Caring For Your Relationship
When a couple desires to become parents and that desire is thwarted by infertility, the emotional states of both people are put into distress. When a woman is infertile, she experiences higher levels of emotional distress than the man does. When the man is infertile, the levels of distress he feels parallels those of his partner. The combined tension cannot help but affect the relationship and studies indicate that couples dealing with infertility are more likely to feel unhappy with themselves and with their marriage.
Sex And Money-A Relationship's Hot Buttons
Sexual tension increases, especially around the time of ovulation, when sex can feel more like a chore than a pleasure. The man may feel that he is like nothing more than a sperm manufacturing plant and his own anxiety may trigger feelings of guilt or shame. Add financial pressure into the mix and you have a recipe for an explosion. Fertility problems mix the two biggest hot issues in marriage-sex and finances. Fertility treatments are expensive and costs can add up quickly. When multiple attempts at conception fail, the whole issue brings a great deal of stress between the couple.
Decisions About Treatments Compound Matters
Not only does the pressure come from the direction of sexual tension and financial stress, it is often compounded by the need to decide upon types of treatments or options to try. The question may come up regarding when to stop treatment, especially if multiple treatments have been unsuccessful. The strain of making these kinds of decisions can make life difficult. The infertile partner may find he or she feels fearful of abandonment. The dread that a partner may want to leave them to have children with someone else is not only devastating, it is very real as well.
Trying To Find Quiet In The Storm
How can a couple cope with the emotional stress of infertility? Perhaps the first place to start for each person is to acknowledge his or her feelings. Allow time to feel the anger, sadness, and frustration. Toxic emotions can do more damage when they are held in than when they are expressed. The infertility walk can be a lonely one. Seek out people who can relate and understand the stress of infertility. Find somewhere to talk about things-whether it is with friends, groups, or professional counseling-where there is a sense of support and help. Learn how to relax and calm both body and mind. Many relaxation techniques are easy to learn and use. Things are much easier to deal with when a person is relaxed.
You're In This Together
Spend time talking together about the way you are feeling. Just remember that men and women deal with emotions differently and that the things that are felt and expressed by each person are valid. Learn as much as possible together about this journey. The more you both know about infertility, the better able you will be to cope with the emotional difficulties. Although this is easier said than done-don't let infertility take over your lives. Purpose to do things for the good of the relationship that are outside the parameters of infertility. If necessary, delegate a specific period during the day to talk about infertility and when that period is up, don't talk about it again for the rest of the day.
Many couples receive help from counseling to cope with the emotional stress of infertility. Some fertility clinics have trained personnel on staff to help couples during this incredible journey.