Declare War on Infertility - Not on Your Partner

Infertility takes a toll on the individual, but it also takes a toll on couples. It’s the rare couple that gets through this journey without arguments about what to do next, when to start and when to stop infertility treatments. This area is totally outside of my league, but having been the uncomfortable witness to too many couples’ relationship meltdowns in the IVF clinic, it’s obvious that most people need some resources to help them get through this difficult time.

I  want to let you know about the article “When Couples Disagree“, written for Resolve by Jan Elman Stout, PsyD. She has some down to earth ideas for new ways to think about disagreements that may help forge the way out of the impasse with your partner. In the midst of the infertility battle, it is easy to lash out at your partner.

CNN has an on-line conversation between Marc Sedaka and Jeff Angeli, men in various stages of the infertility struggle. They talk about how infertility challenged their relationships with their wives. Marc Sedaka (and his wife) are veterans of 16 inseminations, 10 IVFs and a GIFT, and finally gestational surrogacy and now they have three children, twin girls (via surrogate) and their youngest, a son, without any intervention.

Sedaka, a TV and film comedy writer, recently published “What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting: How to Support Your Wife, Save Your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility!”I haven’t read the book but anything about infertility from the male perspective is relatively rare so it’s worth noting, simply by virtue of being unusual. Since most medical intervention seems focused on solving female problems, men can feel ignored and are more prone to emotionally “dropping out” of what should ideally be a joint venture. Men talking about infertility may help men who feel left behind get re-engaged in the process.  Jeff Angeli shares his perspective as someone who is currently in the trenches fighting infertility. I thought both the interview and the written excerpts were thought provoking and might be a place to start a conversation with your partner if communication has stalled. Just don’t read the comments at the bottom. People just shouldn’t say anything at all if they can’t say anything kind.

I recently found an infertility blog on Fertility Authority’s site written by Alec- “twitter name- Infertility Guy“, which makes him a rare enough bird that I thought you should know about him. He has an easygoing writing style which I think you’ll like. He is funny without trying too hard which is also refreshing. Check him out.

My Dad only ever gave me one piece of marital advice but I think it’s pretty good so I’ll pass that along too, “Just keep talking. Marriage is one long conversation”.

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