Emotional support goes a long way.
Making a baby can be complicated—and tough on a relationship.
But if you stay grounded and focused on one another—babymaking can actually be an opportunity to strengthen your marriage.
We talked to Dr. Jessica Zucker, an expert in fertility and mental health, on how to get closer to your partner when trying to conceive.
Why is it important for men to play a non-sexual role in the journey to parenthood? ?
Emotional support goes a long way. As a couple prepares for pregnancy and parenthood and all of the potential unknowns that come along with the journey, cultivating closeness through communication is key. This nascent period provides an ideal time for connecting with one another about all sorts of topics.
What makes babymaking stressful for couples? ?
Baby making can prove stressful when expectations are high and goals aren't met in a timely manner. However, pregnancy is unlike many other things that we are used to being able to achieve over the course of our lives. When it comes to creating life, we have a lot less control than we'd like to think. This realization can stir up all sorts of emotions and leave a couple feeling bewildered, anxious, or afraid. It's important to examine expectations and to be gentle with yourself throughout the process. If you don't get pregnant straight away this does not necessarily mean that the journey will be long and drawn out. Try not to predict the future while in this state of mind. Staying present can be tough but may prove fruitful for mental wellbeing.
How can couples use this process to strengthen their relationships? ?
This is an ideal time to support one another through and through. Couples aren't necessarily always feeling the same exact thing at the exact same time, so when one person is stressed maybe the other has an opportunity to be calming and vice versa. This process can present a real opportunity to help each other navigate through potential insecurities, stressors, or disappointments.
What specific tasks can men perform (other than getting in bed!) when couples are trying to conceive? ?
I would reiterate emotional support—being a steady and consistently loving partner, prioritizing the relationship, making sure to check in with your own feelings as well as your partners feelings. Stay away from trying to “fix" feelings. She doesn't benefit from you doing this. In fact, it might ultimately feel minimizing and isolating.