We are back with fertility coach Sarah Banks who has more great relationship advice for anyone going through any form of assisted reproductive treatment. Here is her second instalment of how to protect yourselves and work together…
By Sarah Banks
Create a list of things used to do/enjoy together and do them
Trying to conceive and going through fertility treatment can often limit the things you do – whether that is going out for a few drinks to limit alcohol intake, avoiding strenuous exercise or generally not feeling in the mood to go and do things.
- Think about the trips and activities you used to enjoy doing together and make like a bucket list of places to see, things to do, activities to try and then work your way through the list.
- Plan in the dates you are going to do them, and work them around your treatment/expected period date to give you something to look forward to. The list may need moderating slightly to accommodate treatment etc, but keep it things you will look forward to.
Accept that you may cope differently
Don’t assume you know how your partner is feeling – you may have different ways of coping with the infertility and the process, so you need to discuss this so you don’t feel like your partner isn’t as bothered by it as you are – they may just be coping differently.
Allow each other time and space to deal with your emotions around it in your own way. Respect that you may both be dealing with it in different ways and be there to support in whichever way is needed.
Talking to each other is one of the most important things you can do – tell each other how you are feeling about the process, be honest, that way you can work together to get through it and support each other in the way you need it. Allow each other to have your turn to talk without interruption to make sure the conversation stays calm and you both feel listened to.
Have some support other than each other
Only having each other to talk to can put a lot of strain on the relationship, and may lead to one or both of you holding back on how you feel so as not to upset your partner. It’s really important to talk through exactly how you are feeling so you can process it, so think about who you feel comfortable talking to, it could be a close family member or friend, a professional or support group. Also encourage your partner to do the same.
If either of you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone else you could try writing it in a journal that you keep private – that way you can at least that way you are getting your thoughts and fears out of your head.
If your partner is feeling depressed, overwhelmed or anxious about the situation a mental health professional can help – encourage them to seek help from an infertility counsellor or coach, who are trained to support individuals and couples dealing with infertility and fertility treatment.
Don’t just have baby making sex
When you are trying to conceive sex can become very routine and on demand, its takes all the fun out of it when you are trying to do it at the right time and it can create pressure to perform. It is recommended that you have sex regularly throughout the month rather than just concentrating on when you are ovulating, and this also ensures that there isn’t a pressure on a few attempts, and makes you both feel that you are doing it because you want to and not because you should be.
If you find that the fertility issues are affecting your relationship, it may be worthwhile considering taking a short break from treatment to rekindle the romance and remember what it is that you love about each other.
Remember, you were a couple in love before you were a couple struggling to conceive. Whatever happens with treatment/TTC you still have each other, make sure you work together to keep your partnership strong, so that you are in a better place to support each other on this journey.
Set designated ‘No baby/IVF’ talk times
Set time limits for how long you talk about the treatment and infertility so your conversations don’t just revolve around trying for a baby. This can add to the stress and pressure in the relationship. Also set times when you don’t discuss it – for example if you’re out for a meal, so it gives you time to focus on the other good things in your life and each other.
Plan in quality time together
Make time to do things together as a couple where you can focus on your relationship. Book a date night or a weekend away where you don’t talk about the issues and just relax or have fun together. If money is tight it doesn’t have to be anything expensive – find places that are free and have some day trips together.
Sarah Banks is a Fertility Coach and Mentor who works with fertility professionals to enhance their patient experience and success rates. She helps them understand how patients feel, the emotional support they need and helps implement support structures.
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