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Relationship Survival On Infertility Island

a blog by Maya Moskin, October 17, 2014

Going through infertility often means an added layer of stress—emotionally, physically, and financially. It means having to problem solve a problem that often times is “unexplained,” or that has very few desirable solutions. If you are in a relationship, it also means you and your partner may not always be on the same page about what to do next, which can add yet another layer of stress to the situation. Sounds glorious, doesn’t it?

My husband Noah and I have learned a lot during our four years dealing with infertility and various treatments, and I can honestly say our relationship is stronger and our communication is better for it. But that doesn’t mean it was always an easy road. When two people are frustrated, confused, and broke and asked to make some pretty big sacrifices for a chance at having a family, it can be really challenging. Add a violent cocktail of hormones to one of those two people and you’ve got yourself a potential disaster.

Here are a few things Noah and I did to whether the storm so we could come out the other side still smiling, and still holding hands:

  1. Learn to listen. Not just hear, but really listen to what the other person is trying to articulate. Try to understand things from your partner’s perspective, even if it is completely different than your own.
  2. Try to respect the different ways you both express emotions. I am an emotionally expressive person, to put it gently, and my husband is an emotional rock. What I sometimes interpreted as him being aloof or disinterested was just the quiet way in which he felt his feelings. There’s no right or wrong way to express feelings, just different. Try to be aware and honor the different ways in which you express yourselves.
  3. Try not to place blame. Yes. Someone may have wanted to wait a while before trying to have kids. Someone may have a body part that isn’t functioning the way it should. Those may be the facts, but remember that nobody asked for infertility. It’s a situation you are both dealing with, pointing the finger isn’t going to help resolve the crisis. Remind yourselves that you are on the same team.
  4. Communicate. Chances are, you’re going to have to make a handful of tough decisions on your journey to parenthood, and you may not always agree on the path to take. That’s ok. You can try making a list of what’s important to each person and evaluating that list. Or you may designate time to sit and discuss the pros and cons of different choices. However you chose to talk about it, do talk about.
  5. Find time for things other than infertility. Infertility has a way of taking center stage. Between multiple appointments, limitations on finances, or the overall anxiety of it all, infertility can become the focal point. Try to designate time to talk about something else. Go on a date, see a movie, be physical in positive way.

And always remind each other that infertility won’t be the main event forever. Hopefully, someday soon, your baby will be, and you and your partner will be able to look back at how much you’ve learned about yourselves and about each other.

Comments (1)

Maya, These are some wonderful words to live by. The past 8 years for us have been so trying, faced with the struggles of infertility. Thank you for sharing these very meaningful things that you've learned. It means so much that have the support of other "survivors" on the island. Together, we can all make it through. Having wonderful organizations like BabyQuest to help us finance infertility treatments and also provide emotional support is a ray of hope in an otherwise dark place. As recent recipients, my husband and I are truly grateful and I encourage everyone else out there not to give up hope. These are wise words that have kept me going... ~A

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