There Was a “We” Before There Was Three
First comes love, then comes marriage (maybe), then comes baby in the baby carriage? For those of us on the path to parenthood, the last part of this mildly annoying nursery rhyme can seem way more challenging than finding love or getting married (or whatever flavor your partnership is) ever was. But, the reality is that once you are trying for “Three,” the “We” can get tragically lost in the mix.
The simpler, more easy going “We” can get buried under a romance freezing avalanche of:
- endless doctor’s appointments
- invasive tests
- stacks of sessions with acupuncturists and healers
- mind numbing (but well meaning) questions from friends and family
- rigorous injection and medication schedules
- constraints from “fertility diets“
- mojo sapping strategically planned “sexy time”
- quickly dwindling bank accounts
- the sometimes sucky side effects of the fertility drug cocktails our bodies imbibe, AND
- (worst of all) the passion killing undercurrent of anxiety that comes along with wondering if “this is gonna be the month.”
If you look closely, the fertility journey isn’t just some side project, it quickly becomes a way of life, and can get out of hand fast.
When your dream of getting pregnant has you thinking of your partner (even for a minute) as if they were a genetic material donating cog in the wheel of your baby making machine, it’s time to take a giant step back and re-prioritize. You may be thinking, “What the heck is she talking about? My relationship is fine.” Well, I dare you to take an honest look at the state of your relationship.
Protect your relationship from being fertility journey roadkill, by asking yourself these questions:
1) When Was The Last Time I Said, “Thank You?”
I don’t mean “thank you for passing the salt.” Far too often we get complacent in thinking that our partners are just “supposed to” be there. If you have made or are making that mistake right now, correct it. Take a minute to stop what you are doing. Look your partner in the eye. Thank them for a specific kind or tender thing they have done for you along this journey.
It can be something as simple as, “thank you for taking the time off work to come with me to ______appointment.” Yes, most likely your partner isn’t even going to flinch at the idea of taking time off of work to be there with you, BUT acknowledge the personal sacrifice they are making–they might have had to reschedule meetings, pull strings, or fall a little behind to be there with you. Show authentic gratitude!
2) When Was The Last Time I Asked, “How Are YOU?”
Let’s face it, since the ladies carry the babies, we are the ones who 9 times out of 10 are the center of attention. It’s our bodies getting poked, prodded, sonogrammed, medicated, and stir-upped. So, it’s easy to forget that although our partners may not be on the receiving end of all the hub-bub, they are feeling this journey too. May seem like a big “DUH,” but when was the last time you really tuned into what your partner was going though? It may seem like it’s all about you, but if you want your relationship to survive the fertility journey without sustaining some serious body blows, you will wise up and realize it’s about WE, not ME.
3) When Was The Last Time We Made Time For Us?
As I said earlier, trying to conceive (TTC) easily becomes a lifestyle. It fiendishly takes over your calendar, can take over your thoughts, and if you are in treatment, can quickly drain your bank account. That being said, now more than ever, you MUST carve out time to just connect as a couple.
Whether that is a date night, a weekend getaway, or some simple snuggle time on the couch, you must find a way to stay connected to your partner. The stress that comes along with TTC can make us one dimensional and myopic. This spells disaster for the health of our relationship. Taking time to just BE TOGETHER is as important as following your treatment protocol and making your appointments. It may seem that you are inseparable during this time, but that is no substitute for really connecting.
4) Can I Have A Conversation Without Mentioning TTC?
Remember when you and your partner had long, interesting, intelligent conversations that had nothing to do with fertility treatment and babies? I hope it wasn’t that long ago. Far too many people get on the baby-talkin’ crazy train. There has to be a point when you AND your partner deserve a rest. Learn to shut it off. Indeed, when you are anxious and excited about being parents, it’s all you want to talk about, but it is far too easy to let “conversations” get out of control. Instead of being productive, they can turn into fear spirals and agonizing pressure. Don’t do it. Have a limit. For your sanity and that of your partner, know when to change the subject.
Don’t Forget Why There is a “We”
The emotional roller coaster that is often the hallmark of the fertility journey is not the time to let up on the gas when it comes to caring for your relationship. I get it. It’s tough to balance your relationship, your career, friends and family, along with the business of trying to have a baby. You must remember however, that your relationship with your partner is the foundation upon which you build your family. You fell in love and built something that makes your heart sing. Honor what you have now. When your baby comes, your life together will be that much more glorious.
I would love to hear about what you do to protect your relationship while on your fertility journey! Tell the FMTB community all about it in the comments below. We’re listening!
© From Maybe To Baby 2014