How can you keep sex fun when you’re struggling to have a baby?
Every Monday I like to post a reader question and take a stab at answering it. Here’s one woman who is struggling with infertility–and with sex:
I have a question for you. My husband of nearly ten years and I have been trying to conceive a child for about five years. Without going into too much detail, well, there are medical issues on both sides that make it very, very difficult. Still, we keep trying. Do you have any advice on how to keep things feeling good during these times? It’s so frustrating!! It’s nearly impossible to retain the joyful spark and spontaneity of sex when we know we ‘have’ to do it practically on a schedule to conceive. We both want a baby so bad, but this is absolutely squashing my sex life and affecting our marriage. Please help.
That’s a tough question! But I don’t always like answering questions about heartbreaking problems like this that I haven’t personally gone through, because sometimes the advice can seem trite. So instead I’ve asked Lindsey Bell, an author and a faithful reader of this blog, to chime in. She’s struggled with this, and I just love her perspective!
My husband and I have lost four babies over the span of a couple of years. With each miscarriage, sex became more and more scary.
I wanted to be pregnant…desperately longed to carry a child to term…but at the same time was terrified that if we got pregnant, we would lose another child I couldn’t wait to hold. I was terrified God would never grant me the child I longed for.
Sex can be a tricky thing when you’re struggling to have a child. Whether dealing with primary infertility, secondary infertility after having one or more successful pregnancies, or recurrent miscarriages, many women struggle with sex when childbearing doesn’t come easily.
Here are a few things that might help.
Keeping Sex Fun when You’re Struggling to Have a Baby:
1. Don’t ONLY have sex when you’re ovulating.
Just because you’re not ovulating doesn’t mean sex is off the table.
One way to help sex not become a chore is to do it at times when you’re not ovulating.
The window in which women are able to get pregnant is typically only about 6 days each month. That leaves quite a few days when a couple can have sex without the normal stress that often goes along with trying to have a baby.
2. Keep your relationship fun.
When you’re trying to have a baby and it’s not happening, your marriage can take a major hit. That’s why it’s so important to do things together as a couple that are fun.
Go away together. Go on dates. Keep laughing.
After two of our miscarriages, my husband and I bought tickets to see our favorite comedian (Brian Regan). Laughing with each other didn’t take away the pain of our losses, but it did bond us together.
We needed those nights away, and my guess is, if you’re going through a similar situation, you do too.
3. Make sex fun…if you can.
Trying to have a baby can become all-consuming. So much so that every time you have sex, that’s all you think about.
Some people will tell you to take a break from trying altogether when this happens…to take a few months off. Though I can understand why they say this and can definitely see the benefits to doing so, I wasn’t able to do this personally. I was desperate for a baby for a long time, and I didn’t want to take a break. Even if we had “claimed” we were taking a break, my mind would have still been there all the time.
Instead, what we found helpful was to try and make sex fun. Play a game together. Use massage. Switch things up.
4. Commit to each other…inside and outside of the bedroom.
Infertility can destroy a marriage. It creates stress, fears, grief, and a whole gamut of emotions.
Communicate with your spouse. Talk to him or her about how you’re feeling and what you’re struggling with.
It’s tempting when things get tough to pull away from your spouse, but it’s so much better to cling to him instead. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Commit to your marriage more than to your desire to have a child.
For a long time, I focused more on my desire to have a child than I did on my marriage. I’m glad I finally learned to put him first instead.
5. Keep the lines of communication open with God too.
Infertility can wreak havoc on a person’s faith too.
After each of our miscarriages, I grew more and more angry with God. I felt like He had abandoned me. I felt like my prayers weren’t making it past the ceilings of my home.
It was only when I began to honestly share with him how much I was hurting…how angry I felt…how disappointed I was…that He began to heal my heart.
God didn’t ever fix whatever was causing our miscarriages (at least not yet), but I’ve learned to trust Him again. I wrote a lot about how I was able to do this in my new book, Unbeaten.
One of the main ways was by being honest with God. Secondary infertility (what my husband and I battled) broke me to my core, but it didn’t destroy my faith or my marriage.
And I know it doesn’t have to destroy yours either.
What other suggestions would you add to this list?
This post is part of Lindsey’s blog tour to celebrate her new Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too).
Why does life have to be so hard? If you’ve ever asked this question, you’re not alone. Difficult times often leave Christians searching the Bible for answers to some of life’s most difficult questions.
- Does God hear me when I pray?
- Why isn’t He doing anything?
- Does He even care?
In Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too), Lindsey Bell walks with readers through the stories of men and women in the Bible who went through difficult situations. In this 10-week Bible study and devotional, she addresses many of these questions and helps readers learn how they too can be unbeaten.
Lindsey Bell is the author of the Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten, and of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly at about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given.
Now let me know in the comments: Have you ever felt stress trying to conceive? How did you keep close to your husband through it? Let’s talk!