Before the tips, a quip:
“The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are going.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes.
You and your spouse can live “happily ever after” — if you figure out what that means to both of you! One of my favorite things to do as a married couple is to take classes and read books together — such as Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work (because trying to conceive and not getting pregnant can be extremely difficult for couples).
And, here are tips for surviving infertility as a married couple…
Marriage and Infertility Can Live Happily Ever After
Find ways to make your life meaningful – as a couple
Here’s one reader’s comment — she just left it today: “We are currently waiting to be placed with long-term foster children (waiting nearly a year), after 13 unsuccessful IVFs (in vitro fertilizations) and 6 years in total trying to conceive,” says Josie. “I know it is possible to be happy after infertility – for us, we have even found value, meaning and purpose out of our deep suffering. We feel blessed that we will provide a loving and stable home to kiddies who have had a rocky start to life.
Accept that infertility may always make you sad
If I never have kids, I’d be okay with it. But if we could get pregnant, I’d love it! Even though I’ve never been seriously depressed because we can’t have kids, I still go through bouts of longing, sadness, and yearning for a child. I know that many infertile couples — both men and women — feel despair, anger, and depression because they can’t get pregnant. Those are powerful feelings that don’t just go away! It’s important to mourn the loss of your pregnancy hopes and dreams and accept that life after infertility is full of ups and downs. Knowing this can help your marriage survive infertility.
Keep saying “Yes, my marriage can survive infertility!”
Not just surviving but thriving after a childfree life has been thrust upon you takes time and energy. “It has taken a huge committment on our behalf – years of couples and individual psychotherapy to work through our anger, loss and longing,” says Josie. She and her husband worked hard to overcome their pain at being an “infertile couple” — it didn’t just happen overnight. They helped their marriage survive infertility by not letting their feelings of loss overcome them.
Deal with your infertility problems together, as a couple
Don’t assume that your partner feels the same way as you do about infertility or living a childfree life. For instance, I’m a bit more accepting of the fact that we can’t have kids than my husband is — he always wanted six children. But, the more we talk about our different expectations and attitudes, the more we accept our life as an infertile couple. Balance your mourning for the years of trying to conceive and not getting pregnant with ways to forge a new path in life — together, as a married couple.
Join an infertility support group, or a group for infertile couples
This something I’ve always said my husband and I should do, but we never did. Josie said that it helped her: “Being part of a support group has been instrumental to my healing – helping and supporting others through their infertility journey. And I started a facebook page to support other infertile couples.”
Remember that infertility affects couples psychologically and physically
Infertility can have serious emotional effects, such as depression, increased irritability, withdrawal from social situations, poor work coping skills, apathy, blame, damaged egos (male), and damaged body image (female). Infertility increases the stress on your marriage — but it doesn’t mean you can’t survive it! If you are struggling with depression, read Dealing With Disappointment of Not Being Pregnant.
If your marriage is in crisis, you may find 7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage helpful — it’s from a marriage coach.
What do you think about the effects of infertility on marriage? I welcome your comments below…