The news has just come back from the fertility treatment center. One of you is infertile, making it that much harder to start the family you were both hoping for.
It doesn’t matter how you define yourself or your relationship (gay, straight, trans), the news from your consultation can cause a great deal of damage to your relationship. You may even be tempted to point fingers to pin the blame for infertility on your partner.
Yet, does that really solve anything? Of course not.
To avoid the blame game, it’s essential that you're aware of these do’s and don’ts.
DON'T Make Comparisons
When seeking blame for infertility, it’s tempting to compare how difficult each of you has it. For example, taking score of who had to do the most tests or take the most shots.
The intention of this type of behavior is called one-upmanship. That is, attempting to take the lead in whose situation is the hardest.
What this creates, though, is only bitterness and resentment towards each other. Right at the moment when you both need compassion, caring, and kindness from one another, you both get the opposite. That, in no way, is advantageous to either of you.
DO Listen to One Another
Listening to one another is very important when coping with infertility. The process brings up a lot of emotions, especially when you both find out that one of you is infertile.
You want to have a baby of your own, but you also know your partner. They may have a tendency to be the silent type and aren't the best at communicating how they feel.
What can help is encouraging one another to talk and to listen to what each one of you has to say. Otherwise, those emotions and feelings will build up over time and just cause more problems for your relationship.
DON'T Lash Out at Each Other
Couples often lash out at each other when looking to find blame for infertility. Finding out that one of you is infertile brings up a lot of intense emotions in the moment.
Perhaps the greatest of them is disappointment and the feeling of loss. After all, your dream to have the family that you always wanted has just been derailed by this devastating news.
It’s tempting to focus all of that energy on your partner and to verbally lash out at one another. Yet, that still won’t change the reality of the situation. Plus, you have now both caused more pain that will need to be healed.
DO Have Compassion for Your Partner
If there was any moment when your partner could use your love and compassion, this is it. They wanted this just as much as you. And they probably already blame themselves for their infertility.
However, this doesn’t make sense, as there was nothing more they could have done to improve the situation. It is simply a matter of biology and physiology, not desire.
This a moment when you reach out to your partner and hold them, not push them away.
DON'T Isolate Yourselves from One Another
When partners find out the news of infertility, they may distance themselves from one another in isolation. Maybe it’s because the blame for infertility is so great that they can’t stand to be near their partner. Or one partner is so overwhelmed by grief that they cannot bear to interact with anyone.
However, isolation only amplifies negative feelings—including blame and sadness—and doesn’t really solve anything.
If you find yourself wanting to put the blame for infertility on your partner, take a moment to pause. This is certainly a test of your relationship. Consider your actions and how they could not only affect you and your partner but also the relationship that you have built together.
Learn more about how I can help you with the complex issues of fertility and family building by clicking on the link.