Love and romance often can take a back seat to the basal thermometers, hormone shots, and ovulation charts that millions of aspiring parents hope will get the job done. And for the one in six American couples trying to overcome infertility issues, feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and miscommunication can cause a radical change in their daily lives—and in their relationships. I understand what they are going through because I struggled to have children over the course of several years. But during this experience, my husband and I were fortunate to learn some much-needed lifesaving strategies to keep the love alive in our relationship.
As a couple and individually, Mark and I talk to women and men all over the country—at fertility practices, support groups, and RESOLVE meetings. We developed a seminar “Strategies for Survival— Balancing Infertility, Marriage, and Life,” that focuses on the importance of sharing and communicating so a couple can move successfully through infertility without allowing it to become all-encompassing and overwhelming. We try to be honest, personal and humorous during our presentations and reveal tips, provide exercises, and share bits of wisdom we have acquired. Our goal is to guide couples through the hardships and help them to work as a team. To achieve this, we came up with twenty-eight survival strategies. Some of our favorite ones are:
- The Fertility Game Plan: A concrete plan to help a couple work as a team when they are trying to conceive, which is not as easy as it sounds.
- The Power of Visualization: A powerful strategy featuring mental rehearsal of upcoming events in order to gain a sense of control and quiet fears.
- The Gratitude List: An exercise for couples to do nightly before bed to help them focus on their lives’ abundance and what they are grateful for.
- The “Elevator Speech:” A brief, well-rehearsed response to insensitive questions from others.
Most importantly, we try to give couples a plan for avoiding emotional pitfalls and hardships as they transition from individuals to a couple working as a team to create another human life.
Not losing sight of why you wanted to create a family in the first place—out of your love for one another—is crucial as you travel on the path to parenthood together.