• unicorn


Couples Under Duress when Under the Stress of Infertility

So there you are, a couple in love with being in love. Unicorns and rainbows abound as you plan on making love and making a baby.

Bang … the universe has a different idea.

Unless you can count on controlling your emotions so you can be nominated for sainthood, you will find yourself goosed by the horn of the unicorn as the rainbow becomes negated by storm clouds.

A diagnosis of infertility is a blow to any individual. How could it be uncomplicated when two people are each feeling tossed around by fate? Here one plus one equals way more than three when it comes to the disruption of the diagnosis to life as you knew it.

couple-stress-bedThis is not to say that many couples don’t pull together and provide each other with good enough if not very good support. That may be you but, what if sustaining support over the long haul has become understandably problematic? Or worse, what if your individual coping styles are out of sync altogether and wine and roses has been replaced by whine and thorns?

Be heartened.


Why would I say something that sounds so counterintuitive? Here are some reasons:

  1. Life on Planet Earth is challenging.
  2. Challenges sometimes evoke a foul mood.
  3. Foul moods are not about unicorns and rainbows.
  4. Coping methods of each member of a couple often do not match.
  5. Furthermore, coping methods may be completely inadequate for the challenge even if they do match.
  6. In addition, we are likely to be attracted to a partner who understands our wounds because his/hers are either similar or reciprocal.
  7. We often demand that our partner repairs our wounds by not aggravating them.
  8. Fat chance. Especially when dealing with infertility.
  9. We have a choice to work out our wounds on each other or with each other.
  10. On each other often rules the day.
  11. With each other is healing.
  12. As we learn to heal the wounds that existed before you met each other, compassion for each other grows.
  13. Therefore, navigating the turbulent waters from one plus one to three (you, your partner and a baby) can become a source of satisfaction and relief.
  14. Therefore, the duress and stress of infertility can be a gift.
  15. Growth can ensue.
  16. Growth becomes useful when life tosses us the inevitable next challenge.
  17. Ta Da!
  18. You may need an objective, outside, well-trained, couple-oriented therapist to deconstruct the mess.
  19. Get over it; we all need help.
  20. If that’s what it takes, great! Right? If not, reread 1 – 19.

About the Author:

Helen Adrienne, LCSW general psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist, and practitioner of mind/body therapy with a specialty in infertility. New York City