The joy of bringing another being into this magnanimous world is unearthly. It is an indescribable feeling that truly turns your life around. And thus, it can feel incredibly cruel when you’re bereft of this happiness and are left wondering, “How to cope with infertility in my marriage?”
Owing to different types of complications, a lot of women are unable to conceive and in many cases, the men too are physically unable to contribute to bringing a child into this world. For a couple who takes having offspring very seriously, this causes depression and self-doubt regarding one’s own worth. At such times, only our close ones can comfort us. But among all of them too, nothing matches the unrelenting support of a spouse.
If your wife can’t get pregnant or your husband is impotent, you need to help relieve their mental stress to keep this marriage healthy. Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, many people still believe that a woman’s primary role in a marriage is to procreate. It is up to you to break such stereotypes and support your spouse in what’s possibly the most emotionally harrowing time for you as a couple. We tell you how with this guide on coping with infertility in a relationship.
Infertility Depression Is A Real Thing
“If she can’t have kids, what good is she even?” When such casual remarks float around so often, then what happens to the mental health of the women who are not able to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term? Subject to constant judgment and criticism, their mental and physical health deteriorates further and gives no positive outcome in the end. If your wife can’t get pregnant, does it make any sense to be mean to her when she’s already reeling under unnecessary guilt? Is it humane to make your wife go through more pain of being unable to bear children?
Motherhood is a privilege that all women can enjoy irrespective of whether they are able to reproduce or not. There are plenty of other ways in which one can embrace motherhood in today’s world. But even if a woman decides to not be a mother altogether, is it really the end of the world? A lot of women these days ask themselves, “Should I have a baby?“, instead of assuming it to be their duty.
But there are also others who answer that question in the affirmative and then are unable to conceive at all. One such case seemed to unfold right in front of my eyes. Read this personal account if you want to learn how to support your wife during infertility. This real-life story may change the way you see things. So here it goes.
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My Wife Can’t Get Pregnant
On a rather gloomy-looking day outside my clinic, I wasn’t in the best of my spirits. When it came to my relationships, I have had severe trust issues for as long as I could remember. My insecurities in my relationship were often visible in my current marriage too. On my worst days, I had no faith in any relationship at all and only feeble faith on my best days.
I used my buzzer to let the front desk know that I was ready for the next patient. Being a gynecologist, I am used to only women walking in, with a husband accompanying them sometimes. But that day, things were a little bit different. Three men walked in alongside a woman who appeared to be very timid.
The couple sat down on the two chairs in front and the other two men stood behind them. I was about to ask the other two gentlemen to wait outside when the couple gestured for them to stay. A brief look at the bundle of reports that they put down left me wondering as to why they were here.
They wanted answers on how to cope with infertility
“These reports are four to five years old and conclusively state that your wife can’t get pregnant. What have you come to me for?”, I asked them as kindly as I could. As silence prevailed and no one seemed to say anything, I figured I might have to repeat myself.
“See, you both already have been through adequate tests. Please don’t put her through anymore, these reports are conclusive. Since your wife can’t have kids the conventional way, it may be time to look at other options. Nowadays, plenty of women look for surrogacy even if they are fit, or even adoption. Please do not stress about this. It is not the end of your lives. ”
The two men standing behind got shifty and the woman stared at me, looking ashen. “Doctor, I have known that my wife can’t get pregnant for some years now. Going through numerous tests and procedures, all the doctors before you had already given me the verdict that my wife is infertile. I consulted a lot of them and asked them why my wife can’t get pregnant. They all knew the problem but no one had a solution to our issue,” said the husband to me.
My wife can’t get pregnant but it doesn’t bother me…
His simple attire and colloquial accent confirmed his humble descent. He continued, “But I thought it best to keep a secret, as I didn’t want to be pressured to leave my wife just because we can’t have kids. I would have been forced to consider remarriage as is customary in our village.”
“I wanted my wife to lead a life without stigma. I knew my wife won’t be getting pregnant and is dealing with infertility. I also know that a stressful environment would be worse. The atmosphere in our village wouldn’t have let her feel good about herself. Recently, however, my wife and her family…” and then he suddenly broke off.
The words ‘Jamai Sa’ and ‘Jijo Sa’ escaped the lips of the two men, who were looking penitent. The husband gently smiled and continued, “They began to suspect and blame me for neglecting their sister, being impotent, or having a mistress. But that is not the case.”
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The wife began to sob softly and he continued, “And so I felt the need to bring them here, so you could tell them the truth in private. I wanted you to let them know that my wife can’t get pregnant to clear it up for them, once and for all.”
I looked at the simple man sitting in front of me who was coping with infertility in his marriage and also reconciling to a sexless marriage thinking that would best explain the childlessness. In order to keep the fact that his wife can’t get pregnant on the down low, he had sacrificed a lot in life. The abstinence made his wife imagine and suspect all kinds of things. She had complained to her family, who had been intervening regularly.
Apologies and alternatives
The older of the two men standing behind said, “Jamai Sa (son-in-law of our house), we should fall at your feet and seek your forgiveness, we have been so harsh with you.”
The husband brushed away the apologies with a small smile and a gentle wave of a hand. He turned to his wife sitting beside him and said, “I want to spend my life with you. If you really want a baby, I am all for adoption. Trust me, my intentions were never wrong here.”
Addressing me, he said, “Neither do I want to trouble her nor be surrounded by constant thoughts of my wife not getting pregnant. I knew that we can’t have kids and I never blamed her for it. I know a lot of people who would ask me why my wife can’t get pregnant but I do not care about them. All I want is for her to be happy.”
The lady in the veil croaked out a small “sorry” and the husband nodded a furious, “Na! Suno ho” (“No! Listen”), he explained, “I am not seeking apologies. I just want our life back. It doesn’t matter to me if my wife is infertile, we will find other ways. I just want us to go back to being our normal selves.”
Memories of this episode always make me think about that uneducated, small shopkeeper from a remote village in Rajasthan and how he found his way into my office in Gujarat. In an attempt to save his life and marriage, he had managed to also salvage the dying seeds of hope and trust in me. Maybe someday soon, they will germinate again.
(As told to Aarti Pathak)
How To Deal With Not Being Able To Have A Baby?
When a baby is all you wanted, suddenly learning that that is not in the cards for you, can wreck you completely. Stress and infertility are a bad combination but the thing is that they always come together. Once you have acknowledged the problem and tried to accept it, you should consider seeing a doctor and thinking about possible alternatives.
Some people choose to not have a child altogether and are actually happier that way. But if you still want to try and expand your family, luckily, technology has brought us very, very far today. How to cope with infertility? Here are a few alternatives:
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1. Taking fertility medication and other medical procedures
This is usually the first step when wanting to correct infertility. These medicines might be harsh but can significantly improve infertility if it works for you. These drugs work at improving ovulation and even thickening the uterine lining in women or the sperm count in men.
Or else, one can try medical procedures such as in-vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, and an assisted hatching technique. These are only three of many procedures that one should consider looking into and trying.
2. Opting for a sperm or egg donation
If the problem lies with the man but you two are still hoping for the child to have at least one genetic connection, then there is no harm in considering sperm donation. The same holds if that woman has some underlying medical issues that prevent spontaneous conception. In that case, an egg donation can be a viable alternative. This method is actually growing all too common these days. If you want to explore this option, you should consult a reproductive endocrinologist.
Surrogacy is a process where an embryo is created by the biological parents and then transferred into the uterus of a surrogate who opts to carry the baby to term. This is primarily done for mothers who have some kind of medical condition and are unable to carry a child without major complications. This method is also famous among same-sex couples and for a man who has been single too long and now wants a child without a partner.
4. There’s always adoption
It is always noble to adopt a child who might be an orphan or has been abandoned by their original parents. It can be a positive experience for the family overall. Perhaps, one can look into the foster care system and understand the workings and processes associated with adopting a child. One can even go for international adoption.
If you’ve been asking yourself how to deal with infertility, we hope that you now see that your options are not limited. Let’s stop ruminating over what could have been and just focus simply on what can be. You can still be and have a family. It might just take you longer and it will be a greater effort too. But if you do really want a child that bad, it can be worth it. So go ahead, wipe those tears and give it a try.
It is best suggested to get a medical professional involved if, after several tries, your wife isn’t able to conceive. Only a doctor can diagnose the issue and suggest remedies, treatments, and solutions.
There are some symptoms that could tell you if you might not be able to conceive in the future. These signs could be irregular periods, a lot of pain during periods, or experiencing a lot of pain during sex.