How to keep the spark alive when trying for a baby

Trying to conceive can be a stressful journey for any couple. Here’s how to keep the spark in your relationship alive to help you stay connected.

With meticulously scheduled bedroom sessions and boxes of ovulation tests at the ready, trying to conceive (TTC) can leave a lot to be desired in the romance department.

And the longer it takes to get pregnant, the more stressful the process can be.

“Trying to conceive a child takes a toll as partners feel powerless and helpless, finding that several factors are outside of their control,” psychologist and relationship coach Phoebe Rogers says.

TTC can be a difficult journey.

Between stress and expectation, how do you keep the spark in your relationship alive?

How to bring romance back while trying to conceive

Be conscious of each other’s feelings

One partner may feel hopeful about the situation, while the other feels hopeless.

“These differences can create more distance between partners, particularly if one partner takes a problem-solving approach to the situation and the other is longing for more empathy and validation,” Phoebe says.

Doing regular emotional check-ins with your partner to see how they’re tracking is critical, she says. “We know vulnerability is an important factor in keeping a couple feeling secure and connected.”

Keep up communication

Communication is key, sexologist Kendall Buckley says.

“I encourage my patients to ‘overcommunicate’ – don’t assume that your partner knows what’s going on for you, even if you’ve been together for many years,” Kendall says.

Prioritise quality time together

To keep connected as a couple, spend quality time together.

Try to keep the conversation away from TTC, especially if this has become a stressor in the relationship.

Whether it’s a date night, a long walk at the beach or catching a movie, the time spent together can respark your connection.

Rethink intimacy

While there are alternative paths to parenthood – such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or adoption – for many couples, sex plays a crucial role in having a baby.

“The emphasis on timing intercourse around ovulation can create routine and performance pressure, potentially detracting from spontaneity and emotional connection,” Kendall says.

Consider hitting pause on TTC to focus on other forms of intimacy, even for a short time.

“It’s perfectly acceptable during times of stress that we do not want sexual intercourse,” Kendall says.

“This is perfectly OK and normal, and why it’s important to focus on non-sexual forms of intimacy that facilitate connectedness.

“By doing so it makes it much easier when we do feel ready, willing and are able.”

Express love through kisses and hugs, share your feelings and provide comfort to each other.

When to seek professional support

“When couples are trying to conceive, time and deadlines can feel very important; however, your mental health matters,” Phoebe says.

“If there’s a sense of fatigue and hopelessness, I’d suggest rest – time to rest and regroup is important.”

Phoebe says there are times when professional support may be a good idea, and the following are signs to watch for:

  • Increased irritability
  • Increased anxiety and worry about the future
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Breakdown in communication, including more heated arguments, extended periods of withdrawal and distance
  • Increased feelings of guilt, worthlessness, self-blame or anger
  • One partner wants to continue TTC, the other doesn’t

Couples counsellors and sex therapists are best positioned to help in these scenarios, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support.

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Written by Samantha Allemann.