For four years my husband and I have dealt with infertility.
It's a lonely road and one I wouldn't wish upon anyone. You find yourself grieving for someone you haven't even met yet, and that makes it hard for lots of people to understand. The emptiness is the hardest part, and it can be a strain on your marriage, your friendships, or even your faith.
Whatever stage you are in, these ten things can help you make it through— and even help you to enjoy this time of waiting.
1. Keep an active sex life/love life
Infertility can take the biggest hit on your marriage. Oftentimes the sadness and the frustration can literally suck the passion and the joy right out of your relationship. Make an active effort to keep your romance alive and to not make every conversation about the baby. Fill your relationship with other exciting and interesting things as well. Keep going on date nights. Keep your friendship alive. And keep your sex life alive too, regardless of negative pregnancy tests or ovulation kits.
2. Keep your faith
When going through a trial, your faith can waver. But that is only if we let it. Continue to serve in your church in whatever capacity you're called to, and continue to pray and stay close to Heavenly Father as you're going through the struggle. He hears and feels the desires of your heart and has a beautiful plan, even though it can be next to impossible to see it. Don't give up on Him, and you will find the strength to keep going forward.
3. Reach out to others going through it
The best support you will get is from other women or men who have found themselves in your same shoes. Talk and vent to those who are facing infertility, and gain strength and wisdom from those who have come through it. The loneliness of infertility can be suffocating until you realize there are armies of people around you who can identify with your exact struggle and help you to see a little clearer.
4. Adopt a pet
Although pets aren't the same as children, their love and companionship is an awesome remedy to the emptiness you might feel. Having my two bunnies and my puppy to take care of, love, and play with have been healing balms for my soul. Find a little furry friend to follow you around, seek your attention, and get your mind off of the pain. You'll be glad you did.
Instead of ruminating on the struggle, use your time to develop talents or hobbies that you haven't explored. Occupy your mind with the other gifts that you've been given to grow and bless the lives of others. So many of your hidden talents and gifts can change your life and prepare you to become a better parent down the line.
It's never too early to prepare yourself for a baby. Continue to take your vitamins and prenatals at the direction of your physician, develop a plan with your doctor, get enough sleep, and exercise and eat right. Diet and personal care will only heighten your chances at conception or being the healthiest and best parent and spouse that you can be. Also prepare your home by creating healthy habits, lifestyle choices, and routines. Make your home and your life a place that you'd feel comfortable bringing a child into tomorrow.
7. Explore your options
It can be hard to come to the realization that natural conception without any help won't be the way you start your family. But once you do, a fun and exciting journey is exploring the other options available. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intra-uterine insemination (IUI), becoming a foster parent, adopting, or fertility medications and treatments are some of the many options out there for men and women hoping to start their families. Not everything will be right for your situation, but once you explore and pinpoint the path for you, lots of hope will be restored.