The stresses of Infertility
Planning a baby should be an exciting, pleasurable and sexy time for a couple, right?
Isn’t that what we imagine – lots of sex, emotional closeness and fun is involved in the making of a baby?
But, what happens for a couple if they do not get pregnant as they plan?
Research shows that 1 out of 6 couples might experience difficulties in conceiving the natural way.
A heterosexual couple that has been trying for a baby is diagnosed with fertility issues if after 1 year (in the case of under 30s) and 6 months (for over 30s) they have not conceived.
The stress of Infertility – How females feel
For a female every month that goes past and she gets her period can be a reminder that she has “failed” to conceive.
She might well experience repeated loss, and start to question why her body has let her down.
She will sometimes start thinking that it is something she has done.
The stress of Infertility – How males feel
Males tend to be more pragmatic and might just want to get on with it and not quite understand what is the rush.
However they are often hugely disappointed, but just experience it differently.
They usually want their cheerful happy partner and might get frustrated that their lives are so caught up with the rules of baby making and the limitations on their social lives and their alcohol consumption.
Sexual intimacy can suffer as women are focused on the right time of the month to have sex.
Men will often complain that they love their partners and would like to get them pregnant, but often feel like they have to perform on demand.
It is easy for your sex life to get confined to the fertile window, meaning that spontaneous and fun sex gets put on hold.
Most couples find a diagnosis of infertility and fertility treatment becomes very intrusive with personal questions about their intimate life. This medical intervention can also cause a decrease in libido and bouts of impotency for the male.
Don’t let your social lives become limited
For some couples their social lives become limited as it can feel unbearable to see their close friends pregnant, and often with the 2nd and third children.
Couples complain that their friends say things like “We just have to look at each other to conceive” or might make remarks like “What is wrong with the two of you?” and “Why don’t you hurry up?”. One lady reported that her girlfriend said “I can lend you my husband!”.
Couples that are struggling to conceive often can dread christenings or Christmas when all the family is gathered.
They might start experiencing stress and find it difficult to talk together.
She can not want to show him how upset she is, and he dreads the time of the month when her period is due.
If they go for fertility checks and proceed with assisted fertility treatment it can give them hope, but can tend to put their sex lives on hold, as sex and baby making get scrutinised and put in the medical arena.
How can you get back the fun and sex you had prior to trying for a baby?
You can start by remembering why you got together in the first place.
Plan fun dates outside of the fertile window.
Write love notes to each other and put them where your partner will find them as a surprise.
Have a cuddle and a kiss or a sexy text during the day, reminding him/her that you find them attractive.
Plan a weekend away.
Make sure that you limit the talk about fertility treatment to 20 minutes a day.
Plan massages together can be helpful.
And, above all, be gentle with both yourself and your partner. This is a stressful time for both of you, but you can use it as a time to pull together, support each other, and strengthen your bond.
Often couples can be helped by counselling with experienced Infertility and Relationship Psychologists.