The fertility journey looks different for every couple. Some couples become pregnant after their first try, while others have a more challenging road ahead of them. Compound physical fertility struggles with outside stresses like dealing with the repercussions of COVID-19 and the fertility journey can become very challenging.
If you are part of a couple who is trying to become pregnant, and the path has not been as rosy as you would like it to be, it is normal for the woman to feel emotional. Her desire to become a mother can become overwhelming when the dream is not becoming a reality. And although we know that the path to pregnancy is due to both male and female contributions, women often ultimately feel responsible when she does not see those two pink lines.
Women can feel helpless and distraught if a couple is struggling to become pregnant, and in some cases, chooses to keep the struggles to herself. As her partner on the journey, you may be her rock and the person she is leaning onto for support.
Here are six things you can do to support your female partner on the fertility journey.
- Assure her that it is nobody’s fault.
Whether the struggles are stemming from a diagnosed male-factor fertility issue, a female-factor fertility issue, or unexplained infertility, it is natural to want to place blame. Even if a health care provider can pinpoint the cause of the fertility struggle to be female-factor, she needs to understand that this does not make the fertility challenge her fault. Yes, it is a hurdle, but she should not feel blame. She did not do anything to cause this to happen. Make sure she understands that you do not blame her, and these challenges are for both of you to undertake together as a team.
- Plan a baby-free trip.
This is undoubtedly a short-term solution, but vacations can be something for her to focus her attention on that is positive and fun. It may be a welcomed distraction for both of you and may give you some time to relax and connect. Even just planning a vacation for the future can be a fun activity for you to do as a couple, even if you can’t travel in the immediate future (thanks a lot, Coronavirus).
- Make sure your fertility is not contributing to the challenge.
Many couples assume that fertility challenges are a female issue when, in fact, many couples struggle due to a male-factor like low motile sperm count. You can make sure you are not contributing to the issue by taking a simple YO Home Sperm Test. This test can be performed in the privacy of your home and does not require a doctor’s visit. This quick and non-invasive test can take some of the pressure off of the female by having a better idea of how healthy your sperm is and whether it may be a contributing factor. It will show her you are willing to take responsibility for the first steps.
- Make sure she is eating to support her fertility
We are not suggesting that you watch her like a hawk and treat her like she is your child (did you eat your veggies, sweetie?). But supporting efforts to eat to support fertility may help her find success on the journey, or at the very least, help her feel well and healthy. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts are fertility-fueling foods that have been shown to support female fertility parameters in many clinical trials. If it is your turn to cook dinner, opt for a fish and veggie dish instead of a greasy cheeseburger and fries. It may help her with her goals in the long run.
On another note, both of you should be avoiding tobacco and marijuana. If you are partaking and she is not, don’t do it around her and expose her to your secondhand smoke. It won’t help matters and actually may make the situation worse.
- Give her reasons why you care about her
You did not choose your lady as your partner just because of her ability to carry a baby. Remind her why you love being with her, baby or not. Maybe she makes you laugh. Perhaps she makes you feel good. Whatever the reason, remind her that even though she is not pregnant yet, that little detail is not playing a role in how you feel about her. Tell her how proud you are of her for how she is handling the challenge. It takes a lot of courage to continue to try and conceive after not finding success.
- Don’t try and fix it
Let her be sad. If she wants to cry on your shoulder, don’t try and find solutions to make her stop crying. Sometimes, it feels really good just to let it out. Just reassure her that you are there for her and that you love her, but don’t try and find solutions and tell her that it isn’t that bad. And please don’t make false promises by telling her that she will become pregnant. Unless you know for a fact that to be the case, don’t tell her things just to make her feel better if it may not be true.
The common theme is to be there for her and be her support. You can’t make the problem go away, and you can’t make her not be upset about not being pregnant. But you can make her feel supported and help her feel less lonely during this uncertain time.