Stress, love and fertility
The frequent clinic visits, the “on-call” inseminations and all of the hormone treatments are often a recipe for relationship disaster. How do you keep your relationship going and deal with trying to have a baby?
Well, first off, you are not alone. This is a common struggle for couples going through fertility evaluations and treatments. While the “trying phase,” which often precedes the first visit to the fertility clinic, is filled with exciting date nights, a lot of wine, and mind-blowing fun in the bedroom, once fertility becomes a “job,” it can become quite taxing on a couple’s relationship.
Many women and men have feelings of guilt, anxiety and self-criticism, thinking “It’s all my fault,” especially if testing shows abnormalities in either partner’s egg reserve or sperm quality or other results.
Know that help is always available. Your family doctor is a good first person to talk to because they likely know your history well. Often, fertility clinics have seminars and support groups to help patients who are going through infertility treatment, and speaking to others going through the same issues can really help ease one’s concerns. If a group setting makes you feel nauseated, or if you are simply shy to discuss your story in front of others, most clinics have social workers who specialize in fertility issues and can book one-on-one appointments with you (and your partner) to help you navigate through the fertility process and its ups and downs.
Jan Silverman, a well-known fertility counsellor in Toronto offers these words of advice.
What are some small but easy changes you can make in your life to help your relationship through this process?
1. Have sex daily!
Now, before you think I am completely crazy, I am suggesting that you expand your definition of sex and starting thinking of it as having a sexual “encounter” daily. Make it a goodbye kiss in the morning that counts. Join your partner in the shower. Caress him or her in that special place that only you know about.
2. Date nights, date mornings!
Although you would dearly love to be home, taking care of your baby, you currently are not. Take advantage of the free time that you do have together. Carve out a special time weekly, outside of your home. Go on a quest to find the best place in your city or town for brunch. Source out amazing free activities in your community (movie nights, street festivals). Take turns planning these special times. Remember that you got together in the first place because you enjoy being together!
3. Do something active together!
Often when we are going through fertility treatment, we forget to take good care of our physical selves. Be the best you that you can possibly be. Grab your bicycles and explore a new trail. Take a hike and discover the natural beauty in a world that can often feel so bleak. Remember to pack a lunch and a blanket.
Remember, starting a family should be fun and exciting! Try not to let infertility change what should be an amazing journey!