We’re Infertile, Have We Met?
Now that you have the tools to craft your response to the 3 word game changing question, anyone living with infertility must answer, you are well on your way to defining your journey. But, if you have a partner, with whom you plan to build your family, the work doesn’t stop there. Time to focus on your partner.
Although you may brush your teeth next to them, share inside jokes, saddle them with the chores you hate, and love them with all of your heart, in the context of your fertility journey, you must ask: who is he or she? Yes, you may have been together for years and you may think you know what makes them tick, but an infertile reality can take you two to places you have never been.
The point is to define a journey that is a faithful reflection of who you are as a couple.
You may think you know the answers to these questions. I’m asking you to put that aside. Do the work to understand where your partner is coming from. What relationship couldn’t benefit from good old fashioned, common sense communication…especially at a time like this?
Here are some examples of questions for your partner to get the ball rolling:
1) How Do You Truly Feel About Having a Family?
Clearly, if you are making a concerted effort to get pregnant, there’s a decent shot your partner is down with the whole kid thing. Toss “duh” out the window though and take a minute to ask how they really feel about it. Is their heart set on having a soccer team of their own? Could they be just as happy with a family consisting of the two of you? Knowing exactly how they feel and understanding how that meshes with who you are, is critical to defining a journey that represents you both.
2) What’s Really Going Through Your Mind About Our Infertility?
Is this a terrifying affliction with no cure, or is he/she approaching this as an issue that will be addressed incrementally and can eventually be overcome? They may be feeling like a failure or inundated with insecurity. For better or worse, your partner’s attitudes toward this reality in your life will shape your experience. This is your chance to tune in and understand the truth about where they are coming from.
3) How Is the Stress Effecting You?
You may have seen how they react at tax time, or seen them calling someone out for cutting in line, but as you should know by now, infertility stress is not the same. The demons that torture us in this area know the most underhanded, happiness torching tricks out there. Pay attention. You may find that their threshold for pain or disappointment in this area is quite different from yours. Ask how you can do your part to offer them the support they need.
4) What Treatment Options Are You Open to Exploring?
You may know that your partner is open to the idea of IUI or IVF, but where do they stand on using eggs, sperm, or embryos that are not your own? You may just be starting your fertility journey, but approach this subject now. It may be frightening and uncomfortable. You may not like their answers. You may find that you are on the same page. You won’t know for sure until you ask.
5) Where Is Your Finish Line?
You may be ready to run your ovaries until your very last follicle is screaming for mercy. Is your partner? This particular issue may be a moving target, perhaps driven by money, or the misery of repeated disappointment. It may be hard for your partner to predict with any degree of certainty when they want to call it quits, but don’t use uncertainty as an excuse. You’ve had to ask yourself this question, and so must they.
Don’t be lazy. Take nothing for granted. Talk to your partner.
A one man (or woman) band routine may have it’s charms, but in a partnership, at some point, it’s a little pathetic. Whether you are afraid of what you partner may say, or not say, you must put your “big person pants on.” Get the truth. It’s going to rear it’s head eventually. You may find that you and your partner are at odds on a particular topic. You may find that you are two peas in a perfectly aligned pod. The journey has enough uncertainty. Quit wondering. Just ask!
Defining a journey that reflects and honors both of you is the key to a rock solid foundation upon which to build the family of your dreams. Keep your heart and mind open to your partner’s unique perspective. The love and respect you show them by asking for their perspective can go a long way to forging the bonds that can withstand whatever your journey has in store.
What is the most important thing you have learned about your partner on this journey?
Tell me all about it in a comment below.
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© 2014 From Maybe to Baby