My husband and I are having a hard time getting pregnant. It’s really taking a toll on our relationship. How did you get through this?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I found that infertility dramatically affects a relationship. There’s unspoken blame. Everyone wants to put the blame on someone, but you can’t look at it that way. It really divides a couple. I tried very hard instead to focus on our goal—getting pregnant—and working together with my husband to achieve that goal.
Another challenge is that you’re having sex to have a baby, and that takes all of the fun out of it. You get to the point where instead of wanting to have sex, you think, “I’ve got to do it again.” I think at that time, it’s critical to stay connected to your spouse and to do the things you enjoy doing together, such as going out to dinner and to the movies. I worked really hard to cultivate that part of our relationship because the sex gets so mundane.
Still another challenge of infertility is the emotional component. It’s so frustrating not getting pregnant. And it’s so disappointing each month when you don’t. Plus the infertility specialist’s office is so clinical. You hear all about test tubes and samples. Going there takes away all of the magic of getting pregnant.
I think the infertility process is especially hard for men because they don’t have the support systems that women have. Women are likely to talk about infertility with their friends, but men don’t. Plus when men go to the doctor’s office, they feel left out—like their only purpose is to give semen samples. The doctor would often talk directly to me, focusing on me because I was his patient. I tried very hard to include my husband in the conversations.
My husband is a psychologist so he’s very in tune with what he’s thinking. We talked about his feelings during this at length, and he expressed how emotionally draining it was to go through infertility. I tried very hard to be supportive of my husband and how he was feeling and to include him in all of our appointments and procedures.
—Jennifer Gilbert, DO, a mom of three-month-old twins and an ob/gyn at Paoli Hospital in Pennsylvania