You’re stronger together…

Timed sex, never-ending costs, raging hormones, disappointment… it’s no wonder that infertility has the ability to cripple a marriage.

Cathy Raubenheimer, the inspiration behind IVF Support, has undergone 10 IVF treatment cycles in the past five years. Despite the pressure of the journey, extra hormones and her husband’s reluctance to have another child (he already has two from a previous marriage), Cathy has managed to keep her marriage alive – and thriving! She shares five ways in which you can help your marriage survive infertility:

5 Ways in which you can help your marriage survive infertility

1. Write it down

We tend to project our anger onto those closest to us, and lash out at the ones we love most. Hormones are raging, frustrations levels are heightened – it’s completely normal to want to take it out on your partner. But, don’t.

Rather turn to the pages of a journal to express your emotions. Get it out; the anxiety, the anger, the disappointment…

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And, when you’re done, don’t mull over what you have written; turn the page, find something positive that brings you joy and move on with your day.

2. Keep it light and keep laughing

Everything is easier when you’re laughing.

If your partner is irritating you, just think of how many soiled nappies they will have to change one day (there’s also power in positive thinking!) – this should give you a secret laugh and lift those dampened spirits. It’s not always easy, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Eventually, it will become second nature.

If you just can’t bring yourself to ‘look on the bright side’ and you’re stuck in a funk, then do something to change the energy at home. Have a picnic in the garden, or have a movie night in the middle of the week. It doesn’t need to cost the world, as long as it lightens the atmosphere – so that you and your partner can feel the ‘fun’ again.

Your outlook, and the way you handle your partner, can make all the difference

3. You’re stronger together

Don’t add to your hardship and misery by combusting the inner circle of your heart. You are each other’s closest and dearest, so it’s easy (and natural) to turn on one another – in turn – making your life a misery by coupling injury to insult.

You can get through this together. No matter what your partner may say (or in some cases, not say), they are still with you on this journey. Allow them space to express themselves freely and without judgement.

4. Talk clearly, and talk a lot

Your partner often won’t understand how you feel – so spell it out for them!

“I need a quiet night in”,  “I’d love you to run me a bubble bath”, or “This is how I feel today”. Let them be involved in the inner workings of your mind and heart – whether you are gearing up for a cycle, recovering from a transfer or dealing with the disappointment of a failed attempt.

5. Keep your love alive

Make time for romance – and by romance, I mean intimacy and ‘closeness’, not just sex. Hold each other, comfort each other. Not only will this re-enforce your bond, but also your worthiness – in a time where you may be questioning your self-worth.

Infertility has broken many marriages and homes – it can really be THAT tough. But it can also do the exact opposite and bring couples closer together. Your outlook, and the way you handle your partner, can make all the difference.

To help Cathy’s efforts to reach and assist women experiencing infertility, please follow www.ivfsupport.co.za and  https://www.facebook.com/IVFSupportSA/