Surviving Infertility as a Couple
I have to first start off by saying, I am no professional. These are ways that Alec and I have made it through, plus a few ways others struggling with infertility have been kind enough to share.
When we were told we would not be able to get pregnant without the assistance of IVF I was heartbroken. I read everything there was to read on the matter and I kept reading about how this journey destroys marriages. Many people would say "we decided to do IVF and once we had the baby we got divorced" .. like what?! That's awful, and the last thing my anxious mind needed.
Alec and I have been together a LONG time, we are about to celebrate our 8th Christmas together. I really feel like this has been a huge help to us, along with a few other things. We have had our rough patches, but for the most part, our infertility journey has brought us closer together. We have been able to laugh it off, cry together, come up with Plan A, Plan B and then Plan C. Everyone is different so what may work for us, may not work for you. That's why I made sure to include a few tips from other couples.
Be Open: "Open, honest, nonjudgmental communication! No blame game. We've come SO far together in this journey because we took a team approach and supported each other each step of the way. It's been hard, there has been plenty of frustration. We took turns being the strong one for the other to lean on! We tried to focus on the goal, the next step, not dwell on the failed treatments or the money but focus on the what parts of the journey we could control." - A.C.
Create a Safe Space: "We built the nursery together. Long before we were even pregnant. It became our beacon of hope. Then we got pregnant and lost the baby. Now it's where we go to feel safe, to grieve, and the dream of a future when we can bring home a baby to fill that room." - A.A.M.
It's Okay to Cry: This one is mostly for me, Alec isn’t quite as emotional as I am (I don't think anyone on this planet is). It took a long time for Alec to realize this, luckily it was way before our struggle with infertility. He now knows to just let me cry it out, just to hold me and help me breathe through the pain. It's okay to cry, and honestly, I think its good for you.
Counseling: After our first failed IVF cycle, as you all know, I was so beaten down. I found a counselor through Utah Infertility Resource Center, who specializes in infertility, so that I could have someone to talk to. This is not because I couldn't talk to Alec, but it's because I needed someone who made it out of this journey alive, and someone who could give me the tools to do the same. Whether you go alone, or as a couple, this can be very beneficial to you.
Keep Other Dreams Alive: Dust off old dreams, hobbies and interests that have been set aside while trying to get pregnant. Set new goals, come up with new interests and make plans to go do them. Traveling has been an escape for us the last couple of years, and we've done our best not to slow down during our treatments. The goal is to stay busy and not just focus on trying to get pregnant.
YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS:
Challenges can be overcome. Be gentle with yourself, and your spouse. Continue to work to accept where you are both at, and what you have been through before making plans for the next step. Whether you are trying naturally again, IVF, adoption or even choosing to be child-free, choosing to stand by one another may greatly help any challenge to be overcome. In the end your marriage may be even be stronger than before. The relationship you have with your partner is the foundation for your family, no matter how large or small that family is. You will get through this. Where you are at today is not where you will be forever. Take it one day at a time.