Trying for a baby can really take it out of your sex life. The thing is we're not designed to have sex at a specific time, on a specific date in a specific position. We're programmed to think great sex is spontaneous, but in reality in most long-term relationships this isn't the case. Trying for a baby takes this to an extreme.
So how do you get back into your groove after you've been trying to have a baby? And what about IVF? How do you recover after endless blood tests, transvaginal ultrasounds (no it's not a name of a 90's trance act) and punishing drug regimes etc?
Here are some tips that have helped me, and women I've spoken to who've been through this boring and awful experience. This applies to those who are going through the process of trying to conceive and those who have come out the other side.
It'll be a complete shit shop for some time
The main thing you and your partner can do is talk about the bad sex situation. When your objective is to get pregnant then it's logical that great sex isn't going to be a priority. Sometimes just saying it out loud (in a non-accusatory manner) is helpful. Acknowledge that 'Barry White style orgasm sex' is off the cards...but it's not something you're saying goodbye to forever. Remind one another that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Throw some compliments around
One of the worst things about fertility treatment and trying to conceive sex is the fact that you can start to resent your other half. Or take them for granted. They become a thing with a penis that has this stuff that makes a baby. The thing that goes into the room to ejaculate into a sample pot so the stuff comes out to make a baby. The thing that climbs on top of you and complains because they're not in the mood (even though you are DEFINITELY NOT IN THE MOOD EITHER). It's a dehumanising process. So whether you're in the midst of it all or are recovering/taking a break...cut your other half some slack.
Say that their hair looks nice. Compliment the shirt they've got on. They're not a machine and neither are you.
You are two humans trying really hard.
Don't put pressure on yourself
Sometimes your sex life will take a while to get back to normal. The thing is having sex for this very specific function isn't helpful. Try and just have some skin on skin contact with your partner. Have a bath together. Massage one another. Have a laugh. These are the tiny steps that start the healing process (and it is a healing process- whatever the outcome).
Look after your body
If you haven't been successful or have been trying for a long time then it's easy to HATE your body. Without getting too new age, it's important to look after yourself. Your body is an amazing thing. The reproduction facet of the whole shebang is just one thing. If you view your body as an enemy, then you're not going to be able to build up to a good sex life (and you might be in danger of becoming self-destructive i.e. booze, men that look like David Hasselhoff, drugs etc.) Yoga, acupuncture, healthy diet- they're all important- keeping you calm and nourishing your body (but watch out for diet advice - one friend of mine was advised to eat only 'orange foods' to conceive- this is clearly rubbish).
This is an important and obvious point. The alternative is that you stop completely and this can turn itself into a whole other problem. Keep your hand in.
And finally, this has nothing to do with TTC or IVF but it's important that you have some kind of project on the side. This might be learning how to wire a plug at evening classes. Or it might be writing a children's novel about alien omlettes that take over the world. It's vital to have something that isn't trying for a baby that takes you away for a while.
I've seen women break. I've seen them unable to get out of bed. I've seen their dreams shattered. I've been there. It'll get better. Just repeat. It will. It'll get better.
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Follow: @tryingyears @mrskmeaks @emilylphillips