Facing Many Crossroads, Together

Part 3:  Turning to Others for Help

You are at another crossroads in your fertility journey and neither of you wants to take a risk, so you stand still.  These decisions are difficult, but in order to progress, they must be made.  At any point on which you and your partner feel stuck, bring in additional troops. 

If you don’t feel like your discussions are going anywhere, wasting time, or you feel unsupported, you both may need help from a third party. In this case, that third party should be someone who doesn’t have a stake in the outcome and/or has not been the confidante of one of them. (Tip:  Never, never say “My parents think that you…” In-law relations may never recover.) The other half of a couple does not need to stress out about their support network taking sides. 

 Perhaps each of you will need a separate support system.

 ·         If you need more firsthand information about infertility or treatment options, one of the dedicated internet fertility forums may help. They provide a quick, constantly updated and supportive response from someone who is or was also infertile; just make sure that you don’t take medical advice from a non-medical member.

·         A support network can be created from family, friends, colleagues, other patients at your clinic, a support group that meets in your area, or anyone who truly wants you to succeed in your efforts and have a baby of your own.

·         If you think you are depressed, (look at your sleep pattern, eating too much or too little, moods and lack of self-care) ask your doctor to refer you to a psychologist or counsellor who has professional experience with issues relating to infertility. 

 ·         If your difficulties are more strategic (accepting your current situation, what you want to do, how to do it, how to restore self-esteem, control and decision-making, how to communicate, etc.), a fertility coach can help you sort things out and move forward with more motivation, hope and self-belief.

If you and your partner are honestly sharing and accepting each other’s thoughts, feelings and needs, you will have an excellent chance of making it through the ups and downs of fertility treatment with your relationship intact. If, however, you are experiencing differences bubbling under the surface, this may place you at a more fundamental crossroads.

Fertility coaching for couples is a good way to bring unsaid (or poorly said) thoughts, attitudes or behaviour to light and/or resolution. 

For example, no one wants to let down their partner in such a fundamental area as family-building, but anxiety, fear, insecurity, pressure or exhaustion can affect their commitment. 

If someone is feeling trapped in a long, stressful process, it is useful to re-examine choices, goals, timetables, and cost and re-align them with their values. 

You need to face these crossroads together in order to safeguard your relationship. 

Be willing to ask for help with feelings and communication. 

Remember: if you are doing things completely on your own and it’s getting you nowhere, you have everything to gain by trying something different.

Lisa Marsh is a Fertility Coach working with people on all aspects of fertility, including female and male infertility, pregnancy loss, assisted conception, alternative means of family-building and menopause.  Visit her blog http://yourgreatlife.typepad.com or her website http://yourgreatlife.co.uk for more information.  For coaching, email lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk

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