by Meslissa Estes, LPC, LMFT
It is important to have a strong relationship throughout the infertility process. It can be difficult to deal with infertility during the holidays while staying tuned in to your partner’s needs, which is why it’s important to set aside time to communicate with your partner to share these feelings and work through the sadness, grief or stress related to infertility. Now more than ever, you need each other’s comfort and support through these difficult moments.
Navigating Infertility Conversations
Set limits on conversations related to attempting conception or fertility treatment. This helps contain the potentially powerful emotions that may surround the issues. Some strategies for limiting serious talks include:
Limit Infertility Conversations to 30 Minutes
This may mean just tackling a part of the topic, or concentrating on how one or both partners are affected, rather than going over the same issue or discussion point. Agree on a time limit for the conversation. Keep in mind that there may be moments where the conversation has to be extended based on the circumstance. If you keep to a time limit, you’ll be able to focus your attention on exploring that emotion or circumstance without letting yourself get distracted by other thoughts.
Take an Infertility Break
Take “mental breaks” from talking about infertility during the week. Limit conversations to one place or to particular times of the day, and set the scene for an effective discussion. It is important that it takes place at a time when you both have enough emotional resources and there are not other stressors competing for your attention such as work, other people, watching TV, or phone calls.
Use “I” not “You” to Communicate Infertility Feelings
During conversations, do not blame your partner. To avoid any sense of blame, use “I” messages with your partner. The process goes like this: When I have to do A in situation B, I feel C. For example, “When I have to attend medical appointments by myself, I feel scared and alone.” Avoid saying “you always” and “you never” in order to keep your statement focused on the immediate event. The use of “you” statements make a person feel attacked, which may lead to feeling on the defensive and hinder the conversation.
The Aspire Fertility teams in Houston and Dallas are here to help strengthen your infertility communication. Contact us with any questions about infertility or if you need support–we’re happy to support you throughout this journey.