinion that it’s about time you were pregnant, they make ask questions or make comments.  Some questions may be kind, some may be grossly inappropriate.  Or there is the ‘silent threat,’ where you feel something should be said, but no one knows what to say.

What to do about it:

1.  Pick your strategy.

You know what you might be up against at your holiday gatherings.  Is it old Aunt Ethel, sweet but constantly inquiring?  Is it your chatty, pregnant sister-in-law?  Whatever it may be, get ready!  Will you laugh it off?  Even a heavy topic and be turned light sometimes.  Will you politely say, “Thanks for your ideas, but we are feeling good about our fertility plan.”  Will you smile and nod?

You may need a variety of strategies.  Just think about it ahead of time and I promise it will go much better.

2.  Have gratitude.

One of my talented coaches has me list my blessings when I’m in a funk.  We all have many more things to be thankful for than not.  And it really changes your perspective.  So, yes, actually write a list of 10-20 things you are thankful for in your life.  You can even do it in the car on the way to that holiday gathering, or if you’re struggling with hurt feelings once you get home, write them down then.

3.  Enjoy yourself.

Hey, you’ve got time off work, pie, and a fireplace!  Enjoy it. There is still plenty to enjoy, and the happier you are the happier your hormones are too!

4.  Vent as needed.

I’m not claiming this is all a piece of cake (or pumpkin pie.)  So if you need to ask your hubby, your coach, or a friend to have a vent session, do so.  Just relish in some uninterrupted time to unload all your frustrations.  Just be sure to ask for what you need, such as, “Hey can I have a few minutes to just complain about how hard that was?  I think it will really make me feel better.”

How do you handle the “baby waiting game”?  What will you do to enjoy the holidays?


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