Mother’s Day can be tough for women on a fertility journey. Are you struggling to know how best to support your female partner through this difficult weekend? Here are a few of our suggestions…
Get out in nature together
Mother’s Day – and every day – can come with a bunch of triggers that your partner might find tough to deal with if motherhood still feels out of reach. It might be tempting to just act like it’s not happening – no one likes to mention the elephant in the room, right? – but the fact is, it’s kind of unavoidable.
Everywhere from our inboxes, to our social media feeds, our local shops to favourite restaurants are hammering home the holiday. If you’ve been trying for a while, your partner was probably hoping that she would be receiving the gifts and well wishes today – so it’s important to offer her a lifeline.
Firstly, open up the conversation – what would she like to do when the day arrives? Some women might be happy to treat it like any normal Sunday, but your partner might be grateful for some love, attention and distraction. If she does want to do something, play an active role in suggesting activities that could take her mind off things and make her feel special. Getting outside in nature is a really good thing to do. Not only will it keep you both away from social media and technology, but it is also great for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Create space for deep and meaningful
Whilst distractions are great, it’s important to remember that ‘taking her mind off things’ might not always be what your partner needs.
Whilst there is a lot of support out there for women struggling with infertility, the truth is that some women find it very difficult to talk about their experience with others. The shame that surrounds infertility means that you might be the only person they feel comfortable opening up to – so make sure she knows that you are there for her.
Men can often shy away from these conversations, but it’s your job to create a space where she feels like she can be totally honest about her fears and feelings. Create a calming, distraction-free environment where you can connect and make sure to ask questions like that encourage emotional conversation like…
“Is there anything you’re feeling that you’ve been too afraid to share?”
“Are you doing ok or is it getting too much?”
“When do you find it the hardest?”
“Is there anything I could do to support you more?”
It can also be really helpful for you to share how you’re feeling too. The two of you are in this together and showing a bit of vulnerability can show her it’s ok for her to do the same!
Have her back
A great way to show how much you care about someone is by actively demonstrating that you have their back. As partners, you should always be in each other’s corner – and sometimes on a fertility journey, that means setting boundaries with others.
Anyone trying for a baby knows that well-meaning (but often annoying) questions can come from all directions. Whilst these questions can be aimed at anyone, let’s face it – the vast majority get directed at our female partners. From probing enquiries as to when grandchildren will come along, to advice on which supplements to take, interacting with friends and family can be a bit of an emotional minefield when you’re on a fertility journey.
If this is happening, make sure that you are advocating for your partner when she needs it. It can be emotionally exhausting to field these questions and suggestions, so stepping in and protecting her can mean a lot. If your family is getting too personal, be the one to pull them to one side and lay down some ground rules. If you’re invited to an event that your partner doesn’t want to go to (from baby showers, to christenings) take some of the weight off her shoulders and offer to decline on your behalf.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. If you have been trying for a while and your female partner has been the one running the show, give the gift of being proactive this Mother’s Day.
By taking control of your own fertility, you’re showing her that this truly is a team effort and that you are in this together. Do some research into how to improve your fertility, invest in some supplements, or take the step of getting your sperm tested, if you haven’t already.
Aside from your fertility, taking care of your mental wellbeing is another active step in being the best partner you could be. You can’t be there for your partner this Mother’s Day if you are struggling in silence yourself. There are some amazing communities of men that you can join including Knackered Knackers to HIM Fertility. These groups of like-minded guys can give you advice on all things fertility, relationships and mental health – and we’d highly recommend them!