Calling all partners!
The unrequited longing for a child brings many challenges to couples. It causes strain on the relationship — emotional, physical, hormonal and financial. At our clinic, we find that women and men perceive the fertility struggle very differently. Although one can never generalize completely, there can be very obvious differences that are worth addressing. Here are a few tips to help partners along the way.
- Listen to her. Most women want to know that their partners understand what they’re going through. Oftentimes, partners want to “fix” the problem and stop the suffering that it’s causing their wives. Unfortunately, the infertility process generally takes some time and does not have a quick-fix solution. In order for a woman to move through an emotion, she needs to have the freedom to express herself. Although it may be tempting to want to problem-solve, it’s equally as important to allow a woman to feel and react to the upset that the condition causes.
- Don’t resent her for being totally focused on fertility. Has your wife appeared to have forgotten hobbies, friends, even you? Between doing research, doctor’s visits, acupuncture visits and tracking her menstrual cycle meticulously, she is pretty tapped out. Many women are hardwired to want children. Society and age adds extra pressure. In addition, there are hormones and neurochemicals specific to women that trigger their “biological clock.” So please, don’t take it personally.
- Don’t tell her she’s “too stressed out.” Although stress can be a contributing factor of fertility, it is generally not the sole reason. While reducing stress can certainly help, it does not promise a pregnancy. Telling someone that she is too stressed out (as a reason for not getting pregnant) is like adding a load of guilt to her already heavy plate. Yes, there might be a kernel of truth to it, but it just doesn’t help. Now, if you have any ideas on how to reduce stress in her life, those would be welcome. It’s great to support her in de-stressing techniques like acupuncture, exercise and meditation. Just be sure to offer those ideas in a loving way, without any ulterior motives.