Couples and Infertility Series Post 2: Reconnecting
When having a baby becomes your sole purpose, it is easy to lose sight of who your partner is as opposed to the role they are playing along the way (ex. the sperm donor who brings me apple juice after medical procedures.) However, you chose your partner for a reason. They are with you through this for a reason. Do you remember those reasons? If not, that’s understandable. But reaquainting yourself with the reasons why you chose your teammate as well what you enjoy about your teammate can increase your feelings of connection and intimacy during this difficult time.
What Do You Like To Do Together?
What’s your thing that is just the two of you? Do you like to do crossword puzzles? Hike? Go antique shopping? Nerd out debating the merits of all the Star Wars movies? When was the last time you did the small things that you both enjoy? If you miss doing it, I bet your partner does too.
What Do You Like About Each Other?
Sometimes anger and resentment toward our partner can creep it, which makes it hard to think about wanting to spend time together. If this is where you currently are finding yourself, take a step back from planning things to do together and just think about what you like about your partner. Write them down. Big stuff and small.
Maybe they supported you through a parent’s funeral. Maybe they bring you coffee every morning. Maybe they send you funny memes throughout the day or make your favorite meal. Maybe they know you enough to know when to leave you alone, when to give you a hug, and when to joke about how irrational you are being. You get Intimacy Bonus Points if you share your list with your partner.
Now that you hopefully like each other again, and you have done some smaller things together that you both enjoy, set up a date night! Here are the rules:
1. Go someplace fun.
2. Turn off your phones.
3. Take a break from abstaining and indulge. Craving sushi? Would really love wine and an unpasteurized cheese plate? I say go for it. (Unless you have already begun assisted reproduction techniques, then I would not go for it. I’m not a doctor so consult yours if you have questions or skip this step if it doesn’t feel right for you). Essentially, so much of trying to get pregnant is about avoiding. So find some way to splurge.
4. Do not talk about fertility stuff, baby stuff, or who you just found out is pregnant. Off limits.
5. Do talk about anything else!
6. Enjoy each other and the moment.
Saving your hard earned dough and paid time off for when the baby comes? Great idea, truly. However, sometimes there is a real benefit to doing things that don’t make practical sense. Here are some pros and cons to traveling in the midst of a fertility journey.
Con: Money. Less paid time off for when the baby comes. Money.
Pro: Connection with each other. New experiences. Stress reliever. Sex life boost. Something else to focus on. Once you have a baby you probably won’t be having couple getaways for awhile! Rest and relaxation before embarking on the next stage of your journey.
Touch Each Other:
You are stressed. Your partner is stressed. Someone is irritated, someone is avoidant. And suddenly you can’t remember the last time you held hands, or hugged. So make an effort to just touch your partner. (Get your mind out of the gutter! That is the next section;)
Hold hands, hug every time you both get home from work, give each other back rubs. Touch your partner’s knee while watching TV, play footsie while eating dinner, kiss each other. This will hopefully help lower tension, and increase feelings of playfulness, relaxation and connection.
Sexy Time Not Based on Procreation:
Can you even remember the last time you had sex with your partner because you actually wanted to and not because an app on your phone or a thermometer told you it was go time? Nothing is sexy about having sex because you are ovulating and you both feel like you have to. Especially as the months tick by…
So, turn off the ovulation app on your phone. If the mood strikes you when you are out of the ovulation window seize the day. The further from ovulation the better so that you don’t have that voice in the back of your mind “maybe that was the time we made a baby.”
While there may be a lot of sex when trying to procreate, over time intimacy can be sorely lacking. (This is a counseling blog, not hbo, so the sexual content will be kept to a minimum.) But I do recommend that all those things that you liked to do, or wanted to do, that you haven’t done in awhile (because sex became a more of a chore and less about fun and connection with your partner) do those things:) Light some candles, hit play on the Marvin Gaye album, and enjoy what is happening without racing to the finish line.
If you or your partner are in need of professional support please reach out to an infertility mental health counselor. If you are interested you can set up a chat with me through the contact section of my website.
Wishing you connection, intimacy, and passion!