Hearing the words “female infertility” is heartbreaking. If your doctor told you that you can’t get pregnant – and you don’t know how to tell your boyfriend – you may feel everything from shame to anger to depression. Here’s how to cope – plus tips for telling your boyfriend that you can’t get pregnant.
You are not alone! I was inspired to write this for a reader called Clarissa, who commented on How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing in Your Life. “I had a really bad case of endometriosis,” she said, “and I know I can’t get pregnant now. I’m only 22. When do I tell my boyfriend that I’m infertile?”
There are no right or wrong answers, because it really depends on your relationship with your boyfriend. It also depends on his expectations of you and your future together. In this article, I share several tips for what to expect when you tell your boyfriend you can’t conceive. I also tell you some good news – the gospel truth about you and your future.
When my husband and I found out we couldn’t have kids, we were crushed. My husband wanted six kids! He’s the youngest of six, and he always assumed he’d have a big family. I’m the oldest of two girls, and I never dreamed I’d have more than two children. We both thought we’d have at least two kids…and we were wrong.
We have no children, but we have good news. One name, one Savior, one source of the deepest well and widest ocean of river and joy: Jesus! We haven’t let infertility ruin our lives, destroy our faith, or affect our marriage in ways that aren’t positive and uplifting.
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The bad news? I can’t think of anything – but I’ve never been good at coming up with bad stuff to focus on 🙂 And that’s one of the best ways to hold on to your joy and enthusiasm for life: focus on the good news. Find out what the gospel truth is and hold on with both hands.
How to Tell Your Boyfriend You Can’t Get Pregnant
Are you and your boyfriend believers? Then you have something to hold on to. You have your faith – and there is nothing sweeter. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6.
On to the practical tips for talking about female infertility with your boyfriend…
Talk about infertility in your relationship as soon as possible
If you’re talking about living together, getting married, or starting a family then you should definitely talk about the fact that you can’t have kids. Be as honest as you can – as soon as you can – about why you can’t get pregnant.
This is scary. Different women are anxious about different things – but we all ultimately fear rejection. What if he leaves us because we can’t have children? What if our boyfriends or husbands walk out because they want kids, and we can’t get pregnant?
Take a deep breath, and trust. If you don’t know Jesus, then trust that you will find your way through this somehow. Believe that God really is on your side, He loves you, and He didn’t strike you with infertility because He’s cruel or heartless. If you don’t believe me, talk to Him yourself. Right now. He may not tell you why you can’t get pregnant – because I’ve found that He rarely shares His reasoning for anything – but He may give you comfort, guidance, and peace.
Maybe He’ll even bless you with joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Be prepared to discuss the options for couples coping with infertility
What do you know and what are you prepared to do about starting a family? The more you know about what you want to do, the better you can guide and help your boyfriend on the journey. The more you know about fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, surrogate mothers, sperm donors, adoption, fostering, and accepting a childfree life, the better you’ll feel about the possibilities.
If you’re thinking about adoption, read 10 Things You Need to Know About Adopting a Baby. Learn what your options are so you can talk about them with your boyfriend. Find out how he feels about not having biological children, or about being a sperm donor, or about having a surrogate mother carry his child.
Talk to your boyfriend. You may not say everything perfectly, and that’s okay. Trust that your life – and your relationship – really is unfolding the way it’s meant to. Even if you can’t get pregnant…and even if your boyfriend breaks up with you because of infertility issues.
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Remember: how you feel about infertility affects how your boyfriend will respond
Are you worried that your boyfriend will leave you because you can’t get pregnant? Your attitude and perspective will change his. The worse you feel about infertility, the worse he’ll feel. The more depressed and sad you are, the more depressed and sad your boyfriend will be. The fewer options you believe you have, the fewer options your boyfriend will see.
Don’t believe the lie that you can’t be happy if you don’t have children. Instead, hold on to the truth: you can have a joyful, spirit-filled life no matter what happens to you! Peace and joy comes from what you fix your mind on, not what you have in your life.
If you’re devastated, angry, or bitter that you can’t get pregnant, then your boyfriend may mirror your feelings. If you’re accepting and matter-of-fact, then he will probably react the same way.
Don’t assume your boyfriend will end your relationship
Some people are happy to try different ways of getting pregnant, and aren’t married to the idea of having their own biological children. Don’t assume that your boyfriend won’t want you because you can’t have kids. Assume nothing when it comes to female infertility! Don’t even assume you’ll never get pregnant, because strange things happen in our mysterious and beautiful bodies. Even the bodies we thought were “broken.”
Also, don’t assume your boyfriend will want to consider infertility treatments or other ways to have a family. Give him space and time to adjust to the idea of not having children with you. Let him go away and mull it over. Maybe your boyfriend will need a minute to wrap his head around the idea of infertility; maybe he’ll need a month. Or six months. His response could be immediate, or it could take a few weeks – it just depends on his personality traits, family situation, expectations, lifestyle, etc.
Trust that if you aren’t meant to be together, it’s better to break up
I know it’s heartbreaking to think about losing your boyfriend, but the truth is that if you aren’t meant to be together, you’re better off alone. You’ll find a boyfriend who is fine with the fact that you can’t get pregnant, and who will love you for who you are. Or maybe you’ll find yourself happier alone, or with a man who already has children.
There are other ways to cope with female fertility issues and have love and light in your life. A diagnosis of female infertility does not mean the end of a family! Don’t give up hope, even if you know you can’t get pregnant. Trust God, and know that millions of families are joyfully knit together with adopted children, foster children, surrogate children, or even living a childfree life.
May you find hope, faith, and healing. May joy and freedom fill your life – and may you know the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Help for Couples Coping With Infertility
In What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: The Complete Guide to All the Options for Couples Facing Fertility Issues, Daniel Potter and Jennifer Hanin offer a step-by-step guide to help you – and your boyfriend – explore your best options for conception and birth.
- Advances in natural products for women
- New supplements, medications, and treatment protocols for infertility
- Advice from leading experts on all areas of fertility treatments
- The latest in egg freezing, vitrification, gender selection, and genetic testing
- The future of IVF and reproductive medicine
Drawing on the latest science, Potter and Hanin offer sound advice for choosing the right fertility doctor and clinic, asking the right questions, and living a healthy, fertile lifestyle. Complete with advice on how to handle the frustrations of not being able to conceive, What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant is a great guide to making informed decisions about fertility issues.
If you feel ashamed or guilty because of female infertility issues, read How to Forgive Yourself for Not Being Able to Get Pregnant.
What do you think about telling your boyfriend that you can’t get pregnant? I welcome your comments below. I can’t offer advice on how to tell him you can’t conceive, but you may feel better if you share your experience…