16:00 9th February 2022 | Family
Many years ago, as a little girl growing up in Lagos Nigeria, I had the general notion/mentality that pregnancy was the woman’s problem and that if a woman wasn’t able to get pregnant it was one of three things:
• God had shut her womb for a time till he would open it to birth a special child
• She had a bad and promiscuous past and had damaged her womb
• Her village people were after her to disgrace her.
I never as a young girl imagined that the process of getting pregnant and delivery was the collective effort of a couple: man and woman. In fact, I joined many to believe God for the “fruit of the womb” - a term I have come to change in my head.
The switch happened when I stumbled on a funny Korean movie where a question was asked a couple, “when are we going to see the fruit of your love?”
I began to wonder what the grandmother who asked them the question meant and as I grew older and my knowledge increased, I decided that the phrase “FRUIT OF LOVE” was a more appropriate term to describe pregnancy.
The journey to creating the fruit of love varies from couple to couple as relationships also vary; however, the key element in the journey is the love. There’s no love, except two are involved. Whether it turns out to be as straightforward as just one act of coitus or it involves the incredible journey of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), two individuals are involved and only ‘two can come together to make one’. An egg cannot by itself grow to become a baby, neither can a sperm; but when the two fuse together (fertilization) they can become one baby.
Infertility and the journey through IVF can put a strain on the couple or individuals depending on how the journey is embarked on.
A Chinese study was conducted to explore the experiences of couples who have had IVF treatment, especially their perceptions of the process and the support between couples, showed that the support that they received from each other affected their experience during the treatment process. It was suggested that a supportive intervention that focuses on enhancing the partnership of the couples and dealing with their inflexibility on the issue of bearing a child might result in improvements in the psychological status and marital relationship of infertile couples undergoing IVF treatment.1
In another study published in Health Psychology Open involving over 80 infertile women, the effect of both romantic attachment, specific couple characteristics, and infertility-related quality of life on ART outcomes, highlighting the role of avoidant attachment were studied. The significant findings resulted in urging health professionals in psychology working with couples undergoing infertility treatments to focus their intervention on the marital relationship, particularly on the issue of mutual support between partners, since promoting mutual support and care seem to be the best ways to preserve the quality of a marriage from the possible negative consequences of infertility and related treatments.2
TIPS FOR GOING IN TOGETHER
• Mindset: “It is no one’s fault.” It is just a challenge to be faced and overcome together. Regardless of the journey or the outcome, the mindset shouldn’t be that you are infertile, instead “we just haven’t gotten our child yet!”
• Romance: A supportive relationship and a secure romantic
attachment appear to reduce infertility stress, as well as play a relevant role in the success of assisted reproductive technology treatments. 2
• Handling emotions: Infertility and its treatments put a lot of
strain on the individuals involved emotionally and psychologically. Ranging from their desires to have a child, to their family’s desires for them and how their society views them.
People process this in different ways and conflicts can arise from these differences. It’s important to take time to understand that your partner is different and would not respond in
the same way as you. If you’re having challenges as a result of these differences, make use of the services of a certified counsellor to develop the necessary tools to work through
• Active participation: The woman might be the one carrying the baby, but the child belongs to both the man and woman and most times even bears the man’s name. As a man, be actively involved in the woman’s treatments so she doesn’t feel alone; as a woman, be actively involved in the man’s treatments so he doesn’t feel alone. This doesn’t mean trying to shove down your ideas, but instead empathizing with your partner and showing compassion where necessary.
• Language: It is a joint effort; hence the language should
reflect it. ‘We are’, ‘it’s for us’; not ‘I am’ ‘you are’, or ‘it’s for him/her’.
It is usually said that the beauty of life is not in the destinations but in the journeys’ we go through; the journey through in vitro fertilization isn’t an exception. To make the most of this amazing and unique experience is to Go Into it TOGETHER!
1. Ying L-Y, Wu LH, Loke AY (2015) The Experience of Chinese Couples Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization Treatment: Perception of the Treatment Process and Partner Support. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0139691. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139691
2. Alessia Renzi, Michela Di Trani, et al (2020) Success of assisted reproductive technology treatment and couple relationship: A pilot study on the role of romantic attachment. Health Psychology Open January-June 2020: 1–9: 101177/2055102920933073
Image credit: Google
By Dr Melody Akinyemi, Fertility Medical Officer
To find out about how Bridge Clinic can assist you, contact Nigeria’s most trusted fertility centre today.
Call: 01 631 0092 / Whatsapp: +234 (0)810 460 7791.
Visit: 66 Oduduwa Way, Ikeja GRA
Search by condition, treatment or keyword and conveniently browse our informative articles
Book an appointment online or search for a clinic close to you.Book an Appointment