Infertility can easily take a toll on your marriage with the onslaught of emotional, physical and financial strains. Add on the immense stress of miscarriage or a failed cycle, and tensions can run high. Here are a few tips to help when times seem tough.
- Validate your partner’s emotions
Remember that your partner is going through this too and may not have exactly the same thoughts and emotions that you have. Take the time to focus on them and what they are feeling. This is a conversation to have without judgment and without confrontation. Say to them, “I appreciate you always listening to me when I’m hurt and broken by what we’re going through, but I know this is hard for you too. If you want to talk about it, I’m here for you.” And then truly listen, validate their emotions and offer the support they need.
2. Have honest conversations
This one is hard but having honest conversations about difficult topics is so important. It offers you the chance to find out where they might be having a hard time or where you have commonalities or differences. Questions you might ask include:
“How do you feel about the failed pregnancy test?” “How do you feel about our sex life?” “How do you feel about your diagnosis (or mine)?” “How do you feel about giving me my shots?” “How are you coping with the miscarriage?” “How do you feel when someone asks you if we are trying for a baby?”
3. Set a time limit.
While it’s important to communicate, it’s also important to know your partners limits on wanting space from everything. The best thing I can tell you is to set a time limit to have conversations around fertility, even if it is just 15-20 minutes. We set a time, talked uninterrupted and technology free, and once the timer was up, we just focused on being a couple and a family again. It wasn’t diminishing the situation; it was effective communication.
4. Talk to a trained professional.
You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek a therapist. Going to therapy doesn’t show weakness, it shows strength, because it shows that you are both committed and willing to work hard on your relationship.
5. Focus on why you love each other.
Remember that you are trying to have a baby because you both care deeply for each other and love one another. Take time away from sex and do things you both enjoy. Write each other love notes, re-create a first date, cook together, try a new activity.
6. Hug it out.
Sometimes we forget the power of a good hug. Just hugging it out, breathing together and being silent and close can be one of the most restorative medicines in the world.