Anyone who has dealt with infertility knows firsthand how this medical challenge can suck the romance right out of the relationship. It’s an issue I explore in-depth in my novel, INCONCEIVABLE. And it’s not surprising that the relationship suffers because infertility invades the bedroom. What’s supposed to be a low stress, high pleasure experience becomes fraught with expectations, disappointment, and high hopes.
It’s no wonder infertility takes a toll on romantic relationships. Here are seven ways you can reconnect as a couple while still trying to navigate the rocky road to parenthood.
- Find a new, fun activity to do as a couple that doesn’t have an obvious connection to getting pregnant. While you’ll want to avoid anything that’s not compatible with pregnancy–mark wine tasting and horseback riding off your list–be creative in thinking about a new hobby. Find a local art gallery that offers a painting class. Audition for a community theater production together. Brush up on your bowling or mini golf skills, both of which allow you to bring a lighthearted competitive element to the activity. I’m always an advocate of getting outside, so consider fishing or hiking.
- Get fit together. Yep, it’s a great idea to get sweaty. Whether you ride bikes, do yoga, or take an aerobics class with your spouse, you’ll spend time together while getting your body in better shape for a pregnancy. Also, getting all that blood flowing is a great way to stir up a desire to do some “exercise” behind closed doors, whether you’re ovulating or not.
- Create a safe space to discuss the future. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room. Many people going through infertility spend a lot of mental energy thinking about “what happens next” in their journey to parenthood. Thinking through various scenarios used to consume me. Set aside a time when you and your partner can talk about your hopes and fears related to your infertility journey. When you’re tempted to obsess about it, try to hold those thoughts at bay until you can sit down and discuss them with your spouse. It’s more productive because your discussion might lead you to a new path.
- Change the scenery. Before we traveled overseas to adopt our oldest child, we took multiple weekend trips to a small, picturesque town about an hour and a half away from where we lived. It was so incredible to walk the streets of this tiny mountain town, wander through the shops, and try new restaurants. Even if you can’t afford an overnight stay, take a day trip to escape your routine.
- Engage in self care. This can mean getting a couples massage at a spa or giving each other massages. Intentionally taking time to rest and relax will help you both recharge emotionally and physically.
- Enjoy some entertainment away from Netflix. While I’m a huge fan of binge watching your favorite series on Netflix or Amazon, it’s not the most romantic thing you can do. Get out and see a movie in the theater (bonus points if you sit in the back row like you did when you were dating!), visit a comedy club, watch a local theatrical production, or go to your favorite night spot to hear some great music. Going out with your spouse will help take your minds off the pregnancy quest for a few hours, and help you have a stronger connection when you do get back to the challenge ahead of you.
- Take calculated risks together. Let’s be real: you’re already taking one of the biggest risks any human ever takes–trying to become parents so you can raise happy, healthy children. Set that aside for a moment, and think about doing a zipline course or going up in a hot air balloon. These and other somewhat risky activities will require you to set aside your obsessive thoughts about getting pregnant for a few minutes to focus on the task at hand. And what better way to remind yourself of your own strength than to put it to the test with your spouse by your side as you conquer a rock wall?
How do you reconnect with your spouse and rekindle the romance when infertility threatens to overtake your relationship?
Bowling shoes image via Flickr by jasonippolito