Making a human and building a family can be a pretty exciting time, but it can also be pretty hard. It's not like you have sex once and, poof, you get pregnant. Well, for some it is. But for most of humankind, trying to get pregnant can be a long, stressful, and oftentimes frustrating process for both partners in a relationship. Trying to conceive can really take a toll on a person and a couple. If you're going through this, you might be seeking advice on how to keep your relationship strong when trying to conceive.
According to Web MD, the odds that a woman will actually get pregnant in a month are about 15 to 25 percent. In your 30s, Baby Center noted that the likeliness of conception drops to 10 to 15 percent. (This is, of course, assuming both partners are fertile and that there are no reproductive issues present.) So, if the stats are true, then even when there aren't any obvious reproductive challenges or fertility obstacles present, having a baby isn't exactly easy.
But just because you're facing a conception challenge doesn't mean your relationship has to fall apart. Here are seven ways to keep your relationship strong when trying to expand your family.
1. Openly Discuss The Facts And Options
It's important to talk openly and honestly about these facts with your partner as you navigate the baby making journey. The aforementioned Baby Center article advised couples to talk about the woman's ovulation and menstrual cycle. But it's also important to talk about both of your not-so-great and possibly unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Additionally, if there are possible reproductive or fertility issues that crop up while trying to conceive, the National Infertility Association advised that you have an honest discussion with your partner about your conception options. Talking about the facts and discussing the possible outcomes is a good way to stay connected to your partner and on the same page when you're trying to conceive.
2. Keep Having Spontaneous Sex
Sex for purposes of making a human can feel like all work and no play. The Healthy Women website suggested that couples bring spontaneity back into sex. That means having reckless, rip off your clothes type sex (or whatever turns you on), without the intention of it resulting in a baby. Don't talk about fertility before, during, or after sex. Having sex for just intimacy will help you stay connected and bonded.
3. Plan Fertility-Free Dates
When you're in the thick of trying to conceive, or TTC as the internet acronym goes, it can be completely overwhelming and quite literally take over your whole relationship. Jennifer Palumbo, director of patient care at New York-based fertility service Progyny, experienced fertility issues firsthand knows how hard it can be to keep the romance alive.
"Whether it's 'Don't have wine at dinner, it may affect your sperm count' or 'We have to have sex now because I'm ovulating,' infertility is not known for being sexy or fun," Palumbo tells Romper. She says that's why her and her husband set aside "non reproductive time" to talk about other great things going on in their lives: their jobs, hobbies, vacation plans, or even TV shows. "It’s vital catch up as a couple and have quality dates like when we were courting."
4. Do Something Fun (And Physical) Together
"I remember all too well that the years we were going through treatment, fun was in short supply," Palumbo says, noting it felt like they were just enduring their lives, not enjoying. One night she and her husband went and played dodge ball with other adults and she found it really helped.
"To laugh, be carefree and just plain old silly was such a great stress reliever and distractor from hormone shots," Palumbo says. "Fun is a true investment in your relationship and your sanity."
5. See A Couples Counselor
Some people freak out when you mention the word counseling, because of the implied doom. But Palumbo says it's she found it to be an objective party that can help you get through infertility in the most healthy, communicative, and productive way.
"For my husband and me, we both dealt with the stress of not getting pregnant differently and we saw, over time, that we were retreating to our own separate worlds and not supporting each other as best we could," Palumbo says. They started seeing a counselor together and it became a safe place to share their true feelings and problem solve together.
6. Respect Each Other's Differences
Everyone deals with stressful situations differently. The Healthy Women's website added that just because one partner might not cry or talk about struggles with conception for hours, doesn't mean they're not hurting. It's important to honor each other's way of coping and not harshly judge each other as that will likely add another layer of stress and possibly weaken the relationship.
7. Take A Break From Trying To Get Pregnant
Sometimes the only way to cope, focus on the relationship, and concentrate on being a couple again, is to take a break from trying to conceive. Taking a break might be a de-stressor and give you a chance to bring your attention and focus to something you really love, according to The Bump. The same site also noted that if it stresses you out even more to take a break, then by all means, keep at it.
Trying to conceive is about having a baby, connecting with your partner, and building a family. However you finally do or don't do it is completely unique to your own experience. The way you want to conceive might not be available to you and your partner and that can be frustrating and stressful. It might even put a strain on your relationship. But if you take steps to be strongly connected with your partner along the way, you'll both be able to deal with whatever is in your reproductive future as a united front and together.