Bringing a new life into the world may be the ultimate bonding experience for a couple; but if difficulties are faced on the path to parenthood it may begin to divide a couple’s relationship. Kristen Magnacca, author of Love & Infertility: Survival Strategies for Infertility, Marriage and Life, shares with us a few conscious steps partners can take to maintain or restore those loving feelings.
Kristen points out that the shift between making love and making a child is an energetic one. Something which was once spontaneous changes to something that has a purpose and measurable end point. How a couple manages this shift can make all the difference in how they cope as a couple while undergoing infertility treatments.
There are three strategies Kristen recommends for a couple to implement in order to ground themselves and to remember why they want to begin a family during those moments when the stresses of life may feel so overwhelming. These steps are helpful when they are taken proactively, before issues begin to mount. However, they can also help to bring back those loving feelings after the pressures have begun to take a toll on the relationship. The concepts outlined below are centered on self-loving and nurturing the bond between partners throughout the course of treatments or infertility – wherever the path leads.
1. Write your love story. Everyone has one. Sit down and journal about yours individually and then perhaps together. This process helps to reconnect the neural pathways in your brain that initially attracted you to one another, and can be a great way to re-live those exciting first moments and build upon them in the present.
2. Make a honey-do list. A honey-do list is a list of three things that you need from your partner TODAY to feel appreciated, loved and connected to the other person. For example, Kristen shared that during her and her husband’s journey it was important for him to call her three times per day and that was the first request that she wrote on her card. (You can begin by writing your request on 3X5 card and exchanging them daily.)
3. Love on the rocks! What are you putting in your jar?? This strategy can be done physically or metaphorically on paper. Either way the “rocks” are the most important things to you and your relationship. Write your expectations or these intentions on the rocks and put them into a jar. This exercise helps you stay focused on what will keep your relationship strong during this “rocky” time. It will also help to re-activate normal thought processes from before your relationship was introduced to the stress of infertility. The rocks are your solid ground and the building blocks of your relationship. After you put all the important rocks in your jar, fill it with sand. The sand represents everything else that comes into your relationship and lives. Take a look and read out loud the intentions on the rocks when you feel like there is too much “sand” to handle.
Implementing strategies that promote self-love and self-nurture is important for women and couples at this time because it facilitates receiving, maintaining and balancing energy. Taking steps like those above helps to ground you to the real reasons why you and your partner want to be parents. It takes focus off of all the rest of the “stuff’ that you have to deal with and re-focuses your energy on the truly important foundations of your relationship.
Click on the links below to read some excerpts from Kristen’s book, Love & Infertility. Also join Dr. Kiltz and Kristen for a future workshops by clicking here.
Click here for the “Honey Do List” book excerpt
Click here for the “Love on the Rocks” book excerpt