Despite its focus on romantic love, Valentine’s Day can bring up anxiety and a sense of loss in couples struggling with infertility. The stress of medical procedures and rising expenses can diminish affection, actually eroding the love between partners; and those heart shaped boxes of chocolates can be an annoying reminder that a once exciting sex life is now devoted to carefully timed, baby-making sex.
So what’s a couple gotta do?
Take a few moments every day – including Valentine’s Day – to think about your partner and remember what made you fall in love in the first place. This will help you stay connected as a couple and be stronger for it, no matter what the future holds. Sharing a romantic dinner for two and exchanging gifts are a lovely way to start. Here are a few more tips that can help:
- Make a date– but avoid places that will cause you emotional pain or distress, like going to dinner at a family restaurant where there might be young children.
- No fertility talk– this means any topic related to infertility, your fertility treatments, or your struggles in trying to conceive. Make this time about you and your partner, so spend some time focusing on “us” instead of focusing on your trouble conceiving.
- Share the love– like any other holiday or celebration, there are people who are left out in the cold on Valentine’s Day. If you really want to feel love, share it with someone in need—volunteer to visit at a nursing home or your local animal shelter; just be kind to someone else in need. And be sure to share your love with your partner. You’re on this fertility journey together, and the journey is as important as the destination.
- Think sensual, Not sexual– sex may not be on the forefront of your mind right now, especially if you’re preoccupied with your fertility treatments or not feeling so hot because of your fertility medications. Find ways to reconnect by focusing on the sensual, not the sexual. . . Instead of bringing out the lingerie that you’re not really in the mood to wear, start slow. Cuddle together on the couch, spend some time talking and take turns giving each other a massage. Starting slow may help fire up your desire for your partner.
- It’s the little things that count – showing someone you love them doesn’t need to cost a fortune; in fact, it doesn’t need to cost a dime. Sweet love notes stashed somewhere they’ll find later in the day; getting up a little earlier to make coffee; or even just a foot rub while watching your favorite television show together – now THAT’s what I call love.
Why make Valentine’s Day special?
Most holidays — like Christmas, Easter or Mother’s Day — are more about the family and children, but Valentine’s Day is about you and your partner. Working on your relationship now will not only make this part of your life journey easier; it will also ensure that you remain each other’s dearest valentine as you travel through the rest of your lives together.