Being the fertile partner in an infertile relationship is hard. Not only are you infertile because of your partner, you also have to be ever so careful about venting or complaining because of fear of making it worse for your infertile partner.
Every once in a while when you’re feeling sorry for yourself you might accidentally dip a toe into the blame ocean. It’s not pretty and most folks don’t readily admit to pointing a finger, but it’s an emotion that lots of fertile partners have felt. After all, you aren’t infertile. You aren’t the reason why you aren’t a parent; why your house is so quiet; why you want to hide at family holidays.
Maybe you don’t actually blame your infertile partner, but find that you are
…quick to anger,
….want to take charge of the infertility treatment decisions, or
…less than patient with your partner’s slow pace.
What Are You Angry At
I am the least likely person to rain on a pity party. I think an occasional sulk, with a few “oh, you poor babies” thrown in for good measure, is good for the soul. However, after you’ve had a good cry, it might help to assess the nature of your frustration.
Are you really mad at your spouse? He/she didn’t ask for this disease. Are you mad at her slow pace at making decisions, or his unwillingness to talk? Remember, she/he is hurting just like you and is coping with a bad situation the best they can. Chances are good that you are both angry at the circumstances — angry that this is the hand you were both dealt.
Getting to “Our”
As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. When one partner is infertile, you both are. Infertility is a couples disease. And yes, it sucks!
If you’re struggling more than an occasional pity party or if it is hurting your relationship, do yourself and your marriage a favor and see a therapist knowledgeable about infertility grief. Creating a Family has resources to help you find an infertility counselor.
If you are the infertile one in the relationship, you’re probably the one heaping the blame upon yourself. Stop! You didn’t ask for this disease. The only thing you can control is how you handle it.
We talked about this and more in this Creating a Family show on coping with infertility as the fertile partner, with Dr. Andrea Braverman, a Clinical Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of OB/Gyn and Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, and infertility therapist since 1985.
Are you the fertile one in your relationship? How have you handled the blame game? Are you the infertile one? Do you blame yourself?
First published in 2014; Updated in 2016