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  • Writer's pictureSmita Parikh, MD

Ladies...pass this on to your partner - A male fertility playbook

It's football season so I decided to mix things up and create a "playbook" that you can pass on to your partner for when you feel like he needs some better information on how to support you through this fertility journey. Plus, its full of great football analogies so hopefully he finds it to be an easy read. Enjoy!

The “I’m Here to Support You” Huddle

Start every morning with a supportive huddle, in the form of a hug, or a spooning under the sheets. She may not seem receptive at all times, but she needs to know you’re there for her. Use this time as a chance to commend her on her strength, recap and strategize the infertility game plan, and/or commiserate a recent defeat. ("Go-team" spanks optional)

Intercept Insensitive Comments

Sometimes she needs you to play defense and intercept the “so when are you having kids?” “Are you sure you really want kids?” commentary. Dealing with infertility is overwhelming and fielding these questions can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and ultimately leads to isolating yourselves from social situations. So keep your eye on her when you are out together in case you need to swoop in and help her tackle these situations.

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense

During the two-week wait, women often get completely preoccupied with whether or not they might be pregnant. They start analyzing all of their symptoms (or lack of symptoms), which can often lead to stress, frustration, and tears. By coming up with a few fun things the two of you can do together during that time, you might be able to defend against an emotional breakdown.

Don’t be afraid to call a long play

When a team is down a big play can boost morale and spark a comeback. Plan something special for your partner to lift hers (and your) spirits and celebrate yourselves as a strong couple. Book a spa day, a weekend getaway, or perhaps plan a visit back to where you had your first date. It will give the two of you time to reflect, heal and reset.

A surprise blitz

If you are undergoing fertility treatments and your wife needs to have daily injections, she often feels the burden of the work and the pain. Surprise her by taking over the medication responsibilities and create a loving ritual for injection time. For example, have her lie down on the bed, give her the shot, and then a sweet kiss or perhaps a nice foot or back rub afterwards.

Manage the clock

Dealing with infertility is a long game. There are times when you feel like all you and your partner talk about is getting pregnant. Define a period of time when both of your would be open to discussing it (for example every evening before going to bed). Once you have had your discussion, then try to refrain from talking about it further (unless absolutely necessary). It will give both of you a much needed break from the topic.

Whoops…a fumble

So you fumbled the ball and somehow made your partner cry by saying something insensitive or disregarding her feelings. Make a quick recovery by first apologizing for what you did or said (even if you don’t think it was that bad!), give her a hug, and figure out a way to make it better now. Don’t let things fester otherwise you might end up on the bench.

Pep talk

Your wife is the quarter back in the infertility process and she needs you to believe in her. This is not the time to be stingy with compliments. Tell her how pretty she looks or that she is doing a great job and that you admire her for her strength and courage through this process (and always make sure it comes from an honest place because she will know if it doesn’t!)

Protect the Quarterback

Be her offensive line by taking some pressure off. Offer to take on some of her daily responsibilities that may cause her stress. Plan dinner, do the dishes, take the dog out, so that she can have some more time to rest and relax.

Consider an audible

Unfortunately, this process is never as straightforward as it seems. The ultimate goal is starting a family but sometimes the planned play won’t work. Always be open with each other about perhaps considering other options to achieve your end goal.

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