By Kris Bevilacqua, Ph.D.
Are you taking Valentine’s Day too seriously? Does it feel like a social obligation left over from third grade when every kid in the class had to get a little paper valentine and some tasteless conversation hearts?
Speaking of tasteless, there’s no escape from being bombarded with ads featuring big red hearts and suggestions of what to do with your sweetheart on February 14th. Maybe you’re thinking ‘I don’t feel in the least bit sexy; just make it go away.’
There is so much media hype about Valentine’s Day; those ads for sexy lingerie, romantic dinners with champagne, and expensive expressions of ardor. “Sexy” is not how most people experiencing infertility would describe themselves. The champagne with dinner gets nixed because the alcohol might affect some aspect of egg or fetal development. And those expensive trinkets? Forget it, the money is being spent to have a baby.
Nevertheless, romance can remain in tender little ways that are more personal. When sex feels like a job (a futile one at that) and the thrill is gone, other ways of being together to showing commitment to each other are especially meaningful. Love yourself on this Valentine’s Day as well as your partner. Talk about your expectations so that you can mark the day in a way that is meaningful and fun for both of you. Think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to take a step back and remember the early days of your relationship fueled by hope and excitement. What special things did you enjoy together in the beginning? What made you laugh together? That was the joyful beginning of the road you are still on, and today’s infertility is a curve along the way; you will eventually get to your destination.
In the future, you too will be making sure that you have enough of those little paper valentines for everyone in the class. Until then, maybe a little good quality chocolate? Texting with hearts added? An “I love you” on the bathroom mirror? A silly love poem tucked in an unexpected place? Because love is not always where is supposed to be but where you find it when you aren’t looking.