Fertility treatment takes a major toll on the body and consequently has the potential of shooting one’s stress stabilizer through the roof. This can cause quite a strain on any healthy relationship. The subject matter you are dealing with is delicate enough on it’s own and handling all of the physical stuff in addition to that can make the situation overwhelming to say the least. Even if you and your partner may have been together for a long time, you should know that it isn't fair to assume that the other person understands what you are going through.
Most of the time they need some help, some carefully placed hints, to get them to see the full picture and meet you halfway. You are new to this situation as well, so you probably need some assistance with knowing what he should expect from you during this time and how he can be the most helpful. We have seen it all before and have a good idea of the journey you and your husband are about to embark on. Here is a guide to help the two of you get prepared. Go through it with him to establish the dynamic that you two are in this together.
What to Expect
Insecurities: Going through fertility treatment can make being around babies and pregnant women very difficult for a woman. Understand that discussing that family member of yours who just got pregnant for the third time probably isn’t the best topic of conversation right now. Bringing something like this up may cause her to feel resentful and unconsidered. Being around family in general might be a little hard, and the best thing to do is not to question it. Know that this is only temporary and suggest something you two can do together instead to show her your understanding and support.
Depression: It is extremely common for women to go through bouts of depression while undergoing fertility treatment. Look out for her loss of appetite, inability to sleep, excess sleeping, eating a lot, and sad demeanor. If she is showing any of these signs you should talk to her infertility specialist. Most clinics have a psychologist contact who can help with this.
Stress: Life can be stressful enough as it is and the addition of this treatment only amplifies a woman’s sensitivities and triggers. Don’t be surprised if the things that seem simple are now too much for her to handle. Do your best to be considerate and see if there is anything you can to do help take the weight off of her shoulders.
What You Can Do
Accept the situation. It is time to let go of all of the “what ifs” and accept that this is the step you and your wife have chosen to take due to certain realities. Thinking about how things could be different is not helpful. It is hard to acknowledge that not everything may be working right in one (or both) of your reproductive systems, but going through fertility treatment is also difficult. It is time to put your focus there and look to the future. Don’t dwell on the things you cannot change.
Find ways to relieve stress. Look into activities that you both can do that will ease the mind and body of you and your wife’s stress. Getting massages, practicing yoga or tai chi, receiving acupuncture, and meditation are all good examples of things that are healing emotionally and physically. You may also consider seeing a therapist to help with talking about things that are too difficult to address on your own.
Pamper her. Your wife is probably feeling pretty icky and physically drained. Take her to get a manicure or out for a romantic dinner to make her feel beautiful. Showing her that you love her and are thinking of her happiness can do wonders.
Get involved. Go with her when she has a doctor’s appointment. Even if you are not necessarily needed, it helps a lot just to be there to hold her hand and provide your support in any other way she may need. Learn as much about the treatments and the medication she has to take. Don’t let her feel like this is something she is doing on her own.
Help with the chores. It is very common for women to be the ones who do the majority of the household chores. Even if you usually pull your weight in this area, take on as much of it as you are able. Figure out dinner, help with the laundry, and clean the things you normally don't clean.
Share the burden. No matter who may be the one who is infertile, this is something you two have agreed to do together. This is a great example of for better or for worse in sickness and in health. Whenever you see an opportunity to pull your weight, take it.
That Being Said..
Remember that your partner needs you to help her through this, even if she isn't necessarily saying so. She needs to feel your unfaltering support and that this is an equal priority for the both of you. Let her know that she is cared for and that you respect that she is doing what she needs to do for your family and future.