When you’ve decided it’s the right time to try for a baby it’s natural to want it to happen as quickly as possible, and it can be upsetting if it’s not happening the way you’d hoped. Whether you’re trying to conceive through intercourse or through fertility treatment, it can be a hard time for any couple. Here we’ve provided some information on how to support your partner when trying to have a baby.
This stuff is hard
The experience of trying to conceive can feel like a whirlwind of cycle tracking, ovulation testing, timed intercourse, injecting hormones, having side effects from medication, juggling appointments and scheduling insemination. This is enough to stress anyone out and add a strain on your mental health and relationship. Finding ways to be supportive during this time can help alleviate some of that strain you may be experiencing.
What can you do?
- Be patient
Your partner may not be able to express what she’s feeling or thinking, most likely it’s a combination of anxiety and anticipation, but let her know that you’re there and ready to listen if she wants to talk.
- Be present
Medical treatments are often more demanding of the female partner than the male. Accompany your partner to appointments when you can, be present to share updates and ask questions. You might even want to be the one performing the hormone injections.
- Set healthy boundaries
Some people confide in family and friends when going through fertility problems or treatment. Decide as a couple how much you want to share and set boundaries so you don’t feel pressured to share intimate details. This may include declining to attend certain social events like baby showers or family gatherings if they may be triggering to you or your partner.
- Respect the differences in your coping strategies
You and your partner may manage your emotions differently when trying to get pregnant. Being optimistic, hopeful, realistic or pessimistic will not have an impact on the outcome, so be sure to listen to each other and respond to each other’s needs. Some problems don’t need to be fixed, just listened to. (Communication is key!)
- Take breaks
While you and your partner are committed to starting a family, remember to occasionally take some time to yourselves so the process doesn’t become all-consuming. Go on dates or find an activity you both enjoy so you can reconnect as a couple.
- Seek help through counselling
All fertility clinics are required to offer counselling before starting any treatment. In some cases, however, this does come at an additional cost. Counselling can give you an opportunity to discuss your feelings in a confidential space with a counsellor who specialises in fertility problems and treatment. You can talk to your GP about getting counselling on the NHS, or if you prefer to go privately, you can book a consultation with an accredited infertility counsellor.
- Explore support groups
Fertility support groups can offer a chance to talk and share experiences with others who are also trying to conceive. This can be done as a couple or individually, and both present an opportunity to discuss your emotions without feeling like you’re being a burden to your partner.
- Reduce daily stress
Daily stresses may seem minor, but they can impact our moods and even more so when going through fertility problems. Consider getting help with cleaning or having groceries delivered – anything that can make life a little easier.
- Never put blame on yourself or your partner
It can be easy to let negative thoughts creep in when going through fertility problems, but blame can be detrimental to any relationship. Remember that trying to have a family is something that you’re doing together, as a couple. Try to talk about this openly with your partner so no one feels guilty about having fertility problems or going through treatment.
- Be sensitive about important dates
If you and your partner have previously had a miscarriage, the due date of the baby you lost may be an especially sensitive time.
Infertility can be hard but you are not alone, Here are some helpful resources: