Trying to Keep Your Relationship Strong Through Your Infertility Struggles?
Today I would like to introduce someone who has personally helped me in my struggles with infertility. She was there for me with open arms to give a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on when I felt alone and no one else understood the path myself and my husband have been on.
Without my therapist Reina to provide me with the tools I’ve needed to cope with my infertility I don’t know what I would have done.
So, I’m beyond thrilled to welcome Reina who specializes in infertility counselling – helping couples and individuals with the turmoil and upset that infertility brings.
Reina will be talking about the importance of staying unified in your relationship. Simply put – staying strong, together.
Learn more about Reina and how she can help you at the bottom of the post…
–Trying to keep your relationship strong through your infertility struggles? Here's what you need to focus on as a couple. #infertilityawareness #infertility Click To Tweet
How to stay close in your relationship when going through infertility
Infertile couples can face many challenges while trying to have a child. One especially difficult challenge that some couples face is keeping their relationship intact.
Infertility often imposes emotional and psychological stresses on relationships which can lead to discord and separation.
Couples that are able to maintain a high degree of unity in the face of infertility stress are likely to stay together.
Relationships that are unified have the following characteristics:
- Relationship stability
- Complementary coping strategies
- Personal and social connections
- Balanced identities
When these characteristics are absent in a relationship, couples often have difficulty coping with infertility and their relationship might be at risk.
Where Does Infertility Counselling Fit In?
Counselling can help to identify and reaffirm the above characteristics in a like-minded, strong relationship and build upon them so that couples emerge even stronger after their infertility.
When a relationship is at risk, counselling identifies strategies for couples to strengthen their relationship and achieve a positive outcome despite their infertility.
Let’s talk more about these key characteristics needed to keep your relationship unified.
Let's talk about the key characteristics needed to keep your relationship strong - during the pain and sadness of #infertility. #infertilityawareness Click To Tweet
1. Keeping your relationship stable.
Relationship stability is imperative for couples living with the challenges of infertility. This includes:
- Making decisions about fertility treatments.
- Deciding how to deal with fears.
- Determining how to get on with your lives while trying to have a child.
You can maintain relationship stability by making a conscious decision to be united against a common enemy — infertility.
Try creating a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere with open communication.
Preserve normalcy by compartmentalizing your issues surrounding infertility. Simply put, divide your feelings into different categories so you can understand them better.
Show empathy in your relationship by actively listening to each other.
2. Implementing Complementary Coping Strategies
The ways in which partners cope with infertility do not need to be the same. They can implement complementary coping strategies that are mutually respectful, and that provide support for each partner equally.
Example: Infertility Coping Strategy for Your Relationship:
- You can use a buddy system where you spend equal amounts of time supporting one other.
- Rely on faith or a sense of spirituality that you already have.
- Collaborate on solution focused problem solving that focuses on the facts of the situation, instead of the rollercoaster emotions associated with infertility.
3. Staying Connected
Infertility can cause you and your spouse to turn away from family, friends, and each other. This makes it even more difficult to cope with infertility.
In your relationship, you must maintain your social connections – and feel connected with each other.
How can you stay connected?
- View yourselves as an established family even though you might not have a child.
- Turn to people you trust to share your stories and challenges.
- Prioritize your relationship by rekindling your love, interest and pleasure you found in each other before your struggles with infertility.
4. Achieving a Balanced identity
The more successful infertile couples find a way to integrate their condition into their identity and do not define themselves solely as being infertile.
Achieve a balanced identity by rejecting the stigma of infertility.
Realize you are a multi-dimensional individual – not just a spouse. You are not purely defined by having infertility. There is much more to you and don’t forget it.
You have varied interests, passions and qualities.
It’s important to differentiate yourself in your relationship and not allowing potential intrusive thoughts to take over.
On a Personal Note:
Maintaining relationship unity is a topic that has been close to my heart for several decades. My husband and I experienced infertility more than 20 years ago, and the challenges to our relationship as a result of infertility were numerous.
We were, over time, able to overcome these challenges, and despite not being able to have a child, our relationship emerged even stronger.
As a fertility counsellor, it’s my personal goal to help individuals and couples stay emotionally healthy as they try to have a baby when it’s not working “the old-fashioned way.”
If you are going through infertility, have you tried counselling to help your relationship stay strong and unified?
If you live in the Toronto area and are looking for a therapist who personally understands how infertility impacts life, I couldn’t recommend Reina enough.
Don’t live locally? Reina also offers counselling services via Skype so reach out to her if you need someone to talk to.
I did and I am that much stronger for it xo
Reina has also experienced infertility in her life so she understands the wide range of feelings that people face when they are having difficulty conceiving or are experiencing pregnancy loss. The counselling that Reina provides can help support couples during this difficult time. Reina also conducts counselling sessions with egg donors, sperm donors, and surrogates. You can connect with Reina on at reinazatylny.ca
Reina Zatylny, MSW, RSW is a registered clinical social worker and family mediator. She is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers, EMDR Canada, and the Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). Ms. Zatylny has a private practice in Toronto and Thornhill, Ontario where she specializes in the treatment of issues involving infertility, anger management, trauma, relationship discord, and abuse. She is also Co-Chair of the Ethics Committee at TRIO Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Toronto. She has developed and conducted seminars for TAPE Educational Services. Her research on couples’ relationships has won numerous awards and has been published internationally.
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If you’re currently undergoing IVF or other fertility treatment, I’d like to share this journal I created with you in mind…
A thoughtful journal and planner for tracking your IVF journey
Record your entire IVF fertility treatment journey and give yourself daily love and support.
This little journal and IVF tracker was designed to help you get through a time in your life you never thought you’d be going through.
The IVF Warrior: Daily Guided Journal has been developed to help you keep track of important IVF treatment details and give you positive daily reminders to look after your overall well-being.
Related Infertility Articles:
- Dear Future Mama. A Note to All Women Who Plan to Conceive
- A Message to Childless, Hopeful Parents
- The Pain of Infertility and 8 Lessons Learned
- The Funny Side of Infertility
- Open Yourself Up to Happiness, Even When You’re Sad