June 24, 2015

Infertility Support: Tips On Keeping Your Marriage Strong

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Find Support for Infertility and Strengthen Your Marriage

Most couples are able to conceive relatively quickly, but there are many who begin an uncertain and painful journey of infertility after an unsuccessful year.  While the causes of infertility are vast, the emotional roller coaster and unique set of challenges are universal.  Infertility is a major cause of divorce and requires effort and thought to keep the marriage strong, so today we bring you the advice of those of us Divas also battling with infertility.

Infertility Support: Tips on Keeping Your Marriage Strong

Close Ranks – The Two of You Against the World

Support for Infertility and Your Marriage

There are so many different causes of infertility, but no matter what the diagnosis, the effects of infertility on marriage pose a threat.  When facing infertility you must remember that you are both on the same team, so consciously – even verbally – decide that you will lean on each other first and foremost.  This means never placing blame on the other for the causes of infertility.

Ever.

Neither one of you chose this path, and it may not seem like it now, but the trial of infertility can strengthen your marriage in ways you would have never dreamed of…if you let it.  So, share what you’re thinking and feeling with each other.  Be sad together.  Be mad at infertility together.  Laugh from the joy in your lives together.  You could have all of the infertility support in the world from others, but none of them would understand your particular journey like your spouse.

Keep the Romance Alive

Infertility Emotional Support: Keeping the Romance Alive

Infertility has a tendency to take over your life, but don’t let it take over your relationship!  Keeping up the fun of your continual courtship is more important now than ever!  Make sure you are going on consistent dates, because these will help you to remember why you are with your wonderful spouse and help you find joy.  Try something new or turn to your trusty Divas when you’re pressed for time and ideas, and make sure you talk about things other than infertility, treatments, and potential children.

Furthermore, reclaim the intimacy in your marriage!  When battling infertility, there are times when you are supposed to have sex right now and even times when you’re not supposed to have sex at all, but it’s super important to not let that completely drive your alone time together because then it becomes a job.  So, feel free to be intimate for fun, and don’t you dare feel guilty about it!  {You know we’ve got you covered when it comes to fun ways to explore intimacy together!}

This is an especially important mindset for couples who have no chance of conceiving without procedures like IUIs and IVF!  Don’t let yourselves dwell on the negative; rather, focus on how liberating it is that your sex life is pressure free and solely for expressing your love for each other {Wink}!

Decide On Your Infertility Support Group

Support for Infertility

Another tricky infertility problem is who to tell, when, what, and how.  Of course every person and every couple will have different preferences: some are happier to keep things private while others find it therapeutic to share their story.  The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to bear infertility in solitary silence.

One option might be to only tell immediate family and maybe one or two close friends or individuals who have been in the infertility game, too.  Or, you could consider creating a private Facebook page or blog to keep a slightly larger infertility support group in the know.  The beauty of this method is that you get to set the terms about what and when you are ready to pass along information – all while receiving encouragement from loved ones.  Some create anonymous Instagram accounts to get and receive support from the infertility community.  Others even make their story public through mediums like vlogging, blogging, and social media, and whether or not you’d do that, you can always take comfort from hearing the stories and encouragement of the very active, online infertility community.

Exasperating and Hurtful Comments

Why Can't I Get Pregnant?  Infertility Marriage Problems

We know it all too well.  If you have to hear “Just relax and it will happen,” “Don’t worry – you’re young,” “If you just have more faith you’ll get pregnant,” or “Why don’t you just adopt?” one more time, you might hurl an item or two across the room and let them have that ten minute rant you’ve been wittily crafting in your head!!

It’s true that you might hear incredibly insensitive and hurtful comments from judgmental people, and those you just have to try to completely forget about because they are crazy!  Ok?  Ok.  However, many comments come from well-meaning individuals who just haven’t quite thought through their comment.  It is natural to be annoyed and hurt, and that is the perfect moment to find solace in your spouse as well as one of the biggest gifts of infertility: compassion.

Just as we want to have compassion and understanding for our infertility, we need to understand that others may not have the same experiences we do.  Instead of allowing these comments to bring you down, use each comment as a reminder of how your eyes have been opened through infertility.  Use each one to strengthen your resolve to have more compassion for those you meet in life who are experiencing trials different than yours.

Experience Your Emotions & Take Care of You

Infertility Emotional Support

There is no need to tell you that infertility is incredibly difficult.  It holds very low moments and can deal blows you may not have even known existed, so experience your emotions as they come, feeling no pressure to keep-it-together or be happy all the time.  Whether your infertility is relatively easy to treat, you discover you will never have your own biological children, or are somewhere in between, you have the right to grieve the path you always assumed led to parenthood.  Some days you fall apart, and that is just fine.

That being said, it is important to pick yourself back up and strive towards positivity as best you can, even though the steps might be small.  It isn’t healthy to constantly choose to live in the darkness of pessimism.  Sometimes all it takes is turning to your spouse and verbalizing the positives of your current journey to begin to pull yourself out of wallowing.  Do things that make you happy and remind you that your life is invaluable exactly as you are now.

Also, know your limits!  If going to baby showers is too much to handle right now or you know that there is no way you will make it through Mother’s Day at your church or community event, then respect that and realize that you need to take care of yourself.  With all of the stress that infertility brings, don’t add unnecessary anxiety.  You can still be happy for others AND take care of you; they aren’t mutually exclusive.

Remember: sometimes the greatest support for infertility comes from you and your own dedication to self-care!

Become Educated

Causes of Infertility and Marriage Problems

When you first enter the world of infertility, and especially if you decide to do any sort of treatments, it can feel like trying to learn another language!  There are so many acronyms, tests, and slang words that doctors and others with infertility throw around, so take some time to educate yourself on all of the science and technology available to couples with infertility.  You’ll want to have a clear idea of what is available so when a doctor proposes a treatment option, you can make an informed decision.  Make sure you also understand the cost of these procedures, if you have any coverage under your insurance, and what is affordable for the two of you at this time.

Additionally, before you even schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist, do your research to find a doctor you trust and a clinic which has competitive success rates – particularly in IVF (You can check out ratings through through websites like SART).  Even if IVF is never in your future, if a clinic has high success with that treatment, chances are they are successful with their other, less invasive procedures.  Plus, it never hurts to be prepared for all possibilities!

The same can also be said for looking into foster care and adoption programs when the time is right.  It is smart to be well-informed about all potential paths to parenthood.

Have a Plan for Every Contingency

Infertility Depression Support

      Infertility can make you feel powerless, but take control over your experience by creating plans, kind of like those “If/Then” flowcharts.  First, create a plan for every contingency in terms of your medical support for infertility.  For example, “If this IUI isn’t successful we will jump right into another round” or “If this IVF cycle doesn’t work, we need to take a break for eight months until we can save up for another cycle.”

Also, create two sets of plans for each time you try to conceive and are waiting for results: one full of fun activities if you find out you are pregnant and another equally (or even more!) enjoyable event if the pregnancy test is negative.  That way, even if the outcome isn’t what you’d hoped, you’ll still have something amazing to look forward to with your spouse.

Whatever your pathway to support for infertility, we wish for you a stronger marriage, true happiness, and… let’s be honest…

a TON of BABY DUST!

Searching for even more ways to strengthen your marriage?  Check out our 21 Day Habit Challenge Kit for Relationships, Date Night Ideas Flow ChartMarriage Masters Program, and as always our Dating Divas homepage to keep up-to-date with the latest and greatest in marriage!

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