Many couples find that fertility treatments drive them apart; still others find it brings them to a place of understanding and love they had not known prior to their fertility challenges. Take time to talk with your doctor or fertility specialist and use these tips and advice from Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., founder and director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Make an appointment with one another.
Set aside time each day when the two of you can discuss the latest results of your treatments, how you’re feeling, and what’s next. Just remember one important thing: Set a time limit to talk about the issue, and then move on. That way both of you get heard and have a chance to really listen as the other speaks, but it isn’t the total focus of all your together time.
Respect the way your partner is coping.
The way you are coping is the right way for you, and the way your partner is coping is the right way for him or her.
Tell your partner the type of response you want.
Women tend to want to talk about the impact of infertility, but men are eager to take action and problem solve. As the man, you should let her talk, support her, but don’t focus your responses entirely on how you two can tackle the next step. She needs an open ear. And as the woman, if you tell him that you are upset, he will try to make it better—that way, he feels he is doing something productive with his stress and concern. In both cases, you need to think about what you need from your partner, and then specifically communicate that need. No matter how much you love each other, you can’t read each other’s mind.
If one partner makes all the doctor’s appointments and calls for all the lab results, the other partner should handle the bills or insurance claims. Doing this makes sure no one person feels they are shouldering the responsibility, and engenders a feeling of working together.
Decide how much you will share.
It’s important you two agree on how much you will tell family and friends. A good rule of thumb is to follow what the most private person desires, but if one partner needs to vent with a best friend, sibling, or parent, it’s important to respect that connection when making the decision. It’s vital you two stick to that agreement, and if you would like an exception, it’s important to ask permission so that you maintain the level of trust with your partner.
Get support from the outside.
When you admit to one another that you can’t be everything to each other, you will avoid hurt. You should feel free to seek out support from a support group, a person of faith, a medical professional, or perhaps another mother or father who went through the same difficulties in their quest to become a parent.