Vulnerability hangover

My husband David and I were recently interviewed about what it was like struggling to conceive for five years.

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The couple who were meant to be interviewed for the latest edtion of The Marriage Challenge podcast (published by the UK charity Care for the Family) cancelled at the last minute and so David and I were asked if we would step in. "Of course," I said without really stopping to think about it.

The point of the podcast is to talk about challenges you have faced in your relationship. Our greatest one so far in our ten years of marriage has been around trying to conceive. What I suddely realised as we started the interview was that we had never spoken about it together in public before. I felt vulnerable but also glad to be sharing about a topic that rarely seems to get discussed. We laid everything bare...what it was like to experience a miscarriage and to go through several rounds of fertility treatment.

If you want to listen to the podcast - you can find it here.

If you haven't got 14 minutes to spare here are five quick things that really helped us as we went through the process of trying to conceive:

1. Communicating fears. I found it really helpful to voice my darkest fears - it helped to take the sting out of them and helped David to understand what was worrying me and vice versa.

2. Agreeing on an "us" solution. When it came to going through fertility treatment there were a lot of decisions to make. How many goes would we have? What could we afford? How far would we go with certain treatments? Talking through our options beforehand and coming to an agreement together really helped us when we had to make the difficult decisions when they came up.

3. Keeping our sense of humour. This was paramount for both of us. David would do my injections every day and making it fun and joking around helped to keep everything light. There was plenty of crying but it was hugely helpful to find things to laugh about too.

4. Expressing our emotions. Historically I have struggled to express negative emotions but I tried hard to make sure that I took the time to grieve when things didn't work out. I remember looking at a picture of a mother crocodile with fifteen babies and crying because I felt it was so unfair that she had all those babies and I had none! I discovered that crying helped and sometimes the only thing I needed or wanted was just a giant hug. I also found it helpful to talk to friends who had been through it or were going through it. Finding people who just understood was important.

5. Practicing gratitude. So much of the process is out of your control and I found that the one thing that kept me sane was focusing on the present and being thankful for the things...small or big that I did have. It wasn't always easy but it helped get me through some dark times.

If you have struggled with fertility or are currently going through something similar - please do use the comments section to let me know what has helped you. I would love to hear from you about what worked and what didn't.

Sarah Abell

How to live, love and lead authentically,

My passion for authentic relationships came out of my own failure to relate well in my early twenties and what I’ve been learning about true connection ever since. What do I do? Good question and one I always find a bit tricky to answer. In a nutshell I help people to live, love and lead authentically. You can find out more at I have written, coached and spoken on relationships and authentic living to thousands of people. I was the Agony Aunt for The Daily Telegraph and I'm the author of "Inside Out - How to have authentic relationships with everyone in your life" (Hodder 2011). I have given two TEDx talks on authentic relationships and I write the Life Lab experiment on Love for Psychologies. I have been married to David for twelve years and we have one son, who is six. We live in Bristol.


Go to the profile of Sofia Brown
over 5 years ago
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