Infertility is a common problem in couples these days. Inability to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse is defined as infertility in medical terminology. As per the latest 2023 World Health Organization report, it has been estimated that 1 in 6 couples worldwide suffer from infertility. This can be quite a distressing time for couples.
The diagnosis itself can cause an upheaval in a couple’s married life. It can cause extreme psychological and emotional stress. In the initial stages, couples go through a range of emotions such as confusion, a sense of denial, hurt, disbelief, anger, sadness and a “why us” victimhood mentality. These all eventually are responsible for loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem in many couples facing fertility issues. Later on, in cases of long-standing infertility, it can lead to a sense of loss of control over destiny, sexual dysfunction, social isolation and depression.
Many a times the partner in whom some fertility issue is diagnosed may suffer from discrimination and blame by the other partner. This can cause a lot of guilt, shame and mental agony in the infertile partner. These intimate tensions can slowly percolate in daily life circumstances and lead to a strained relationship. So, how do you nourish a healthy relationship as you combat infertility problems.
How to deal with infertility as a couple?
Here are some ways to nourish a healthy relationship to get through infertility treatment effectively:
1. Don’t shame your partner
Both partners should understand that the diagnosis of infertility is equally stressful for each other. In addition, the partner with fertility problem suffers with unwanted guilt and shame. This is the time when one needs the support of their partner the most. Be vocal about your problems. If you are not at the receiving end of the problem, you should not feel shameful or look down upon your partner. Avoid bringing the topic of fertility and its problems while arguing on some other unrelated matter.
2. Address each other’s fears
One of the most common fears couple avoid addressing is the fear of one’s partner leaving them if they are the ones with the infertility problem. Many women harbour a deep-seated fear of being abandoned by their partner for someone much younger. It is always better to address one’s fear early on in their fertility journey than later. If not addressed, then the partner suffers from self-blame, low self-esteem and infertility stress, which can hamper the relationship.
3. Avoid resentment and misunderstanding
It is humane to feel sad and low when we do not get what we desire. At the same time, every individual has their own way to cope with stress. Some like to talk about how they are feeling, some like to keep it low. Many a times, women feel unloved and have strong resentment against their partners for not caring enough!! One must understand that each one has their own way of coping with stress. Avoid misunderstandings and agree to differ in your opinions and the way both partners react to the same emotional stress. That helps in nourishing one’s relationship in one’s fertility journey.
Also Read: 7 ways to cope up with the stress of infertility
4. Communicate and seek help when required
Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Talk to each other and convey your feelings. At the same time, one must know that talking everyday about the same fertility problem can be depressing. So, keeping a balance is important. Share your emotions and convey fears but not all the time. Reassure each other. Keep the conversation short and light. Seek the help of your health professionals who can help you clear your doubts. At times talking to your close friends and family members can also help. Don’t carry the burden and stress all by yourself.
5. Try to laugh more
No matter how stressful it looks, it is always nice to add fun and humour in your relationship. It lightens the burden. Laughing together releases “happy hormones” which not only makes you feel better, it is actually a stress buster. Always remember this is just a phase, it will get over soon. Remember what doesn’t break you, make you. Be hopeful and be kind to each other. Support one another and see your relationship blossom even in the toughest phases of your life.
Remember you will be able to get through your fertility journey with ease and sans stress if your relationship is not impacted by it too much! Keeping these tips in mind, you should try to best to nurture a healthy relationship.