For a couple, having difficulties conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term can place a heavy strain on the relationship. Not only is the subject emotionally fraught, but it also can be isolating, as infertility is not often or openly discussed. This turns much of the stress inwards, into the relationship. As a result, counselling can be a useful way to relieve some of the pressure on the relationship and open up communication in a neutral environment. Here are some questions you might discuss in your session.
How do you want to respond to events with young children?
For many people struggling with infertility, baby showers and other child centred events can be hard to handle. Deciding on a reasonable response as a couple (going but only staying for a short time, not going but sending a gift) can help relieve the stress on you and help you feel supported by each other.
How do you want to pursue treatments?
Every couple has a different response to infertility treatments and has emotional as well as financial limits on the treatment they wish to pursue. Discussing these options together, and deciding which you would be prepared to consider (including donor eggs and sperm) with a third party[,] can help you explore which treatments are absolutely off the cards and why [and which treatments you would consider as options.
When should we stop treatments?
For some couples, treatments will only stop once they have reached menopause, while other couples put a limit of cycles before they will stop treatments. Discussing your limits as a couple, and what your life will look like after pursuing medical treatments, can help you to regain a much needed sense of control over your fate.
How can you recognise your grief?
Whether your grief springs from pregnancy loss or failing to conceive, it can help to allow yourself some time and emotional space to grieve. Counselling can help to discuss this pain and work out ways that you can acknowledge it, whether through writing, art or a personal ceremony of release. Doing this can help you to move on.
Relationship counselling is a good way to approach these sensitive topics, so you can grow closer and stronger as a couple rather than being pushed apart by your stress and grief. Don't delay in setting up an appointment with a relationship counsellor. They know how help you cope with the emotions you and your spouse are feeling.