Let’s Talk About Infertility
There comes a time in most relationships where it is time for a few specific chats:
Where is this going?
Shall we move in together?
Will you marry me?
Are you ready for children?
Is there something wrong with us?
It might be a little idealistic to think that every couple will have the conversations in that order, but what happens when you’ve ticked everything else off the list and come unstuck at ‘children’? In recent years more and more couples are openly documenting their journey to become a family. They’re talking about adoption, fostering, egg donation, artificial insemination at home, miscarriage and surrogacy agencies – and that is a beautiful thing. It means that wherever you are in your family journey, you aren’t alone.
But what about once you’re already on the journey and the time between tests, injections, meetings and waiting become a bit too much? The strain infertility can put on a couple is high, so here are a few tips on how to make it easier on yourselves.
While you might think you are all talked out, the chances are if you sit down with your partner there is more that you want to say. Set aside a few minutes each day with a warm drink to see what comes to the surface. Communication is key to being on the same page and helping to alleviate stress.
No matter which route you have taken, you should pay attention to what you’re eating. If you’re in the middle of the ‘two-week wait’, then try and stick to a healthy mix of vegetables, fruits, carbs and protein. Fuel your body.
Treat Each Other
If you are going through IVF, or perhaps waiting for news about a surrogate, then small treats for each other might be right up your street. Financially it can be a tight time, so things like cooking a special meal, taking a long stroll or watching a movie together are all great options.
Create a Network
While it might be tempting to tell everyone you know about your cycle, or where you are in the process maybe think again. It is essential to create a support network, but it very easy to lose control of the ‘inner circle’ if you tell too many people. The other issue is, well-meaning questions at the wrong time can be tormenting. Between you and your partner come up with a small list of people that you think will be a great source of outside perspective and support when you need it.
It is also prudent to talk about who will take care of questions as the process goes along. While 1 in ten people in America has fertility issues, the methods are relatively unknown to people who have never had to research them. Some might have more medical types of questions, others might have more emotional questions – be prepared.
Whatever process you go through, your home will be somewhat of a sanctuary for you. When the news of a cycle is not positive, think about how you might like to handle it. Having a relaxing bubble bath, a pile of comedy movies (or sad ones if you want), take out menus. Think about what your self-care process will be when you need it. Talk to your partner about it, and put something in place for you both.
While it is much easier to say than do, positive mental attitude is going to be very important. There might be occasions where your news hasn’t been very positive, but someone close to you has just had a positive pregnancy test. You are likely to experience very negative emotions and be torn between being supportive and upset – all of which is very natural. It is essential to take a step back from the situation and catch your breath. It is important to note that, in general, most people going through IVF, adoption, or surrogacy start out very positive, and slowly they become less and less positive about the outcome. This is totally natural. Having someone, or multiple people to talk to is going to be an invaluable resource. This is where prepping your support network and partner will pay dividends.
To yourself and your partner. You are both going through something that can be emotionally, mentally and physically demanding. There might be days where lighthearted remarks are taken the wrong way, or where one of you lose sight of the end goal. Take a few deep breaths, make some tea and relax with each other.
Photo by Mandy von Stahl