Each person’s support network looks different and is equally important, but there is usually an individual or individuals on whom you rely the most. It is especially important that you are able to be open and honest with this person, even though that can be difficult and awkward at various times throughout the process of adding to your family.
- Remain a team. Try not to blame each other or yourself. Blame can lead to resentment and working against one another rather than with each other. This is a difficult road and it will be helpful for partners to be able to support and validate one another’s experiences.
- Have truthful and considerate conversations. Remember that you are both humans and love each other. Consider each other’s feelings before speaking.
- Use active listening skills when engaging with your partner. This involves attending to both the nonverbal and verbal communication cues during a conversation and listening in an intentional way, rather than being a more passive recipient. Paraphrasing what you have heard the other individual say, as well as using nonverbal gestures, such as nodding, eye contact, etc are also important in active listening.
- Make sure you are on the same page. Fertility treatments and adoption can be very expensive, but also have emotional and physical costs. Regularly check in with your own feelings and have conversations on where you each stand. There may also be some aspects of your relationship that feel different or have changed during the process (sexual intimacy, etc) – keep the lines of communication open about these changes and work together to figure out what is needed from each of you.
- Before and after any specific treatment, let your partner know what you need. Discuss any results that are given after medical appointments and, again, what you need.
- In the context of a changing/evolving relationship, try to keep some normalcy. Whatever you did before this journey, try to bring some of that back.
- Try to have fun. Find something new to do to make this experience more enjoyable.