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For a couple eager to start a family, struggling with infertility can be a cruel and unexpected blow. Dealing with your own grief is hard enough, but finding the strength to support your partner can be even harder.
The good news is that it’s okay to lean on your other half. When you’re not strong enough to manage on your own, letting them know that you’re there for them too, can bring you closer together.
Here we run through some of the best coping strategies and infertility advice that can help you come out the other side together, and stronger than ever!
If you don’t know what your partner needs – ask them!
People deal with emotional upsets in a multitude of ways. Some people need space and solitude to process their feelings, while others prefer to talk through them. Because infertility issues are so deeply personal, your partner might not react the way you expect them to.
I remember anything dealing with babies made me cry. Songs or friends getting pregnant — everything was just so upsetting.
If you’re having trouble getting them to open up about what they need from you, open the lines of communication by explaining what you need. Once they know how they can help you, they’re more likely to open up about what they need in return.
Often just being willing to listen without judgment and be a sounding board is enough. However, seeking professional infertility help is nothing to be ashamed of.
Have fun together
Infertility can quickly become all-consuming, so it’s more important to remind yourselves of why you love each other. Go out of your way to take part in the activities that bring you joy and lighten the atmosphere.
Whether it’s watching a comedy show or playing a board game, set aside time just for the two of you. Just enjoy each other with no pressure and NO talk about babies!
Not only will it help recharge your emotional batteries, reducing stress can make a big difference in your efforts to conceive.
Explore all infertility treatments
We live in a magical age, and there have never been more options open to couples looking to grow their families. Fertility services, from IVF and artificial insemination to egg and sperm donation, have seen rapid advancement in the past decade, and are increasingly successful.
Finding a good fertility treatment clinic that offers counseling as well as medical treatment is one of the best ways to keep your relationship strong. Remember that even if medical intervention fails, there are always other options such as fostering and adoption that will allow you to become parents.
Dealing with a withdrawn or uncommunicative partner
It may not be rational, but your partner may well feel as if they have failed you. Disappointment, guilt, and self-blame are just some of the reasons they may be pulling away from you.
Try to be patient while they come to terms with their emotions, offering support but not demanding they reciprocate until they’re ready. Meanwhile, seek help from online forums, from friends and family, or a neutral third party.
Realizing that your feelings are perfectly normal and natural is half the journey. You’ll also pick up lots of advice that may come in handy for your partner down the road. Never try and force them to connect with you. Just make it clear the door is open and you’re there if they need you.
Create an infertility action plan you can tackle together
One of the most debilitating aspects of struggling with infertility is the sheer uncertainty you find yourselves faced with. Having a rational discussion about your options might be tough, but it’s the best way to make sure you’re on the same page.
Once you understand your partner’s position, you can forge a way forward together. What medical interventions are you willing to try and for how long? Are there non-negotiable financial limitations for either party?
Focus on what you can control
You can’t control the genes you were born with or the hand that fate has dealt you. While it’s certainly easier said than done, focusing your energies on the aspects you do have control over – such as eating well and taking care of your health – is much more productive and empowering.
Try to replace destructive thinking patterns with positive ones. Things like practicing gratitude and mindfulness, engaging in a creative pursuit, or doing something nice for your partner.
Whatever the eventual outcome, appreciating each other can only make you stronger.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.