When I came out of the meeting my wife seemed to be a little frustrated that I was not demonstrating my gratitude for her waiting and ferrying me around. I was a bit taken a back as in my mind she offered so why was she being so prickly about it – clearly she was in the wrong!
A research study indicates women who experience more marital stress require more fertility intervention than women who experience less marital stress. (Infertility-related stress in men and women predicts treatment outcome 1 year later, Jacky Boivin & Lone Schmidt, Fertility & Sterility, Vol. 83, No. 6, June 2005).
I think the impact to relationships infertility can have is one area that is not really accepted and understood by fertility clinics and those on the fertility journey, until often it is too late. In working with women and couple I find that this is an area that often could benefit with some attention.
On our journey, like most men, I wasn’t in tune with my feelings – I was stuck in my thinking. This created a barrier between us as my wife didn’t feel emotionally connected and together on the journey. Yes I was supportive, and we discussed and agreed each step but I was unconsciously withholding my inner most feelings. Looking back I can see this was for two reasons.
One was that I just wasn’t in tune with my feelings generally, even before our journey started. I came to realise this was due to feelings from the past/childhood that I perhaps wanted to bury.
Secondly I thought I had to be the ‘strong one’. I thought by sharing my feelings of anger, grief and pain would be adding to my wife’s when actually it was the opposite.
When I did finally wake up emotionally (triggered by me being diagnosed with infertility 8 years in to our journey) it enabled us to connect emotionally and feel more together on the journey (on to conceiving naturally).
The truth is, we have the capability to bring out the best and worst in our mate. We often tell ourselves if they were different we’d be happier or whatever.
However in truth it is our thinking about them that is creating our experience of the relationship.
Let me give you an example, albeit a relatively minor one, however these can often add up to create a void between couples, whether going through infertility or not.
Recently I had wanted to fit in a very short meeting before seeing a client, however logistics and timing were working against this happening. My wife offered to drive me to the meeting and then drop me to my office afterwards. This would have meant her hanging around with our son during the meeting. I knew she had a busy day and didn’t want to add to it, however she was insistent that it was fine so that was the arrangement.
My thinking was telling me she was wrong for expecting me to demonstrate me gratitude. This led to a less than loving exchange.
It wasn’t until some time later I realised what had been going on for me. I had been stuck in my thinking. I was worrying about whether I had the paperwork I needed for my client and whether I could find a way of printing them before they arrived, or working without them. Because I had been stuck in my thinking (a place of fear) I was not operating from my wisdom (a place of inner peace and love). I had lost perspective on the situation as I was just in my head of thoughts. If I had been in my wisdom I know I would have been far more loving and grateful.
This is an example of where we get stuck in our thoughts, worry about future events, when there is nothing we can do about it. We don’t know what is going to happen in 5 mins, let along the next day, week or month. My thinking was telling me I wasn’t going to be as effective for the client without the paperwork. How did I know that was true? I didn’t. The truth is I never know what I am going to do with a client before they walk in as I never know how things are with them in that moment.
How did I know I was going to have difficulty getting another copy printed? I didn’t. As it happens I managed to print of a copy effortlessly. Getting caught up in my thinking had not helped me in any way. The only effect it had was to prevent me from being kind and loving to my wife.
Having this understanding of thoughts, how they trick us in to believing the ‘illusion of reality’ they create enabled me to look back and see what had happened in that situation and then ask my wife to forgive me, restoring our relationship and closeness.
This is an example where little things can impact our closeness and togetherness which is particularly important for your fertility journey. Not only is having a sense of journeying together important for your sense of wellbeing, the strain struggling to conceive can put on a relationship means it can need some extra care and attention.
What do you think? Post a comment below.