A supportive spouse is like your favorite supportive bra, comforting, plays to your strengths and supports your, ahem, weaknesses, lifts you up, and molds to you and your needs over time.
My husband is my best and most supportive bra. (He might kill me…)
The last year and a half since we began trying for a baby, I have been the first to admit that I have not been the easiest person to deal with. Mood swings, “OMG I MIGHT BE PREGNANT” symptom spotting, bawling at the start of a new cycle; it hasn’t been pretty. The hubs, through it all, has been on the whole, a saint. Sometimes he would be so positive about everything that I would actually get mad at him for being so dang positive. And then feel really guilty and cry over being mad at him, and he’d have to comfort me through yet another ugly cry.
On top of the general stress and anxiety I felt about the whole TTC process, we added in some fun variables to the mix once we started pursuing medical interventions. Throw in the hormonal swings once I started fertility medications, the weight gain caused by stress and said fertility medications, and the angst over said weight gain, and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm of “Crazy Wife Syndrome”. Once we started IVF, there was an extra layer of responsibility added to my husband’s plate. I can’t even imagine how he was feeling as he bravely checked, mixed, and administered the IVF medications by shooting multiple large needles into his wife’s belly every night.
Through it all, my spouse has been my rock and my lifeline, never wavering in positivity whether I was riding the happy train alongside him or breaking down in his arms. In the midst of starting a new and incredibly demanding job, he has always made an effort to be by my side when I need him. He has gone out of his way to come to doctor’s appointments, had some really awkward conversations with colleagues before making a run over to the RE’s office at lunchtime for an urgent “deposit”, and has, in general, just been plain awesome.
In the spirit of sharing what I know to be true now that we’ve lived through the ups and downs these many months, here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to being a supportive spouse or partner through the IVF process.
Do: Listen mindfully, and say “That sucks; I’m sorry.” instead of trying to fix his/her problems. Venting is often the best and quickest way to get back on the road to positivity.
Don’t: Say things like “If you weren’t so stressed, maybe we’d be pregnant by now.” Yikes… bad news bears. This one is easy to say, but not easy to take back.
Do: Try to “show up”, whatever that means for you in your relationship. Showing up could be not checking out in a conversation, trying your hardest to make it to doctor’s appointments, even if you aren’t required to be there, holding his/her hand in the waiting room, or saying “it’s going to be ok” even if it feels hard to say in the moment.
Don’t: Take out your own frustrations on each other, as much as you possibly can. You’ll probably slip up here and there, but remember, each of you are going through this both separately and together. You will have emotions and experiences that are different than your spouses’, and it’s important to recognize and acknowledge that. Also, realize that you might be feeling completely differently about the process than your spouse at any given moment – you might be at the top of the rollercoaster and your spouse is chilling all the way down at the bottom of the big drop.
Do: Have fun! Go on date nights. Make time to be together, just the two of you. Laugh. (The hubs likes to tickle me, which causes fits of uncontrollable laughter followed by flying limbs; explore this one at your own risk.) Watch stupid movies. Binge on your fave Netflix shows. Drink wine. (Yep, I said it; a glass or two won’t hurt your efforts, I promise.) Do non-baby-friendly stuff, like go out to a fancy dinner or stay out super late like you’re teenagers again.
Double do: Love each other through it all.
Thank you so much to Stefanie for sharing her tips! If you would like to read more from Stefanie, you can follow her through her blog www.makingamiller.com and on Instagram & Twitter: @makingamiller
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