The Impact of IVF & Infertility on your MarriageFeb 01, 2022
I recently read a study that said most marriages are actually strengthened throughout the trials of infertility. Woot woot.
This made me breathe a sigh of relief. But, it also made me recognize that for something to be strengthened, it usually has to be broken down first (ie: muscles in your body)
So if you’re in the throes of infertility and your relationship doesn’t feel strong right now, don’t be hard on yourself. What you’re experiencing is common and is a sign that you’re right in the middle of the messy part of the journey. But remember, if there’s a middle, there is an end too!
Romantic relationships come up a lot with my 1:1 coaching clients. Which makes sense considering that your family starts with you and your partner, and most couples want to have a strong foundational relationship before adding a baby into the mix. The trials and challenges of IVF can seriously put this to the test.
If you’re feeling like your relationship is on rocky ground, think about what that feeling means to you. Maybe you’re feeling like y’all are doomed? Maybe you’re thinking that bringing a child into this family isn’t right? Maybe it feels like it will always be this way? Or that your partner doesn't love you?
As a mindset exercise, what if you changed what it means? What if instead of this hard time feeling like the end, it just means you’re in a hard season right now? And it’s nothing more than that.
On the other side of this hard time is a partner that:
- Catches all the tears
- Is strong when you’re weak
- Speaks up when you don’t have the words
- Simply holds you tight when words can’t make it better.
That relationship is worth finding the support for while going through this messy part of your journey.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I want to offer you some advice and support on a few common scenarios:
- Situation #1: Your partner does “that thing” that makes you upset.
- Situation #2: Your partner says the wrong thing
- Situation #3: Your partner’s life is not impacted like yours
Situation #1: Your partner does “that thing” that makes you upset.
This might be not closing the cabinet doors, putting dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher, staying late at work or out to dinner, the list can go on.
When you find yourself here, remind yourself that you’re on the same team. Your brain can go to a negative place, like that your partner was being thoughtless or prefers to spend time with friends than you. Try shifting these negative thoughts. What if instead of sloppy thoughtlessness, they were just rushing to not be late for work? Or instead of thinking they prefer to spend time with their friends, maybe they were supporting a friend who opened up about challenges at work or something going on in their life?
When you’re on the same team, it’s easier to understand where they’re coming from and realize that the actions you hate aren’t done intentionally and more importantly, they’re not about you.
Situation #2: Your partner says the wrong thing.
When this happens, we often think “this person doesn’t know how to support me.” And that thought can make you feel alone, like you’re the only one who cares about doing everything you can to have a baby.
It’s common to then shut down, not share as much, avoid your partner, and end up spending more time in silence avoiding one another. Again, remind yourself that you’re on the same team.
Your partner is not a mind reader (nobody is), and IVF and infertility struggles impact everyone differently. By expecting your partner to always say the right thing, you’re setting them up for failure. But this simple thought can set you both up for success. Rather than expecting your partner to know the right thing to say, ask for what you want/need. This means you also can kindly let them know if or when they miss the mark, and offer suggestions for what to do differently the next time.
Situation #3: Your partner’s life is not impacted like yours
You’re the one physically injecting yourself with needles and hormones. You’re the one scheduling and attending the monitoring appointments. You’re the one thinking twice before putting anything in your mouth (food, liquid, supplements, vitamins, meds) and you’re the one over analyzing how much you’re moving, how much you’re sleeping and how much more you could be doing.
And it feels like your spouse just gets to live their life as is. They don’t feel the same pressure, they don’t second guess all their choices, they don’t feel like it’s too late, they don’t think they don’t fit in with their friends anymore because they’re not a parent. When you find yourself here, remind yourself that you’re on the same team.
When you do this, you remember that you both have a part to play here. Sure, you do all that physical stuff at the clinic and with the meds, but they are always there helping with the shots or taking photos for you. You remember that you have the emotional stress on your shoulders, and they are always there to be strong for you, hold you up, and remind you that you’re loved. When you remember you’re on the same team you recognize that they carry a different pressure of watching how it’s impacting you and not being able to do more.
Notice a pattern? The thought “We are on the same team” can help you more than you know, for almost any of the situations you might find yourself in. So give this a try and see how it can make an impact!
Please know your relationship CAN improve while going through infertility. It always starts by working on you.
My 1:1 Coaching helps women stop being consumed by their infertility. When we work together they can handle the emotional rollercoaster of IVF, they have the energy and capacity to show up at work and with their friends, and they see their relationship improve.
Every one of my clients has seen the added bonus of an improvement in their relationship from the work we do together. If you’re sick of waiting for life to get better once the baby is here, then let’s start working together right now! First step is to schedule a free 1 hour call to find out how coaching works and how it will impact your life!
P.S. I have to say these two things:
- Love is love. It’s hard enough to find the person you love and that loves you back. I support consensual love and do not judge who you love.
- Sometimes, relationships do end. Speaking as someone who has gotten unmarried (and is now happily married to someone WAY better!) I am not from the school of suck it up buttercup. So know that this post is not encouraging you to suffer through it no matter how bad it is. Instead, it’s to remind you that no relationship is perfect and when it’s hard, you’re not the only one. It’s okay to get help.
Ready to get the support you need so you can stop putting your life on hold during your IVF journey?
Learn about my More Than My Infertility program!