The Five Love Languages of Trying to Get Pregnant
Trying for a baby can be extremely emotionally vulnerable and energetically taxing. As a full-spectrum doula and fertility coach, I often see couples turn away from each other when trying to conceive, as this period of big emotions draws attention to any strain already existing in a relationship.
Investing in your love life might be at the bottom of your agenda right now, but learning how to speak your partner’s love language can help you turn this highly sensitive time into an opportunity to be highly attuned to one another’s needs.
The concept of love languages was introduced by Gary Chapman in 1992. The basic principle is that everyone likes to receive love in different ways, and the ways you might express your love might not be the same language your partner likes to receive it back in. I recently shared the Five Love Languages of Postpartum with my community and people went NUTS – so it made me wonder what other areas of the journey to parenthood this applied to.
Learning your partner’s love languages, especially through the emotional turmoil that can come alongside a fertility journey, can help you both stay in sync.
When trying to conceive, sex can become a chore, taking all the fun out of an intimate relationship. If your partner’s love language is touch, try to maintain intimacy outside of sex, and when you do escalate things, have sex for pleasure rather than just for a purpose. Think about what you would be not only able to give, but to receive. Some ideas:
- Find your inner teen: try 30 minutes of making out on the couch with your clothes on! No pressure for it to become anything more than that. Taking things slowly allows your body time to trigger a hormonal response that gets you feeling in the zone, especially when you might be feeling low and not into intimacy right away.
- If you’ve received some disappointing news, gentle touch such as a big hug or stroking your hair can go a long way, especially if you don’t know exactly what to say. Show that you’re there for them and allow them to release their emotions into your touch.
- Respect when your partner is all touched out. Between the apps, the appointments, the pokes, and the prodding, sometimes your partner just might need someone to sit near them and hold space for them, but not physically touch them. Simply being there for someone can be quite intimate too.
This love language always gets a bit of the side-eye, as most assume that those who value gifts over other languages are superficial. This is 100% not true; gift-giving is about your partner displaying a romantic gesture that lets you know that they’re thinking of you. It doesn’t have to be diamond earrings or a bouquet of roses, but think of small things that might brighten your partner’s day when they’re feeling low, such as:
- Bringing home their favorite snack/treat
- A gift card to a “treat yourself” service (i.e. a massage, house cleaning, meal delivery)
- Text a screenshot of your Starbucks card, with a text saying “Hey, I’m thinking of you. Have a coffee on me!”
Acts of Service
After disappointing news, that defeated feeling is totally normal. Some people might struggle to prioritize household duties when they’re grappling with big feelings. Having a partner pick up the household chores while you grieve and process your emotions is a great way to show your love.
I always suggest taking the time to go through what you’re household responsibilities are, if you’re happy with the division of labor, and if not, is there anything that can either be outsourced or taken on by the other partner on occasion. Communication is key, and building up resentment over household chores can be easily avoided with a conversation.
Words of Affirmation
Some people express their love by doing, and some people need to hear validation directly. In a fertility journey, there’s a lot of stuff to do that can display how dedicated you are to your family, but make sure you also take the time to use clear words that make your partner feel recognized and loved throughout the process. Some phrases that might resonate:
- I am so grateful for the sacrifice you are making for our family.
- No matter what happens this time around, I am still so in love with you.
- This experience has brought us closer together, and I am so appreciative that a strong person like you is my teammate.
It is so easy for your fertility journey to be all-consuming and take over all other aspects of your life. I encourage you to spend time dating your partner through this process; to spend time doing activities you both enjoy. Whether it’s going to a movie to take your mind off things, learning a new skill at a cooking class, or just getting some fresh air and taking a nice long walk together, spending quality time together will help you both feel like a couple and not just two baby-makers.