Making a Stressful Time Better For Both of You
Going through fertility treatment is full of stress for any couple. You may have feelings of sadness or even shame that you haven’t been able to have a baby without help. One of you may feel hopeful that IVF will work for you, while the other may feel worried and apprehensive. The cost of fertility treatment adds an extra element of concern for many couples.
The female partner may be moody or uncomfortable from the side effects of the fertility drugs. Often both partners are coping with scheduling the steps in treatment around their jobs and the other demands of their lives.
What’s a husband to do in this situation? There are actions you can take that will help both your wife and yourself during this stressful time.
Physical and Emotional Support
One of the best things the male partner can do during IVF treatment is just to listen. Don’t try to fix it, or suggest solutions, or comment. Just listen with empathy when your wife or partner needs to share her feelings or to vent. She doesn’t hold you responsible for making things better. She just wants to know you hear her and you sympathize.
Sometimes a simple hug will help you express your concern and show your support. Holding her hand, letting her cry on your shoulder, and just being there (not on your phone, not watching cable) is all she needs.
Be Her Biggest Fan
Your wife’s self-esteem may be suffering, and the indignities of IVF treatment—and the mood swings—don’t make it any easier. This is no time to be critical or sarcastic. Express your admiration for her. Tell her you think she’s great and she’s handling all this really well. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to admire or be positive about, remember that the end result of the IVF cycle may be the baby you both want. She’ll have to carry it, go through labor and delivery, and bear the brunt of the baby’s care. That anyone is willing to do that for you is something to applaud.
Help Around the House and Elsewhere
Studies have shown that women perform the vast majority of the household chores, even in this age when most women work outside the home as well. Between the stress and the physical effects of fertility treatment, your wife may be feeling more tired than usual. Some effort on the husband’s part can make a difference. Take care of dinner, help with cleaning and laundry, and assume responsibility for some household chores you don’t normally do. Make it clear you’re doing this to help out and that you respect what a burden housework is.
Do Your Research
Make the effort to learn about the fertility treatments you both are going through. It may be particularly helpful if you dig into the various ways you can finance fertility treatment and discuss your research with your wife. You will both feel better if you understand your options and have a plan for what you can afford and what you are willing to do. What if your first IVF cycle does not succeed? Does it make sense to commit to payment plans that give discounts for multiple cycles? What if you don’t need more than one or two cycles? What does your insurance cover? How will you pay for fertility drugs? Many fertility financing plans do not cover the cost of the drugs, which may be as much as $10,000 per cycle. Being prepared will relieve some of the stress on both of you.