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. In my practice I often find couples that couples begin to grow apart the longer they try to get pregnant.
Three reasons relationships suffer during infertility
(a.k.a. – how to get along with your partner while trying to conceive!)
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 willing to try. You may agree to stay the natural course three more months before trying IUI, or maybe allow six months before considering a donor. Sometimes having a timeline can also help you stick to your nutritional goals.
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. Make a point to be intimate in some way each day, even if you’re not having sex! Spending time snuggling on the couch while holding hands, offering a massage to one another, or spending time in skin to skin contact before bed can do wonders to boost both of your moods and allow for connection.
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?