How to Be a Supportive Partner During Fertility Treatment
Undergoing fertility treatment can be very stressful, and it can be an emotional time. This is true not only for the person undergoing treatment, but also for a partner who may be unsure of the best way to provide support.
To help your loved one during this time, it’s important to be attuned to their physical and emotional experiences. So, as you and your partner embark on this exciting journey, please consider the following four tips:
1. Be a good listener.
While it’s understandable that you’d want to offer advice and guidance to your partner during treatment, sometimes just listening is the best thing you can do. Trying to “fix” the situation may only make your partner more stressed. Even though you’re supporting your partner through this time, remember you’re not experiencing the treatment yourself, so you can’t truly know what your partner is going through. Help your partner to remain positive, but be understanding of any negative emotions that arise.
If you are asked for advice, feel free to offer your opinion, but work on being a good listener first and foremost. Remember to give your undivided attention when your partner talks about his or her feelings and experiences (no multitasking), and lend a shoulder to cry on if needed.
2. Help out with the little things.
While undergoing fertility treatment can be an exciting time, with the prospect of building a family on the horizon, it can also be exhausting—both mentally and physically. Some of the medications and procedures involved in treatment can cause fatigue, aches, and bruising, and navigating the many emotions involved can be tiring on its own.
To help make day-to-day life easier and less stressful for your partner, you could take on some of the chores and errands that your partner usually handles, whether it’s buying groceries, cutting the lawn, or doing laundry. This will give your partner more time to relax, and it will send the message that you’re there to help in any way you can.
3. Get involved with the ins and outs of fertility treatment.
While it’s important to let your partner experience emotions on their own terms, it’s also important to provide tangible support wherever needed. Ask whether your partner would like you to accompany him or her to doctor’s appointments. Consider attending a support group together. If your partner has expressed an interest in attending therapy or a support group—whether alone or with you—offer to help with researching professionals. Read up on infertility and the treatment your loved one is undergoing so you have an idea of what is happening day to day and how you can best support them. Learn about any medications that are part of the treatment so you are knowledgeable about the effects of the drugs.
However, keep in mind that it’s important to respect your partner’s wishes. While some people prefer to attend appointments or deal with the logistics of treatment on their own, others find great comfort in having their partner there. Find out what is most helpful for your partner.
4. Find ways to help your partner relax and unwind.
Fertility treatments can be all-consuming. It’s likely that your partner is thinking about treatment quite often, and it may be hard for him or her to focus on the things that usually bring joy. While it’s important to communicate about the treatment and check in on your partner’s physical and mental state, sometimes focusing on other things can be a great relief.
Think about activities that your partner enjoys—reading a good book, taking a long walk, watching sports, or going to a movie. Then find ways to facilitate these activities. In short, remember the many joys of your life together.
Learn More About Fertility Treatments
If you or your partner is ready to undergo fertility treatments, or you simply have questions about your options, contact the team at Chicago IVF.