Is infertility affecting your relationship?
Facing the reality of your family life without your own children can be devastating, not just for you personally but also for your relationship. What sort of issues might you face, and how can you strengthen your relationship to help you get through such a tough time in your life?
Why is infertility a problem?
One in seven couples go through difficulties in conceiving. It’s very common to feel like you’re the only couple in the world going through these problems, especially as it can be very difficult to talk about, but infertility is actually a common issue.
It can be extremely isolating – family events, like weddings and christenings, can constantly remind you of your situation. Friends and family members falling pregnant or having children can also make you jealous and unwilling to visit and spend time with them. You may also feel you have disappointed your family, especially if parents or parents-in-law were looking forward to becoming grandparents.
The pressure on your relationship
All of these issues put pressure on even the strongest relationship. This can become apparent through tension and arguments between you both. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the problems conceiving, one, or both, of you, could feel guilty, frustrated and powerless.
You will go through a lot of stress and it is tempting to turn on each other.
You might even find yourselves withdrawing from one another emotionally and avoiding intimacy as a result of the pain. There is also the risk of developing more serious mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, that will compound issues between you both further.
What can you do?
Be open. Talk about how you are feeling. If you’re finding it hard to talk without arguing, it can be useful to take it in turns to talk and listen. It can be tempting to just say what you think the other one wants to hear to avoid conflict, but trying to be honest with one another will mean you’re more able to make decisions that feel right for both of you
Get help. Counselling can help you both explore your feelings and choices in a safe and confidential environment. Your counsellor will work with you to help you understand each other’s perspectives better and support you in expressing any complicated or difficult emotions
Get support. Don’t isolate yourself – your family, friends and employers will be happy to help you, so don’t be afraid to talk to them. Building support structures helps you now and in the future.
Strengthen your relationship. Take time out to strengthen your relationship. Reminisce about how you met and good times you’ve had together, and think about the kind of future you’d like to enjoy – even if children aren’t in the picture. Even if the future now appears different for you as a couple than what you imagined, appreciating each other and valuing intimacy is just as important.