How can we keep our relationship strong while we are trying to conceive?
Real Mom Problem
“Trying to conceive is destroying our marriage. I just don't know how to keep the desire for children alive and keep my marriage together. Does anyone else feel this? How do you deal with it? I keep praying he falls in love with me all over again. I miss the old days.”
- 1. Trying to conceive can be stressful on a relationship. Be sure you go into the process with open, honest communication
- 2. Let your partner decide how much, or how little, he'd like to know about the steps you're taking to help you conceive
- 3. Avoid turning sex into a chore. Find fun, romantic ways to connect with each other as a couple
Real Mom Solutions
The stress of trying to conceive can take a toll on your relationship. Get woman-to-woman advice on how to keep your relationship strong, from people who understand what you're going through.
Some Women Involve Him in the Process
My husband and I are both on the trying-to-conceive train. He wants to know what my temps are doing, when my ovulation predictor kits are positive, anything to help get a positive pregnancy test. That being said I realize most men aren't like that, most feel like it is too much pressure on them. So try not to talk nonstop with them about trying to conceive. Try to find ways to keep it new and fresh so it doesn't become routine and old. By far make sure you both are on the same page and he wants to try because if it is just you and not him, he might end up resenting you and baby.
The only advice I can give is, be 100% honest with each other. Communication is a must.? Don't try to hide your fears or feelings from your partner. You both need to be on the same page and support each other through the journey. Sometimes we think we're stressing them too much or protecting them by not voicing our own fears. But it's a lot more stressful playing the guessing game of what the other is feeling.
For us, we have a lot of communication. We like sex no matter where it is in our cycle, and we make a point to tell each other we love each other, and talk about different options in life. We both figure out and agree on meds, charting, and everything else. We agree on time frames before going to the next step and make sure we are on the same page.
If you have to work at trying to conceive, it's very helpful for both of you to be very committed to it. I'm very fortunate that my husband is at least as committed as I am. He supports me when I need support; he encourages me when that's what I need. He's ready to have sex when I tell him I'm fertile. He's even very willing to say, "How about if I go get tested again, I may be the problem." A strong commitment to what we are trying to do is important, especially if the journey is being long. We also try to not let it overwhelm us and make sure we are also focusing on our boys and spending time with each other. My husband is open to talking about anything I want to share with him, but we don't talk about trying to conceive endlessly. Instead, we discuss things related to our common interests, family, our boys etc. I think it is also important to know what puts pressure on your partner. If he doesn't like knowing you're fertile, don't tell him. Just initiate sex when you need to (and initiate at other times so you don't only initiate when you're fertile). If he doesn't like to hear all the details, don't tell him. Of course, if he likes knowing, then tell him! Open communication is so important.
My husband and I had to sit down and have a HUGE heart to heart about fertility issues. The pressure really gets to men, I think. My husband was really starting to feel like a failure when we kept going month after month with no results. You need to work on your marriage and have a lot of open, honest communication. Stress does nothing for your efforts to make a baby!
During these two years of trying to conceive I have made sure to involve my hubby as much or as little as he wants. I ask him before each cycle, "How involved do you want to be?", "Do you want me to discuss ALL the details?" Most cycles he is all in and wants to know all the details. And some cycles he simply isn't. But we keep our communication open.
Others Don't Tell Him More Than He Needs to Know
Honestly the best advice I can give is not to put so much pressure on your partner. This time around my husband and I sat down and agreed that both of us wanted to try for another baby and that is as much as I have involved him. If he has a specific question about my cycle or something pertaining to what I am doing then I let him in on it but I try not to bombard him with all of the information that is pretty much useless to him. If you track your cycles then you know when you ovulate and when you are fertile and if you shove all of this in his face like it's a business meeting, then it will put added pressure on him to perform and then it just sucks the fun right out of it. On the other hand why not try to make that time in your cycle a romantic adventure instead of pressure to make a baby. He will just think that you are really in the mood and he is going to get lucky, and it will also take the pressure off of yourself and let yourself enjoy the experience. I know from experience the stress of trying to conceive is so much to handle and it can put a big strain on your relationship. Try to take the stress out of it and just enjoy the experience along the way!
About three years ago I ended up having a mental breakdown from trying to conceive and having two miscarriages. Trying to conceive can get super stressful, and to men it's even worse. Stop telling him about your ovulation dates and don't let him know you're temping. I had to do that with my husband and it all worked out fine.
I don't talk to my husband about trying to conceive. He thinks it's going to over-stress me and ruin things, so I just go about doing things when I can and he's not around.
Consider Taking a Break from Trying
My advice would be to work on your marriage before bringing another child into your family. We have had two miscarriages (early ones) and I told myself, when I get too consumed with trying to conceive, then it's time for a break from it. Marriage comes first, then children.
My Husband and I struggled while trying to conceive our second son. I had such a need to feel life inside of me again and although he wanted a child he just couldn't understand my disappointment. After two-and-a-half years of not ovulating or having cycles, and our relationship feeling the severe strain, I decided we needed a break. So we took a six month break. It was such a relief to be able to have sex without thinking "Am I ovulating?", "Will this position be the best to conceive in?", "I wonder how long I should put my legs up for" ,"Hmm maybe I will use his pillow to rest my rump on since its thicker." It was so nice to let it all just go. Needless to say once we let our guard down I conceived. Since that experience we have discussed thoroughly that if either of us are stressing the other out while trying to conceive then we would take a break. Looking back I realize we have spent nine of our 12 years trying to conceive. That is a long time of stress on a couple, but we are stronger now than ever before.
Don't Make Sex a Chore
My husband and I go out on dates. Don't let sex feel like a chore. There will be times when you feel sad or depressed because you're not pregnant yet and it's taking time. But remember to get back up. Go out and have fun.
I try to make sure that he understands even though I obviously can't make a baby on my own, I don't just want him for sex, or his swimmers. Often times he felt like all I wanted him for, or all he was good for, was sex. So I spiced things up a bit, I tried to make it more interesting, more fun. I wasn't so crazy about only certain positions. I let it be spontaneous. Instead of saying "Honey, I am ovulating, bedroom, NOW!" I said the week prior, "Honey I am going to start taking my ovulation predictor kits, I will leave them in the cabinet, check them out if you want. Once they get to be the same darkness we should definitely have sex!" And needless to say I started catching him peeking in the cabinet and saying, "Oh it's so close, let's start now." It was taking the pressure off of him because it wasn't me saying it's time, it was a visual aid that helped him know it's time.
We had marriage strain when we tried to get pregnant with our first son, and it started to happen when we tried for our second. We actually did end up separating before our first but we realized there were bigger things to complain about. I assured him I still loved him and sex wasn't just for "baby-making" since I decided we should have sex all the time. We got pregnant several months later (after three years of trying). My suggestion: talk to him. Let him know you still love him, and that you want more children, which is totally natural! It can be hard when you know from the get-go you are going to have trouble.
We make a point to have sex in fun ways, not just to procreate. We have sex all cycle long, even if we try to space it out enough that the sperm is good quality (every other day). Stress causes more problems and so does lack of sleep--so we make a point to talk about things together that are stressful and go to bed early together and make sure we are both well-rested and feeling good. That includes body, mind and emotions. We are in this together. That includes being active and willing participants on the trying to conceive journey.