Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together. If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone? In the same way, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm. But how will the one who sleeps alone stay warm against the night? And if one person is vulnerable to attack, two can drive the attacker away. As the saying goes, “A rope made of three strands is not quickly broken.”
When Andrew and I were going through infertility treatments, several women going through similar experiences emailed me asking this question: What impact has infertility had on your physical intimacy with your husband?
This question is one that I totally understand now, because it really was an issue when we were going through infertility, and especially when we were going through infertility treatments. Infertility affects every relationship in your life. In my life, the two relationships it impacted the most were my relationship with God, and then my relationship with my husband.
Here are my thoughts, in a nutshell:
Physical intimacy is the basic requirement for conception, an enjoyable necessity. You both look forward to it for reasons other than trying to conceive, and conception would just be such a happy bonus.
At least at first.
And then you become a little more methodical, timing your cycles, and initiating intimacy accordingly.
And then, many months, or even years in, you realize something isn’t quite right. So over time, you become frustrated and discouraged. Yes, with the situation, but eventually, even with one another.
Instead of an enjoyable, holy act between two married people, sex becomes a calculated obligation, after which you are disappointed when, time and time again, it fails to result in your longed for BFP.
Eventually, you both finally realize that having sex, even when coupled with Clomid or Metformin, is just NOT going to get you pregnant, so you pursue other avenues… And at this point, sex is no longer a requirement for conception.
You feel unwomanly and defective somehow, maybe even unworthy of your husband’s affection.
And then you start stimulation meds.
Emotional, bloated, sore, tired, fat… You feel all those things, but the last thing you feel is attractive. And the last thing you feel like doing is having sex.
But you do anyway, because you know your husband has needs… Your husband, who has stuck by you through trying unsuccessfully to conceive naturally, through fertility treatments and blood work, and mid-cycle ultrasounds and tears, and negative pregnancy tests, and crying yourself to sleep at night.
And though it does not come naturally for you, though you still feel emotional, unattractive, and even hurt, you realize that your husband is hurting with you. He is suffering with you, and he is loving you anyway.
And although physical intimacy now carries with it a heavy weight that it never used to bear, through the decision to give of yourself in that way, you are finally able to achieve an entirely new level of intimacy with your spouse, physically, but also emotionally, and even spiritually.
By giving of yourselves, you are able to walk through and work through the pain of infertility together. You are able to support one another, encourage one another, pray with one another, and experience heartache together in such an intimate way.
At the end of your journey, when you are finally holding your precious baby in your arms, you realize that God used your struggle for good. It impacted every part of your heart and life. It impacted every relationship.
And it worked for the good, and for HIS glory.