Telling people of struggles with infertility is one of the most terrifying and empowering experiences any woman would have to endure in life. These women constantly feel the collective weight lift from their shoulders as people convey to them of their own troubles (Like a close friend or family member’s) to have a child.
Come to think about it, these women, their nursery sits empty and they struggle every day to rebuild their life together. They try to redefine who they are in the face of failed dreams, trying to heal and trying to recover the love and hopefulness that once defined their marriage.
Everyone copes with stress in different ways. Studies have also found gender differences in the way people cope with infertility. These differences can lead to misunderstandings. For example, one partner may accuse the other of “not caring enough” if their coping style is more subdued. On the flip side, one partner may accuse the other of “overreacting.”
Studies have also found that women are more likely to experience marital stress than men, regardless of the cause of infertility. This doesn’t mean the men don’t care. Only that their relationship stress levels from infertility are lower.
Talking about infertility can become a problem if one partner’s primary coping mechanism is to avoid the topic altogether. It can also become a source of tension if one partner talks about infertility “all the time.”
The key is finding balance. While some research has found that men and women faced with infertility may be more likely to feel dissatisfied with themselves and their marriages, other studies have found that it can bring couples closer together.
This isn’t because these couples breeze through infertility and don’t struggle. On the contrary, according to the research, it’s the struggle and their need for mutual support that leads to a more secure bond.
Regardless of whether the infertility affects the lady or the man more, both partners should try and strike a balance. Here are a few tips that would help easen things out;
Make a Plan Together
Research has found that putting together a practical plan of action helps improve marital satisfaction, especially for men. In some ways, infertility is not plan-friendly.
Whether it’s an argument over who to tell or how to pay for a treatment cycle, avoid black-and-white thinking and aim for compromise.
Talk to each other. Share fears. Be willing to talk, or be willing to talk about it less, depending on which side of the coin you fall.
Find Ways to Connect Unrelated to Infertility
Speaking of balance, it is important that infertility doesn’t take over all your communication. Make an effort to connect in other ways. Yes, this will likely require actual effort.
Think back to what you did during your dating days. Or, pursue a new hobby or activity together. Sit down and make a list of things to do together. Not everyone wears their emotions on their sleeves. At the same time, what looks like an overreaction to you may be perfectly normal for them.
Reach Out for Social Support
Please don’t try to cope with infertility alone. You don’t have to “tell the world,” so to speak. You can decide to share the information with only specific friends or family members. Just don’t try to do it all on your own.
Sometimes, you’re not going to be able to reach compromises alone. A counselor can help you communicate and reach mutual agreements.
You may assume that counseling is only for those considering divorce, or situations of clinical depression or anxiety. This is a myth. Counseling is for everyone who can use some extra help with stress or a difficult situation.
Whether you see a therapist as an individual, or as a couple, it can help. When you feel supported, you’ll be better able to tend to your relationship.
Remember That Infertility Is Not Forever
You may or may not have children one day. But you won’t be struggling to conceive forever.