Couples who have been struggling with infertility for years know the negative toll it can quickly take on a once-healthy marriage. The person you once shared a special connection to is now the same person who you have come to resent, feel like you've disappointed, or struggle to communicate with.
This is hardly the state your marriage should be in, especially while you are dealing with such a devastating setback to starting your family.
So just how common is infertility? It is estimated that in Canada, 1 in 6 couples has difficulty conceiving, 12 percent of females have difficulty in the United States, while 10 to 14 percent of those in India are dealing with infertility.
What causes infertility? Either male, female, or both can be infertile due to hormonal disorders, genetics, disruption of ejaculatory function, Polycystic ovary syndrome, being under or overweight, having had chronic illness or treatment for cancers, and the list goes on.
Being infertile does not necessarily mean that you can never have children, it just means the process will be a little more complicated than you were expecting. Instead of allowing your infertility journey to tear you apart, let it be what bonds you closer than ever as partners. This is not always easy, but it can be done. With online marriage courses, love, and patience, you can get through this difficult time.
1. It becomes an obsession
For most couples, deciding to start a family is as simple as stopping the use of birth control. They commonly joke that making the baby was "the fun part." But for those dealing with infertility, getting pregnant is hardly a fun process - it's an obsession.
Doing In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can be a daunting task for couples. It involves ultrasounds, blood tests, fertility medications, surgical procedures, gathering samples, insemination, and embryo transfer. Then there's the terrifying process of waiting to see if the expensive process was worth your while.
What you can do: Look for ways to connect.
You and your spouse may be excited about starting a family, but soon talk of getting pregnant can turn tense. It may even be a source of stress for you and your partner.
The solution is to find other things to occupy your mind. Plan fun and beneficial date nights each week where you can go out, build intimacy, and restore your connection. No baby-talk allowed.
2. Your life isn't what you thought it would be
By this time, you had expected to have a child or two filling your house with laughter. You wanted to be called mommy or daddy. But life has thrown you a curveball and your life is hardly what you had expected it to be.
What you can do: have a plan
Infertility is not the end of parenthood. Marriage courses will teach you how best to communicate your feelings to your partner about how you would like to move forward from here, whether it is with IVF, adoption, or another option. Having a plan will help alleviate some of the stress you are feeling.
3. Sex is no longer fun
Instead of spontaneous romance and passionate sex, your intimate life has become a schedule of thermometers, fertility apps, and calendars.
What you can do: Make date night a priority.
As mentioned above, studies show that a weekly date night can be beneficial for your marriage. Not only does it improve communication, but it boosts marital excitement. Couples who have a regular date night report a more satisfying sex life.
4. Frustrations and frequent arguments
It is difficult to live with the pain and reminders of not being able to have a baby. Even something as simple as going out for dinner with your spouse and being seated next to a young family can trigger feelings of anger, resentment, or depression.
Many couples experiencing infertility find that they take their frustrations out on one another.
What you can do: Learn how to fight fair.
Using our marriage course, learn to speak calmly, compromise, and talk to one another honestly without resorting to anger.
Above all else, don't let your spouse become your enemy. Do not lash out at them because you are hurt. Instead, take comfort in the love, compassion, and empathy you share for one another.
5. Fears your partner will blame you
If you are the infertile one in your relationship, the stress of this can truly damage your relationship. You may live in fear that your partner will blame you for not being able to start a family.
What you can do: communicate regularly
Your spouse isn't just your lover, they are your partner in life. They care about you as a person, not just as a way to have children. Talk regularly about how you are feeling and allow your partner's reassuring words to reach your heart.
6. Feelings of loneliness
Even though you are married, infertility can be an emotionally isolating experience.
Many couples make the decision not to share their infertility with others. Keeping things private can be a blessing, but it can also make you feel incredibly lonely. You feel like none of your close friends or family understand what you are going through or the pain you are feeling.
What you can do: Find a support group
There are many infertility support groups, both online and in your city. Sharing your experience with others who know exactly how you're feeling can remove the burden of stress and bring great comfort to your life.
7. Financial difficulties
According to FertilityIQ, the cost of just over two cycles of IVF will average in at $50,000. This number is not small, nor is it easy for the average couple to have access to such disposable income.
Doing multiple rounds of IVF or other treatments can be costly, emotionally exhausting, and can quickly put a couple into debt.
What you can do: Budget and speak openly about money
You and your spouse want a baby more than anything, so it sounds unfair and unflattering to put a price on starting a family. As best you can, try and put your emotions aside and sit down and have a conversation with your spouse about a realistic family planning budget.
Infertility is a struggle and a journey that can be painful for most couples. But it does not have to take away your joy. You and your spouse can enjoy a happy, healthy relationship by following the seven tips listed above. Taking a marriage course is another great way couples can learn to communicate and strengthen their marriage during this difficult time.
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