Today we have a guest post from Erin Romans. Erin is a full-time working mom, wife to Mike, and mom to two adoptive children. She and her husband are also licensed foster parents in rural North Dakota. She has a passion for adoption, orphans, and for helping those who are living with silent battle of infertility. Before returning to corporate work, Erin was a full-time working-from-home mom while she owned and operated her own photography business. She and Mike have adopted both through domestic infant adoption and through the state foster care system.
This post has been reprinted with permission. The original can be found here.
You’ve been trying to get pregnant for almost a year. You’ve read all of the books, taken ovulation tests, spent more money on pregnancy tests then you care to admit and yet you still aren’t pregnant. Why? What happened to just having sex and getting pregnant? It seems to work for millions of other couples and women that aren’t even planning a pregnancy — yet they have sex a few times a month and they see that little plus sign that you are so longing to see. Pretty soon you find yourself downloading apps on your phone to track your cycle, reading more books and interpreting every possible symptom as a possible pregnancy, and month after month you are disappointed. It seems as though it’s a never ending cycle of disappointment and discouragement. After all what happened to just having sex?
How do you handle it when sex becomes a chore? When you have resorted to scheduling your sex life in; when you are planning your girls’ weekends around your cycle; when you miss out on your long-awaited spa weekend; when you ask your husband to skip his annual fishing trip with his buddies because this weekend you KNOW you’re going to see that peak in temperature or get a positive ovulation test. You may have thought to yourself, at what point did my marriage come to this? You’re tired of hearing “Relax! It will happen!” But when? When will it happen?
When you begin doctoring for infertility, you are putting what is already a very personal part of your relationship out in the open. Pretty soon you have doctors, nurses, and interns reading your chart and knowing everything about your hormone levels and your sex life. Modesty is thrown out the window and you feel like your bedroom life is an open book.
So what do you do when sex becomes a chore when you are trying to conceive? How do you handle the stresses of keeping the romance alive, yet making sure that all of the “stars align” and you are intimate at the right times? From someone who has been there, done that, and got the infertility T-Shirt — I’m going to speak from experience.
- Remember to date. Remember what brought you on the journey in the first place…you fell in love and wanted to get married and have children. That didn’t happen overnight. So date! Get dressed up, let yourself get excited and get goosebumps when your spouse walks in the room dressed to the nines!
- Remember, being intimate doesn’t necessarily mean sex. You can still communicate on an intimate level without having sex. Intimacy can be holding hands, lying together watching a movie, talking about how each of you is feeling, writing love letters to each other, or even just being together. Sometimes being intimate without sex is the best type of intimacy! Trying-to-conceive sex can be the worst kind!
- Don’t be afraid to take a break from “trying.” Sometimes you need to throw the calendar away for a month and quit trying. Let yourselves be spontaneous and have fun! If throwing the calendar away is to scary, make it a point to be intimate when you’re not fertile!
- COMMUNICATE!! NEVER QUIT COMMUNICATING! After walking the infertility walk, I can honestly say, I can see how it could ruin a marriage. It is so easy to shut down and quit talking to your spouse. BUT DON’T!! Be open and honest about your feelings without placing blame on each other! Remember you are a team! Break down, cry, email, text, call each other on the phone, but ALWAYS tell the other how you are feeling!
- RELAX!! I’m not saying relax and it will happen; I’m saying let yourself relax. Understand that God’s plans are already in place and believe that! If it is truly God’s plan for you to have children, you will. You will be a parent! Stressing and having anxiety isn’t going to make things any easier.
Ultimately, remember that infertility is a scary journey, but you are walking the path with your spouse. Communicate your feelings and be open and honest with each other. Put your relationship first. When you do that, your relationship remains healthy, and you can enjoy a healthy sex life long after you achieve your goals of parenthood!