It’s no secret that going through infertility treatment can be stressful for a couple. That being said, there are a lot of things that you can do to make the process a little easier on your wife or partner:
Don’t Place Blame
Even if the reason that you are having difficulty conceiving is due to a problem she is having, don’t EVER say that to her, even in anger. She is likely already feeling extra sensitive and guilty about being the cause of the problem and she doesn’t need that confirmed from you. Instead, refer to it as “our problem” and share her burden.
Be Sensitive to Her Insecurities
It can be very hard for a woman going through infertility treatment to be around babies or pregnant women. Now is not the time to pressure her to attend your cousin’s baby shower or visit a family resort. This can leave her feeling resentful toward you or other family/friends. Even holiday dinners or family get-togethers can be difficult in certain situations. Be sensitive and understanding of that and suggest something you can do together instead. She’ll appreciate not being pressured.
Go to the doctor with her whenever possible, even those daily morning monitoring appointments. Even if she doesn’t need you there, she’ll appreciate your presence and support. Learn about the treatment and medication she’ll be taking. Since most of the treatments require nightly injections, attend the training sessions and make sure that you understand how to do them. When she freaks out later about the first injection, calmly talk her through it or offer to help. Don’t let her feel like she’s going through everything alone.
Plan Romantic Time
Fertility treatments can be expensive and invasive, leading many couples to fall into the trap of forced intimacy (only having sex when ovulating or when the doctor says, etc…). That’s all the more reason to focus on your romantic relationship. Plan a special date night or a relaxing trip to the spa for the two of you. Finding ways to boost intimacy and spontaneity is crucial to supporting your marriage and your wife.
Watch for Signs of Depression
Depression is extremely common in women going through infertility. Symptoms include loss of appetite, insomnia, excessive sleeping and eating, and feelings of hopelessness and sadness. If you observe any of these signs or are concerned that your wife is becoming depressed, take action. Talk to her or to your infertility specialist. Most offices employ a reproductive psychologist who can intervene and assess her for serious depression. They can also make referrals for ongoing care if necessary.
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. Listen to her concerns and fears and let her vent her frustrations. Try not to take it personally if she gets angry or frustrated and let her feel heard. Sometimes that’s all she needs to feel supported and loved. Ask her what else you can do to help her - you might be surprised by her answer!