How Infertility Affects Your Marriage.
For couples who have been told there are no more options available to them for conception, the news can be devastating. It can tear a couple apart, or they can grow closer as they deal with the emotions they share.
The strain of trying to get pregnant in the face of infertility issues is certainly challenging for any couple.
For Susan, 35, the emotional roller coaster of infertility was taxing for her marriage. “Whoa! Having sex on a schedule – nothing will kill your sex life faster!” she says. “Going through the monthly roller coaster ride of emotions also makes you into a person you’d rather not be. We have very good communication skills and have been able to work through it.”
Once a couple is told that conception will never be possible, a new challenge begins.
Sarah, 49, says facing permanent infertility was difficult at first. “It alienated us for a time. Having experienced a short-lived pregnancy made me much more aware of my own body, and psychologically, the “possible future child” was much more real, as well as the loss of the child I’d been pregnant with.”
Dawn and her husband have decided not to try to have children because Dawn suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare disorder characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy that may necessitate hospitalization which can lead to dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficit, and the loss of greater than five percent of their original body weight (medical source: WebMD). She is grieving both the loss of her child, and the loss of her dream to be a mother.
“We are taking it one day at a time,” Dawn says. “We love each other a great deal and are exceptionally close, but this has definitely put a strain on our relationship. My husband blames himself. He thinks there is something that he could have done to make things turn out differently. I have felt my loss through depression and anxiety.”
The best way for your marriage to survive the trauma of permanent infertility is to give yourself and your husband permission to grieve on your own. But at the same time, keep the lines of communication open between you.
Like any tragic event in our lives, it will get easier with time. Similar to dealing with the death of someone close to you, the pain can resurface at key times of the year. Most likely, it will be when a friend’s child starts school, at family gatherings when children are present, and when friends and family become pregnant. If you become severely depressed, or the pain continues long after you think it should end, seek medical help either as a couple or individually. Counseling can work wonders in helping you deal with infertility. (PART FOUR of this series will highlight resources for finding support)
Perhaps the best way to cope is to believe in your marriage. “Sometimes it is hard to be there for each other when both of us still hurt so much,” Dawn adds. “But I have faith things will work out OK for us.”
“How infertility affects your marriage” is PART TWO a four part series on permanent infertility. Check back soon for the following installments…
PART THREE: Why adoption isn’t always the answer
PART FOUR: Finding support
To read PART ONE: Dealing with the News, click on the link in the upper right hand corner of this screen, under the heading “Related Links.”