For some couples, fertility can be a long and complicated process. While there are multiple methods to help increase fertility and the chances of conception, they’re not 100 percent effective. So, a couple could go through different processes and still face an uphill battle. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of these challenges is a sense of loss or grief in one or both of the individuals.
When fertility-related grief occurs, it’s imperative to be as supportive of your partner as possible. The best way to work through this grief is together, as it will help both of you heal and can improve your relationship. So, let’s look at some of the top tips for supporting your partner when fertility-related grief sets in.
What is Fertility-Related Grief?
Infertility can affect both men and women for different reasons. Some of the most common reasons for infertility can include diet, lifestyle, genetics, and more. Some of these circumstances are within one’s control, while some of them are not.
Typically, fertility grief begins when someone learns that they’re infertile, especially if they learn that they can’t control the situation. Grief can manifest as a form of helplessness, making the individual feel like they’re incapable of making a baby
Grief can also be exacerbated if a couple tries to conceive with assistance (such as in-vitro fertilization) and still doesn’t get the results they want. The more they try and don’t conceive, the more intense the grief can build.
What’s also important to note is that fertility grief may never go away. While a successful conception can help minimize its effects, the grief can still linger in the mind long after the initial news.
Overall, fertility grief is a complex issue that affects everyone differently. There are no universal warning signs, although some common traits of this grief can be depression, lethargy, and a significant change in one’s attitude. Also, while someone may show improvement for a while, they may relapse into different conditions, so you must be open-minded about the process.
Finally, it’s helpful to realize that grief is not a problem that needs to be “fixed,” nor can it be. Instead, fertility grief is a complicated set of emotions that can ebb and flow, depending on the circumstances.
So, when it comes to being supportive, it’s crucial to understand that the goal isn’t to help your partner reach a specific destination or state of mind. Instead, it’s to be there emotionally to help them work through the grief and learn to live with it.
How to Help Your Partner When They’re Dealing With Fertility-Related Grief
Because fertility grief affects everyone uniquely, it can be challenging to determine the best way to show your support. Nonetheless, here are some top tips to help your partner during this trying time.
Validate Their Emotions
Infertility is a big deal for a lot of people, and it’s impossible to know exactly how they feel about it. It’s important to show your partner that they can express themselves freely without worry of judgment or condemnation. Their feelings are authentic and justified, so it’s critical to validate them by showing that you respect them.
Don’t Compare to Others
Everyone’s fertility journey is deeply personal, so it can seem callous to compare your partner’s experiences with someone else’s. Even if someone you know went through a similar problem, there are likely other factors at play you’re not aware of. While your goal may be to help put things into perspective, it can make your partner feel like they’re not as good as the other person or not as worthy of your support.
Validate Their Actions
If your partner gets depressed because of fertility grief, they may become distant and withdrawn. Over time, this depression may manifest in different ways, and it can be challenging to support your partner through an extended period. However, minimizing their condition or trying to help them “feel better” can actually make the situation worse.
Typically, the more you try to make someone happy, the more you invalidate their feelings and actions. After a while, they’ll feel like they can’t be open and honest with you, so they’ll just bury their feelings.
Acknowledge Positive Steps, Even Small Ones
Grief can be a heavy burden to carry, and everyone has to learn to do it on their own. Again, while your partner may seem better for a while, they could relapse and experience depression or other symptoms later on.
So, it’s best to recognize any positive steps and understand that backsliding can happen. If your partner gets worse after improving, that doesn’t mean they’re a failure. It could be a result of different circumstances, so it’s best not to assume anything.
Instead, let them know how you notice they’re improving and how much you’re there for them. These reminders can help make your partner feel valued, which can lead to greater improvements.
Take Care of Your Fertility Needs With Viera Fertility Center
Infertility is a complex problem that doesn’t have a single solution. Fortunately, Viera Fertility Center in Melbourne, FL, is here to help you and your partner during this trying time. We can walk you through different infertility treatments, as well as provide recommendations for counseling or therapy as needed. Contact us today to discuss your situation and we’ll be there for you.