Allow Yourselves to Feel
After seven grueling years of trying to get pregnant, countless fertility treatments, and immeasurable heartache, Angela and Brian finally received the news they had longed for—they were going to have a baby.
Angela and Brian, who conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) after trying nearly every fertility treatment in the book, were absolutely elated. The road leading them to this joyous point had been a long and bumpy one—one that, at times, put an immense strain on their marriage.
"We literally tried everything, and the stress of the treatments was the worst stress of all," Angela says. Although the process was a harrowing experience, Angela said she'd do it all over again. "Every single second was worth it to hear the nurse tell me on the phone that we were pregnant. Every single second."
Angela and Brian are not alone—6.1 million couples in the United States have difficulty conceiving, according to the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC). That number represents 10 percent of childbearing-aged couples.
Unfortunately, a great many marriages don't survive the stress of fertility treatments. The painful hormone injections, the endless collection of sperm, the loss of intimacy, and the shame and anguish that often go hand in hand with fertility treatments prove to be too much for some couples.
And yet, many couples emerge from the challenge of fertility treatments even stronger than they were before. If you and your spouse are undergoing treatments, there are many steps you can take to ensure your marriage stays healthy and strong through it all. Here is some helpful advice from marriage experts and couples who have been there.
Before embarking on fertility treatments, you and your spouse should brace yourself for an emotional roller coaster ride. "If there is an emotion on the planet and in our bodies, we felt it—happiness that we had a great marriage, sadness when things didn't go as we hoped, fear that it would never happen or that we were doing something wrong, frustration at the situation, and anger," says Angela. "We also went through a strong feeling of confusion as to whether we should go further with fertility treatments and 'play God' with nature."