Unhappy coupleFacing infertility is challenging in so many ways, not the least of which is the toll it takes on the relationships in your life. And that’s not just with your spouse – friendships can suffer as well.

Many couples dealing with infertility find that trying to have a baby takes over every part of their lives. Sex becomes mechanical – a means to an end – which can put strain on a marriage. Dinner conversations revolve around IVF. Outings together turn into trips to the doctor’s office. Combine all that with fertility drugs (and the increased hormones that go along with them), and a once-happy marriage can go downhill quickly. 

Additionally, many women find that their relationships with friends suffer when they’re dealing with fertility issues. It can be extraordinarily difficult to maintain friendships with other women who are pregnant or already have children of their own. Attending baby showers or children’s birthday parties can be hard to cope with, and sharing your feelings with someone who hasn’t walked in your shoes isn’t always easy to do.

So how do you ensure that infertility doesn’t destroy your relationships? Here are our tips:

  • Set aside time with your spouse to do something fun, and make a rule that you aren’t allowed to discuss anything having to do with infertility the entire time. Maybe you go out for a nice dinner, take a bike ride, do a little window shopping – anything that you’d both enjoy will be a nice break from the daily struggles you’re facing.
  • On that same note, try to reintroduce a little spontaneity into your love life. Having sex when the calendar (or ovulation kit) says to is fine, but make sure that’s not the only time you and your spouse are enjoying a little romance.
  • Plan activities with your friends that aren’t conducive to baby talk. See a movie and then talk about the plot afterwards. Or go to a cooking class where the conversation will revolve around the right amount of garlic to use. Or take an exercise class that will have you both huffing and puffing afterward. Planning events that create their own conversation topics can keep you from having to discuss your infertility issues and can keep your friend from discussing her children.
  • Cut yourself some slack when it comes to attending events for your friends’ kids. Make sure they know that under normal circumstances, you’d love to attend little Susie’s first birthday party, but right now, it’s just too difficult for you. The more open you are with your friends, the more likely they are to understand.

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