By Beatriz Trigo BSc Psychology
Communication is a key part of being human. It’s how we express our thoughts and feelings and how we understand others. When trying to conceive, couples may have different ways of coping, different opinions about what treatments to try and how long to try for, and different ways of expressing themselves. In this article we talk about relationships when trying to conceive and easy strategies that couples can use to communicate effectively and make challenging decisions together.
People have different coping styles. Some people are more problem-focused and others are more emotion-focused.There may be feelings of grief, depression, anger and frustration. And it may be hard to cope together when dealing with these emotions in different ways.
Even though men and women may express their feelings and cope differently, bothgenders feel loss and that their identity is being challenged.Women seek more social support and try to escape avoidance more than men. And men seem more self-controlled and report feelings less than women. This may be perceived as misunderstanding, not caring, not loving, not accepting the other person, when it is just a different way of coping. Remember that your partner is suffering too and respect his/hers way of coping.
Conversations with partners when trying to conceive, can be quite emotional. This is a challenging journey and your feelings have a certain weight on your opinions and decisions. These emotional conversations can be filled with tears, conflict, anger, blame.
It is important to remember why you started this journey of trying to grow a family with your partner. Recall good qualities each of you has, what has brought you together in the toughest times and use those skills to face this problem together, as a unit.
Not knowing how to reach your partner can hurt both of you, usually backfiringin a cycle of blaming and counter-blaming. It’s important to keep your attention on how to empower and support yourself and each other.
Listen and talk with your partner, give importance to the issues he/she finds important, and enjoy each other’s company. Even if you don’t agree on a certain topic, try to put yourself in his/her position, find ways of being flexibility, showing respect, and share a sense of responsibility together.
A couple is a unity. It must sustain itself to endure the external difficulties and not to attack itself from within. Despite the challenging times, the couple is the strong base that allows for a family to grow.
When communicating, avoid using labels, particularly negative ones, which can be hurtful and untrue. An easy way to avoid labelling is using “I-Messages”, e.g. “I feel A when B happens.” This way, the other person understands what you feel without having the collateral damage of feeling worthless or unworthy or incredibly hurt. Clean communicated messages allow clean solutions.
When trying to conceive, it almost feels like infertility and treatment strip you out of your identity and consume all your life. It is important to allow time during the day for you to experience other things as a couple, like you used to before trying to conceive. A good strategy is to choose a moment and time to talk about it. You may not resolve all your fertility challenges there and then, but it allows you to explore and maybe find solutions to part of the problem. It also helps you feel accomplished and free to enjoy other times of the day as a couple without “fertility talk”.
In conclusion, communicating when trying to conceive can be challenging, but using these strategies above you will be able to express your thoughts and feelings better, will be able to understand your partner and others around you and will be able to find the answer to the most challenging decisions you have to make.
We know how challenging it can be for relationships when trying to conceive. This information is part of the Enhanced Fertility Programme, the evidence based platform that improves your health for fertility.
Psychologist | Researcher | Writer