There I was. Legs up in the air, pillow under my pelvis, imploring my husband to hurry up and get his clothes off, as i’m holding the ovulation stick and with pee dripping down my hand…
Sexy, right? Yeah, my husband didn’t think so either. We didn’t make a baby that night. Or the night after that. Or the night after that (see where I’m going here?). And as our infertility journey stretched out before us — bedroom scenes like this became all too common. Cuddles, kisses, and sexy lingerie gave way to calendars, timers, and sex homework from our doctor. When did making love become such a baby making chore?
Unfortunately, for couples facing infertility, this scenario is all too common. Local practicing clinical psychologist and JFF Board member Lauren Magalnick Berman, Ph.D says, “In my experience, infertility has a profound impact on a couple’s sexual relationship. Instead of being an expression of love and connection between the two, sex becomes a chore, a task or a demand. Spontaneity is no longer an option because sex has to revolve around ovulation. This dynamic can also put a strain on emotional intimacy in the couple and it can impact the way a couple relates to each other.”
What’s a couple to do?
According to Reproductive Endocrinologist and JFF Medical Committee Chair, Dr. Daniel Shapiro, “Given the current state of fertility medicine it is almost impossible for patients to maintain emotionally satisfying sex-lives unless they make a specific effort to separate love-making from baby-making. There is no ‘right way’ to do this, but couples who value their primary relationships more than their baby-quest need to continually find ways to validate and support their partners.”
At a recent JFF Support Group meeting, intimacy coach Rachel Welfeld offered some hope, “It is possible to ease the pressure and reconnect with a deep and intimate love with your spouse. Switch your thinking from making a baby to making a happy home for your baby. Find the happiness now. ” Rachel goes on to explain, from a Jewish perspective, sex is the superglue of a marriage — it’s what makes your relationship different from other relationships. But it’s important to remember, G-d didn’t create sex for procreation alone.
On MyJewishLearning.com, Rabbi Michael Gold explains, “The second purpose of sexual relations is companionship, which the Torah seems to regard as an even greater justification for sexual relations than procreation. In Jewish tradition, the belief that “it is not good for man to be alone” is as important if not more important than the command to “be fruitful and increase.”
You’re not alone
First and foremost, we have to create a full life for ourselves without children. And to remember we may or may not make a baby today but what we want is to create a healthy home for our baby.
Elana Bekerman Frank, a native of Atlanta, GA lived, studied, worked, and did her breeding in Maryland, Manhattan, Israel, and New Jersey. (The breeding was only in Israel FYI). Elana is quite vocal about her fertility struggle and her desire to help others. Elana has over 15 years of experience working with non-profits (in America and in Israel) in fundraising, marketing, community outreach, volunteer recruitment, training and program development. She is the President and Founder of the Jewish Fertility Foundation in Atlanta.
The Jewish Fertility Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional support to Atlanta Jewish families who have medical fertility challenges.