Talk To Your World
Self-acceptance can go a long way in dealing with others. If you’ve been married for even a little while, it’s almost inevitable that the “Do you have kids?” question will start to come your way. Innocent though these inquiries may be, if you’re unprepared the questions can leave you stammering for an answer.
Maria and Raul are one couple who worked out a system to deal with this situation. “We’ve made lists of three levels of people,” Maria related. “The people in Level One pretty much get a full report. My mom, my best friend, and Raul’s sister fall into this category. Level Two are people who know we’re struggling. They don’t get every detail, but we can be more open, with answers like, ‘We’ve decided to do an IUI.’ Everybody else is in Level Three. They get the standard: ‘We’re trying and will be sure to let you know when it happens.’ The system really works well, because if I’m out and about, and see someone unexpectedly, I can mentally scan my list and know where she fits in.”
Take One Step At a Time
Like Maria and Raul, be sure to take the time to share with your partner. Infertility may very well be the first major crisis you’ve experienced together, so take the opportunity now to shore up your relationship.
From the start, agree to a plan and keep it flexible. Set limits in terms of expense and treatment, and agree to revisit this on a regular basis. Understand that you and your husband will probably think about and deal with this crisis differently. Set the goal of doing your best to understand one another, and if you come to an impasse, get more information and just keep talking until you come up with a decision that “feels right” to you both.
A good way to stay connected is to set aside 20 minutes several times a week, perhaps to “walk and talk” after dinner. Relate not only fertility updates, but also explore how each of you is doing emotionally, and how you’ll navigate any upcoming events that include pregnant friends or children.
Making a commitment with your partner to have ongoing discussions, share your feelings, and agree on how to proceed will pay big dividends in your relationship; you can make your next medical appointment knowing that you have each other’s full support.
Virtually every woman struggling with infertility who has reached out for support online has discovered an amazing community. These fertility sites offer a sense of belonging, tips on how to cope, information and resources, and forums to vent, laugh, cry, and celebrate.
For live support groups, check your local hospital, doctor’s office, or the local chapter of organizations like Resolve (www.resolve.org). ConceiveOnline also offers support and information through the MyConceive community of Forums, available at http://conceiveonline.com/myconceive/home/.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Conceive Magazine.