In an ideal world, first comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes baby in a baby carriage. In today’s society, many couples are choosing to eschew marriage, yet for most people the baby carriage is still a priceless part of their hopeful vision for the future.
Imagine the dismay and pain they must feel when pregnancy becomes a complicated and heartbreaking endeavor and when the one person they thought they could always turn to — their partner — becomes the main source of their pain and discomfort.
Such is the case for the more than seven million couples across the country who suffer from infertility. Infertility is devastating not only because it delays a couple’s dreams of parenthood, but also because it can cause even the happiest couple to turn into a tense, bickering pair. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Infertility is never an easy road, but the good news is that there are many steps you and your partner can take to stay strong and bonded during this complicated time:
Find out what is wrong. Ignorance is never bliss when it comes to infertility issues, yet many couples postpone necessary doctor’s visits because they fear they will walk into the office and hear the worst. Rest assured, many infertility issues are treatable, but the longer you delay medical assistance, the greater the problem might become. Even if you do find out that you and your partner will not be able to conceive the old-fashioned way, you will learn that there are a number of treatments that can still help you create a family. Certainly, ruling out infertility causes won’t be easy, but that is why you should go into these visits together as a couple and support each other.
Don’t play the blame game. Whether you know what is causing your pregnancy problems or not (up to 20% of couples suffer from unexplained infertility), resist the urge to lash out at each other or place blame. When it comes to infertility, no one is to blame. Think about it: If your partner had bad eyesight or was diagnosed with cancer, would you blame him for these physical ailments that are out of his control? Of course not! The same is true for infertility. Bottom line: It’s no one’s fault. So, for your own sakes, stop focusing on the problem and start focusing on the solution.
Remember, sex is supposed to be fun! That’s easier said than done when you have your eye on that ever-closing ovulation window or when you are desperately crossing your fingers that the sperm will reach the egg, but you have to take yourself out of that technical mindset. Not only are you killing the mood, but you are also increasing your stress and anxiety (all of which can harm fertility). Instead, have fun and be romantic like you did before baby anxiety set in. Light some candles, watch an erotic movie, or focus on feel-good strokes and touches that won’t necessarily lead to pregnancy.
Rediscover you. Before you started trying to conceive, you had a full schedule of friends, activities, sports, and downtime. Now that a baby is on your mind, you’re likely in and out of the doctor’s office and too stressed to accept social invites. But by missing out on fun, you are not doing yourself or your future baby any favors. Reconnect with the you that you used to be and make an effort to spend time with friends and family. Even if you don’t feel like smiling and having fun, you might be surprised to find that you begin to do so in spite of yourself.
When trying to conceive is foremost in your minds, challenge yourselves to just go to a movie, grab a bite, or enjoy a walk to clear your heads and get your feel-good hormones activated again.