If you are about to jump on the IVF route or know someone who does, please share and read this. I wish someone would have given me the heads up on what I'm about to share with you. It may seem a little jumbled up and confused as this is a sensitive topic and I am still trying to get my head around.
As a sensual and sexual woman who’s love language is physical touch and quality time, I would have loved to get the memo on what’s to come when choosing the IVF road. I would like to think that somehow there is a kinder way to manage this part of the process, but then it makes no sense either because I'm a strong believer that babies come from love making AKA sex, and now my belief is challenged with the fact that babies are made in a lab when choosing IVF. So bare with me as I'm trying to unpack this.
If you are lucky enough to survive the hurdles of IVF and still be together in a relationship, you should be cheering for yourself. I do. I really do. What we’ve been through as a couple and as individuals has hit us hard under the belt so many times. 11-12 rounds of IVF are an epic ride. 11-12 times going through being positive and driven to a painful disappointment then putting yourself back together again to repeat. When each time your heart is fighting the stabbing feeling that comes with rejection and failure. Every couple goes through challenges together. Work challenges, health challenges, legal challenges, money challenges… you get my point. But when your sex life takes a hit when you are trying to have a baby, ouch!!
I’m not only talking about the physical side of it. This is when you truly realize how much you want to deepen your connection with your partner, but when you are both wounded, exhausted and grieving. Who do you turn to close the gap? Who do you turn for a warm loving hug? Who do you expect to hold you and comfort you in that pain? Who else but your (mostly unavailable) partner?
Being held by someone can feel more intimate than any other sexual experience. Knowing your partner may not have all the answers you want to hear right now, but he is here and willing to hold you while you figure this out together.
Picture this for a second, you finally feel clean in your body from all the drugs that have been stimulating you to produce more eggs, I’m talking hormone therapy, bloating, moodiness. You are actually feeling stable emotionally and in the mood for a bit of action in the bedroom. Your mind is clear from all the negative thoughts that have been occupying it for the past few months as you are getting over another unsuccessful round. You are approaching your partner with hopes that he has the stamina after a long day, only to find that he is not in the mood, or allowing work to take over, because he is trying to fight his own demons.
He is also, not feeling good enough or up enough (literally) for the task.
You then find yourself sitting in a pool of rejection trying not to drown in feelings of unloved, un desired, not sexy enough. Not connected. You feel broken, damaged goods. That’s when you become aware that your relationship is now being held by this process. This medical procedure IVF has taken over your life in the bedroom as well. It is no longer a place for love making or wild, fun sexual connection.
IVF life is all consuming. Totally disconnecting. If not aware, it takes over your bedroom, your sensuality, your ability to express your needs and desires. Suddenly, it limits your body to baby making and if you’ve been told that your chance for a baby is via IVF, then what’s the point of having sex anymore anyways!?
For years, you’ve been careful not to conceive while having sex and had fireworks flying around, it even continued before the medical verdict, but as soon as that has been announced, if nothing else was dead inside you by then, there sure is a death of your soul now. Something was badly dimmed.
Our sex life used to be magnificent. Full of connection and dedication. It was attentive and loving. We then gone through a phase that seemed almost forced or only available on holidays(I’ll tell you more about that in a minute) to what now feels like too much of an effort so why bother. Not to mention the usual fatigue that comes with a 15 year relationship.
I had my fare share of dried up and tired libido. Yes that's a real thing in your 40's. That sucked. But now I feel like I am ready to jump into it again only I’m not sure my partner is in that same frame of mind. You see, I think that throughout this whole journey, we’ve been taking turns at different stages of the process and how we feel about all of it. Slowly contributing to the distance that has been created by the both of us between the two of us. Witnessing the disconnect and the differences in desires at any given point, only to be held by the one and only true desire that might just hold us together. Pregnancy.
Ohhhhhh this is not what I had in mind when I signed up for this!!
We would go on holidays together and our connection gets re-established immediately. We are constantly in sync. We breath the same, we eat and sleep the same. We make love. We walk, we talk, we make love. We dream, we plan, we play, we make love….. All in perfect harmony. Until we get back home and back into the environment that takes us back to the IVF reality.
You must remember that there are so many parts to all this. Especially two people with their own issues, dramas, traumas and history. Each must attend to it on their own time with whatever tools they have and with what ever urgency they may feel. While this brings a lot of love, care, space and respect to your relationship it doesn’t always bring fire to your sex life. Keeping communication open as best as possible, can help a little, but so did learning self exploration to satisfy personal and important human need and continue the fun for yourself. This is not a replacement or instead of, it is simply a temporary solution to what may be lucking.
I want to leave you with a beautiful line and song by
Prince called Joy In Repetition.
I hope you’ll get a chance to play it soon, It shifts something for me everytime I listen to it. My partner got it too.