The world has been turned upside down the last few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If you are quarantined at home with your partner right now and also struggling with infertility, there are a few key things that will make this weird time in your relationship a bit easier to get through if you keep them in mind.
No doubt you have already endured some extent of hard things together. Sharing the dream of starting a family together and then finding out it is harder than you thought is one of them. When you decided to embark on this life together “for better or worse”, it seems as though you’ve dealt with far more “worse” than “better.” Here are some key points to make sure you get through the quarantine without losing your connection with one another.
This isn’t his fault. None of us are accustomed to wearing masks to the grocery store nor did we ever think that fertility treatment would be universally suspended all at once. It is easy to see this time filled with limits and barriers to the things we want. Everything we ever want is because of how we think it will make us feel when we have it. But if you understand that your thoughts create your feelings, and your thoughts are always your choice, you know that you can create any feeling you want to have right now. Security, love, hope, health, wellbeing, connection, etc. They are all accessible to you right now. You may not be able to have something physical that you want to possess, everything from extra TP to a baby, but the feeling that you think that thing will bring to you is accessible right now.
You don’t need anything from him. This may come as a surprise because we are taught that other people make us feel happy… or sad … or loved. That sentiment is misguided and it is a good thing to understand this now before you end up stuck in the same small space for months on end. The only way to ever feel any emotion is to have a thought about it first. So feeling happy is completely dependent on a thought you create that will generate that emotion for you (not whether or not your husband actually picks up his socks and puts them in the hamper every night). Drop all expectations of him to make you feel a certain way. Now that you know that he can’t make you feel a certain way without you having a thought about it first.
Ask how he is feeling. While you may be running out of conversation topics for the everyday stuff, this question is sure to get a reaction that can help you understand each other better. Feelings are vibrations in our bodies caused by our thinking and we describe them using one world (elated, saddened, inquisitive, etc). What you are feeling is probably different than what he is feeling right now so ask him, straight up, “How are you feeling?” If he responds with a sentence that starts out, “I feel like…” he’s not giving you a feeling, rather a thought he’s having. That’s okay. See if he can sum it up in one word and that will usually help him drill down to the feeling level. Give him the opportunity to tell you.
Give up the need to be right. Inevitably, some kind of conflict is likely to happen during the quarantine. In these situations we all want to be right so that we don’t have to face the negative emotions of being wrong. The only thing you have to gain or lose is a feeling. If you understand that, the need to be right seems less important and probably less worth arguing for in the end.
Commit to love. Everything we do has the opportunity to create connection or push someone away from us. When you commit to loving your partner first and foremost through this time a few things are bound to happen. First, you can let go of so much more if love is your main objective and cultivate deeper feelings of love for one another. Lasting relationships happen when those involved treat it as a place they go to give, rather than a place to take. So committing to love and give that generously to your partner will feel so much better than withholding it for any reason.
These are a few of the tools I use with my clients when it comes to up-leveling their relationships during infertility. Interested in more? Download the Infertility Mental Health Checklist now for more tools to help.