Dear Dr Valentine
Infertility can have a huge impact on your relationship. In a special blog for Valentine's Day, Cindy Charles, Fertility Coach at the LWC helps answer some common concerns about keeping the love alive whilst coping with infertility.
'We didn’t invite infertility into our lives. It arrived of its own accord and persisted like heavy cloud in the month of August.
Prior to its arrival our relationship had been in full bloom, full of promise and opportunity. Having a baby was going to be our biggest adventure yet and we couldn’t wait to get started.
At first it was all quite exciting. After years of ‘not trying’ to get pregnant to ‘knowingly trying’ we felt like we were undertaking our own biological experiment!
However, 6 – 8 months in and novelty began to wear thin and despite assurances from friends and our GP that we shouldn’t worry just yet, I felt something was wrong and I was right.
Now we are in the throes of IVF and we both admit that our relationship has changed. In many ways we are totally mentally united in our quest to become parents, but physically we often feel miles apart. We work hard to make time for each other and sometimes whilst on holiday or at the theatre we forget about ‘project baby’ but it’s not long before it’s at the forefront of our minds again.
Could you advise us on how to keep our love alive?’
Becky and Tim
As Becky and Tim’s story shows, experiencing infertility can have a huge impact on your relationship, making it more complex and frustrated but also sometimes more compassionate, as you learn more about your partner and what family means to them.
Ironically, organising and preparing for fertility treatment takes over at a time when couples often need more intimacy and shared positive experiences in order to make their relationship sustainable in the longer term. Listening, learning and adapting are key to moving forward.
As we celebrate St Valentine, let the 14th February serve as a reminder to cherish your partners and all they bring into your life. Live, eat and be well together, remembering what first attracted you to them in the first place and the other shared interests that you have. Take the opportunity to put some spontaneity back in to your relationship, book a surprise lunch, cinema ticket or weekend away in order to prioritise your relationship and what you mean to each other.
Keeping open the lines of communication through conversation, shared experiences and sex provides reassurance and validation for both parties, strengthening bonds for the future and making day to day life more enjoyable.