I have years of trying to conceive experience. I'm definitely not one of those fertile Myrtles who gets pregnant if her partner so much as blinks at her uterus. Conception for me requires coaxing, medication, and all the sex. My husband was great, but how involved should your partner be in trying to conceive? I know it's supposed to be a team effort, but sometimes, it can feel like because it happens inside only one partner, it all falls on her. But should that be the case? Ideally, shouldn't your partner care as much about making a baby as you do?
Trying to conceive is stressful. Studies have shown that only one in five couples will get pregnant in the first month of trying to conceive, noted Parents. That means you're likely in it to win it for at least a few months. It can be as easy as having all the sex for a few months, or you may be, like I was, looking at months of medical intervention, chart tracking, and strange dinner chat. "Hey babe, I read this thing about what I should do with my penis when . . ."
I spoke with couples counselor Jennifer Marshall about how couples can find the sweet spot between being involved and overwhelming your partner with talks of semen and pH-balanced lube. Like, should you maybe table the cervical mucus talk for after dinner, or is it OK to discuss over the cheese course? How involved should your partner be in trying to conceive?
Marshall tells Romper that your partner should be just as engaged as you are, but the level to which they get down to the nitty gritty of it depends on the couple. However, she says, "you're trying to create a tiny creature who will inevitably poop on one or both of you, pee everywhere, puke everywhere, and will eventually hit puberty. So a little talk about your period or hormones now shouldn't be a big deal." According to Marshall, your partner should be 100 percent invested in the process though, even if you don't discuss the viscosity of your vaginal discharge or your basal body temperature. They should be lock-step with you in your desire to have a baby, and fully committed to making it happen. Marshall tells Romper that they should also be emotionally supportive, willing to talk, and go to doctor's appointments if need be. They also shouldn't balk at your concerns. If you're stressed out, they need to recognize that stress, and work with you on ways you can mitigate it.
"The old phrase 'it takes two to tango' doesn't go far enough when it comes to the added stresses of growing your family. It also takes two to relax, two to support, and two to show up," Marshall says. I will admit that my husband was sometimes better at this than I was. I tend to shut down when I'm really stressed, and he would do what he could to lighten the situation, like coming home in his full, scary uniform (cuffs, gun, kevlar, and all) and shout something like "Hold that thought." Before I said a single thing, he would say, "I'm going to shower, and then we're going to do this position I saw on YouTube. I'm glad you're flexible." It was a great way to shatter my malaise. For her part, Marshall says that in most couples, someone will probably act as the buffer, and that it's important to find your roles in this journey. She also tells Romper that those roles may shift and change as the process continues and as you eventually become parents.
I've noticed that this couldn't be more true. My husband is a self-proclaimed tiger dad. I'm more of the "why do they even have this much homework?" mother. However, it was his ability to read me that made trying to conceive bearable. Most of the men's websites out there are focused on amping up your sperm count, or getting it past the goalie. But that's not all getting pregnant is about, and Marshall says the most important thing to remember is that you need to tell your partner what you need. When it comes to how involved your partner should be in trying to conceive, you should voice your concerns and make sure you're being heard, and on the same page. All of this stress is just the prelude to the realness of parenthood, and it's good practice for the future.