Caring for yourself, both physically and mentally
You are more than your ability to conceive. As important as this part of your life is, be purposeful about caring for the other parts of yourself also. The basics of regular physical exercise, healthy nutrition, and good rhythms of rest (sleep and weekly rest) lower the physical stress response in your body and lead to a clearer mind and more emotional stability.
As a Reproductive Endocrinologist, I would often tell my infertility patients that it’s OK to take breaks in trying to conceive. Breaks are good for you mentally and physically, and also for your marriage. Find and give energy to other good things in life such as creativity, career, learning something new, or helping others.
That doesn’t lessen your desire for a child, but choosing to also invest in other things helps you become a more whole person the way God intended. Know that you are not alone in your infertility struggle. You can also find much encouragement through connecting with other individuals who are also struggling in this way.
Your marriage matters
Hopefully, your spouse is more than “a means to have a child.” (If you do see your spouse that way, get some help!) It’s essential to invest in each other and in the love you share together.
When your spouse is feeling down, not enough, or discouraged, don’t try to minimize their feelings or “fix” them. Choose to be with them. Listen to both their words and their heart. Come alongside as support.
When you’re the one feeling down, not enough, discouraged, it’s OK to ask for help. Let your spouse know you’re not asking them to “fix” you, but ask them to listen, hold you, and be there as support.
Different people respond differently to the stress of infertility. Give each other some grace to respond in your own unique ways. And spend time doing things together that have nothing to do with trying to conceive.
Invest in your relationship together so that if God does bless you with a child you will have a strong marriage to bring that child into. Spend time doing things as friends. Make intimacy and sex about the two of you whenever you can and not primarily about getting pregnant.
God is in control
When it comes to your relationship with God, hold on and let go.
Hold on tightly to whom you know God to be. Keep bringing your desire for a child to Him. Spend time quietly in His presence and ask Him to show you how He sees you. Invite Him to speak about your situation.
And let go of the outcome. You can’t control God even if you try. (Not that you would really want to.) You can grow in your ability to trust that He is good and that He is for you regardless of whether you conceive or not. That’s a journey, and your heart will need a lot of tender loving care in the process. But He is worth trusting.
The stress of infertility is real. Acknowledging that stress will allow you to take healthy steps in managing it along the way and regardless of what your family looks like tomorrow.
¹ Christian Healthcare Ministries members have chosen to not share the medical costs of treatment specifically for infertility or for pregnancies resulting from such treatment. Please see our Maternity Guide for further information.