Starting a family is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in your relationship — after all, you’ve made the amazing decision as a couple to have a baby and create your own family.
But the truth is, trying to get pregnant can be an extremely stressful and emotionally intense time for couples if you’re struggling to conceive. And regardless of the reason, failure to conceive can have a lasting impact on the health of your relationship — potentially even ending in a break-up.
In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can foster a healthy relationship with your partner when you’re struggling to conceive; read on for tips and advice.
Try not to blame yourself, or your partner
When you’re struggling to conceive, emotions run high. It’s an exhausting and challenging time for any couple, and if you’re spending money on fertility treatments like IVF too, then there’s the financial burden that also adds to the ever-growing pressure.
Many people — both women and men — internalise their feelings at struggling to conceive and blame themselves, feeling wracked with guilt. It’s easy to think that this is, in some way, your fault; your body has failed, and it’s your doing.
The same goes for your partner: it’s not their fault either. If you’re feeling sad, disappointed and stressed while you’re trying to conceive, it’s easy to let your emotions overcome you and take things out on your other half.
It’s worth checking in on them and making sure that they aren’t experiencing feelings of guilt and self-blame. They will probably be feeling the pressure too and may feel like they are letting you down.
Remember you’re a team; focus on finding possible solutions to your problem together, rather than dwelling on the past.
Be open and honest in your communication
Honest and open communication is vital to the health of any relationship.
But when you’re struggling to conceive, it can be hard to open up to your partner about how you’re feeling. Struggling to get pregnant can make you feel worthless and depressed.
Sharing these feelings with someone else — even the person you love — can be difficult. It might feel that by saying something out loud, you are confirming it and making it real. It might feel embarrassing admitting some of the stuff you are thinking to your other half. As we’ve mentioned before, you might feel guilt for your own failure to conceive, or anger at your whole situation.
You have to be open and honest with your partner; talk about how you are feeling, and your pregnancy journey so far — including all the ups and downs. Bottling up those negative emotions and not seeking support will only bring you down further and make the situation even more overwhelming.
Enjoy sex rather than just turning it into a baby-making process
When you’re trying to conceive and you’re not having any success, it is all too easy to become obsessed with getting pregnant.
This means doing everything in your power to get pregnant; eating certain things, avoiding others, following all the online tips and old wives’ tales that you can, and of course, having lots of sex.
While this initially sounds like a great thing for any couple, baby-making sex can go from passionate and fun to a calculated-to-the-day and functional chore. What was once sexy becomes a heap of pressure for both of you that this time could be the time that you conceive, and you can’t miss your ovulation window.
Pressure can kill the libido too. Men may experience performance anxiety, and struggle to achieve an erection (known as erectile dysfunction or ED), and women can have problems with getting aroused, resulting in a lack of lubrication and uncomfortable sex. This can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the relationship as well, of course, as impacting your chances of conceiving.
Try to keep the romance and passion in your sex life and enjoy sex (there are lots of great reasons have more orgasms). Go for a romantic weekend away to reconnect, give sensual massage a go, and try to get some excitement and spontaneity back into your sex life.
Don’t be afraid to take a break
If you and your partner have been trying for a baby for a while and it is becoming more and more stressful, don’t be afraid to slow down and take a break.
Trying to conceive can turn into an obsession, living in two-week increments as you wait for your ovulation window, and then wait for your pregnancy test results two weeks later. This way of living is super unhealthy, piling pressure onto both of you to conceive and damaging your relationship.
Be patient and give yourself time. Many couples don’t get pregnant right away; this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong. It might just take you longer.
If you find yourself obsessing or becoming anxious to the point where it is impacting the health of your relationship, then take a break. Do something else — take a vacation, go away for a weekend, and reconnect with the person you love on a level that isn’t just about making a baby.
If you’ve been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over a year (or six months, if you’re over 35), and you’re worried about taking a break, then it is a good idea to visit your doctor or a specialist to find out why. They will be able to sort out fertility testing, get results, and give guidance on what your next steps could be if you have fertility problems.
It’s all too easy to neglect your relationship with you’re struggling to conceive and you’re desperate to have a baby. These tips will help you to foster a healthy relationship with your partner when you’re on your conception journey, keeping you balanced and positive while you’re trying to get pregnant.