We are making last minute preparations for a marriage preparation weekend. No, not ours, a bit late for us 14 years in to marriage! I love facilitating on these weekends as although they having nothing directly to do with infertility of IVF it provides a strong foundation and some great communication tools to help them with whatever they face together in the future and given it estimated 35%-40% of couples face infertility there is a chance some of the couples on the weekend will.
Which brings me on to one aspect of infertility that I don’t think is really widely acknowledged, that is the impact to relationships. This in itself can impact fertility success but can also have a dramatic and long lasting affect on the relationship whether successful or not at getting pregnant.
Infertility is such a stressful experience research shows the stress levels in infertile women are equivalent to those with aids, cancer and heart disease. This level of stress on a couple can take its toll if it is not carefully managed and the relationship nurtured.
I find working with couples and their fertility often involves some coaching in fostering more of a sense of unity and togetherness on their journey.
Looking back I can eternally grateful for a marriage enrichment weekend we went on at the beginning of our journey which taught me how to be more on tune with my emotions and share them as well as listening to my wife without jumping in to give solutions, instead listening so I can understand rather than fix.
Infertility and IVF can be a confusing journey with lots of big decisions to be made. This is another reasons why you want to ensure you are united so you can be united in decisions as well.
So how can you ensure you are united and feel you are on the journey together? There is plenty I would like to share with you on this and I have some future program’s which I am developing to help you do just that.
The bottom line is that you both want to feel understood. How understood do you feel? You both want to feel loved. How loved do you feel?
To feel understood and united it involves a process of deep listening and sharing. Sharing feelings and not thoughts or judgements. No ‘he said’, ‘she said’ etc. etc. – it’s all about how you feel about situations, events or life generally.
When it comes to sharing it is about listening for understanding not to give solutions. No-one can say ‘I understand – only the person who is sharing can say you understand after you have demonstrated you understand.
What step can you take today to start creating a closer sense of unity on your journey?