My husband and I have been trying to have a second child now for three years. It took us a year and a half to conceive our daughter, and we figured that since we had obviously figured out how to do it, it would be easy the second time. WRONG! Although all our tests are clean, we have not been able to “get one past the goalie” as my husband so eloquently puts it.
Not too long ago, we decided that we would take our trying to the next level and follow our doctor’s advice to go on Clomid, the fertility drug that is prescribed to a lot of women in my situation. As we were chatting with the doctor, I decided to be frank and asked, “So, doc, is this the drug that will turn me into a raving lunatic?” She laughed and diplomatically said, “Well, there can be some side effects with the increase of hormones in your system.” She then proceeded to give us the instructions on how to take the drugs. “Take them from days 3-7 and then have sex on days 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18.” Turning to my husband, she then said, “If you have any business trips to take, schedule them for the rest of her cycle.” And then she gave him a very sympathetic smile. Humm. I suppose this was her way of being more direct to my earlier question. We got a good giggle and left the office to follow her instructions.
Now, for all of you out there who are thinking “I wish I could have sex that often!” let me say that doctor prescribed sex is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it is awful. It turns something that is supposed to be fun, pleasurable and even spiritual into a chore that needs to be ticked off your “to-do” list. You have to do it (or else you feel guilty for not doing your best to get pregnant), you can’t use lubricant (it kills the sperm), and there is no cuddling afterwards (your bum is stuck up in the air on a pillow). Add that to the hormonal changes you go through if you are on the fertility drugs, and ups and downs you feel as you hope, hope, hope and then are disappointed, and the whole experience can really make your sex life take a nose-dive.
In my business as a Passion Coach, many women have come to me to discuss the ramifications of infertility on their sex lives. Their stories are remarkably similar. They speak about the fact that their minds are constantly on getting pregnant, which makes it very difficult to be romantic and stay in the mood because their mind keeps wandering to whether or not this will be the time that they conceive. They are constantly thinking about what day it is, and whether their period is going to come this month or not. Some husbands feel so much pressure that they cannot get and maintain an erection (which, of course, frustrates both them and their wives!). And underling all of their experiences – the waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.
So, how do we maintain good sex lives in the midst of all of this? Here are a few suggestions:
- Add variety to love-making (change rooms or the time of day that you have sex, add candles or music, play strip poker, etc.)
- Make sure to have sex even on days which are not “doctor prescribed” so that your sexual relationship isn’t completely tied to the task of procreation
- Find some friends or a support group to talk to so that you don’t feel isolated during this time
- Try to find the humor in the midst of attempts to conceive (ie: read a funny yet honest blog, allow yourself to laugh)
- Take steps to reduce stress in your life (ie: physical exercise, learn stress reduction techniques such as yoga, choose to try to conceive during times of lower stress in your career, and laugh (see point above)
- Explore other options like adoption, IVF, or acupuncture
- Set a time period of “trying” interspersed with a period of taking a break (and really take the break – toss out the charts, put away the thermometer, stop tracking your cycle)
- As best as possible, make peace with the concept of not having a biological child
But at the end of the day, the thing to remember through this is what originally drove this whole thing – a desire to come together as a couple in the deepest of ways. I say that we need to remember that because in the midst of “baby making sex” it is easy to forget to make love. And that is what this is all about really. The intent of the exercise is to fall deeper in love with your spouse, so don’t let it become a wedge that drives you apart.