Jun 28, 2022 | By Kacie Shrock, Registered Fertility Nurse
This blog is part-two to World Infertility Awareness Month: How To Support Your Partner while Navigating Fertility Struggles. In the first blog, we discussed how to support your partner when they are the patient during fertility struggles. Next we are going to discuss how to support your partner - the significant other, while you are the patient, or the one receiving treatment.
World Infertility Awareness Month is celebrated every June starting on June 1st and is meant to increase awareness around fertility struggles faced by couples across the world. This World Infertility Awareness Month was created to help more people understand the medical condition in hopes that it will lead them to find appropriate diagnoses and treatment.
Is Infertility Common?
As we learned from part-one, Infertility is a term used to describe couples who have not been able to conceive after having unprotected sex for one year (12 months). Most fertility providers will start to see patients over the age of 35 who have been trying for 6 months with no success.
Per the CDC, in the United States, among heterosexual women aged 15 to 49 years with no prior births, about 1 in 5 (19%) are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying (infertility). Infertility is not biased and can affect anyone and any couple. It also does not only affect women, but men as well.
How To Support Your Partner (The S.O.) while Navigating Fertility Struggles
When navigating through fertility struggles, it is all too easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated with situations far beyond the control of you and your partner. You will likely have ongoing visits to a doctor or specialist depending on your fertility diagnosis and treatment plan which can impact your daily life and pile additional stress onto the situation. You may also experience stress or pressure placed on you to conceive and carry a healthy baby, so it is very important that you are reaching out and receiving the support you need throughout this journey – whether that be from your partner, family, friends or even fertility support groups.
It is also essential to remember that your partner may be going through fertility testing and treatments as well and may also need support in navigating various appointments. Partners may not always show it, but they too may be feeling overwhelmed and discouraged on this journey. They may not always understand exactly what is going on, especially with your menstrual cycle, and may feel a little lost or confused. That’s why it is important to remember that you are navigating and facing these challenges together, as a team. So, how can you support your partner?
Discuss your communication strategies.
We all have different ways of communicating, whether that be direct or indirect, and it’s good to have a communication plan and boundaries set in stone while navigating the journey. Try implementing a weekly (or even daily) check-in to allow the other time to vent and decompress. In times of high stress, it’s best to be on the same page with your partner about communication and support.
Ask them if they are okay.
Acknowledging and validating how someone is feeling can make them feel seen and heard, especially on a journey where they may easily feel pushed aside. It can be very hard for partners to witness the physical struggles of the one they love most knowing there is not much they can control or do to fix it. By simply recognizing your partner and asking “How are you doing today?” opens the space for them to be vulnerable with you.
Give them space if needed.
This goes for the both of you. If you/they are feeling overwhelmed in the moment, having a little alone time to think or just relax can be very helpful. Having a little alone time is nothing you or your partner should take personally, it just gives you both time to gather your thoughts and move forward. It is also absolutely okay to take a break when needed, even if it just means taking the night off to go on a date or spending the day with friends or family.
Ask them to attend appointments with you.
This is a great way to support each other. Having them present not only physically supports you, but this allows them to feel like they are involved and aware of each step throughout this journey. This also allows them to learn so much about what you’re going through so they can better support you in other ways as well. As mentioned above, your partner may also have a few appointments to attend, whether that is for a sperm analysis or blood work, and your physical support will also be much appreciated to them.
Although this month is World Infertility Awareness Month, fertility struggles affect many women and couples across the globe everyday. If you are struggling with infertility or fertility issues, please know that you are not alone.
We here at Premom are always here for you. If you have any questions, you can always find us over on Ask An Expert or you can book a virtual consultation with one of our Premom Providers.